Thursday, March 15, 2018

Indian Lake Irish Road Bowling On St. Patrick’s Day

For the 12th year, visitors and the community of Indian Lake are taking to the streets on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the Irish tradition of road bowling. Since 2006, Indian Lake has consistently offered the traditional roadside competition through the side streets of Indian Lake.

Last year my family joined over 60 teams to take turns bowling along the lane with the hopes of finishing with the lowest score. This year 88 teams are currently enrolled with a limit of 90 teams available. Don’t worry. Spectating is just as much fun as participating. Babies in strollers, dogs, and costumed teams make it fun to observe.

Irish bowling rules aren’t complicated. Each team of four takes a turn rolling a small iron and steel cannonball the size of a tennis ball down the designated road. Each cannonball is termed a bowl or bullet. Teams are paired, and the first two bowlers from each team hurl their bullets down the road without crossing the throwing mark. A chalk mark is made at the bullet’s stopping point and the next team member steps up to bowl. All bowls must be completed underhand and each team continues to rotate through their players.

Conversation is lively as the walk is only a few miles long. One bullet is provided for each team and people are constantly shouting warnings for spectators to “clear the road” or watch for traffic.

Registration for Saturday’s Road Bowling starts at 8:30 am at the Indian Lake Town hall. Teams will walk to the start where tournament play begins at 10. No amount of inclement weather is going to stop this Adirondack tradition, so plan on dressing for the conditions. There are four categories: Men, Women, Mixed Adults (over age 16) and Family (maximum of 3 immediate family members under the age of 16 and at least one adult over the age of 18). The cost per team is $20 or $5/person.

Participation certificates are awarded to the top three in each category. All funds are designated for charity. So, you get to wear green while raising green for good causes. I’ll bowl to that! Enjoy this Adirondack Irish tradition.

Irish Road Bowling photo provided by Diane Chase,

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Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

One Response

  1. jim powers says:

    I would like to start a road bowling event in buffalo, n.y. Can you send me the information which I will need ?I will then present this to our local Irish club for them to consider. thank you p.o. box 405. bflo., n.y. 14213