Gaelic HandballSo, what is Gaelic Handball? Well, the first recorded game of striking a ball with a hand against a wall was in Scotland in 1427, when it was recorded that King James I ordered a cellar window in his palace courtyard blocked up, as it was interfering with his game. In Ireland, the earliest written record of a similar ball game is contained in the town statutes of Galway in 1527, which forbade the playing of ball games against the walls of the town. The first depiction of an Irish form of handball does not appear till 1785.On the west coast of Ireland, Galway had many trading links with Spain, especially the Basque regions, where the similar game of pelota is played.


The rules are simple. All you have to do is hit the ball against the front wall without it touching the ground and your opponent must return the ball after a maximum of one bounce on the ground.

Both Scottish and Irish immigrants brought the game to many countries in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It is still played in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Wales, Africa and England.

The G.A.A. wrote the first rules for the modern game of handball. Handball was included in the G.A.A. Charter of 1884 as one of the sports to be promoted by the new Association. In 1924 Comhairle Liathróid Láimhe na hÉireann (the Irish Handball Council) was established to promote, develop and organise the sport. By 1974 Comhairle Liathróid Láimhe na mBan was founded to administer the sport for female competitions.In 1998 the amalgamation of Comhairle Liathróid Láimhe na hEireann and Comhairle Liathróid Láimhe na mBan saw a single national administration. The Irish Handball Council was rebranded as the GAA Irish Handball Council (C.L.G. Comhairle Liathróid Láimhe na hÉireann) in 2009.

World Handball Championships

The game is similar to American handball; Gaelic handballers play against their US counterparts. In 2012 Ireland hosted the World Handball Championship. The most recent World Handball Championship was held in Minneapolis in 2018.

Come to Experience Gaelic Games and try our fantastic game of Gaelic Handball. It is always a very popular game amongst our visitors. Here is a sample match which gives you an indication of how the game is played.