Handball Statue erected in memory of Joe Maher



Handball was first played in Ireland according to the World Handball Council website and the GAA Handball website describes it as the GAA’s only real World Sport. It is organised along the same lines as the rest of the Gaelic Games which come under the authority of the GAA – with County, Provincial and All-Ireland Championships, in both Men’s and Women’s, Team and Individual, Boys and Girls and also in Softball and Hardball versions. Some players compete in the European Pro Wallball Tour (Wallball is a unified version of Handball in Europe, bringing together the Handball of Ireland, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Catalonia, Basque Country, Belgium, Wallonia, Flanders and Netherlands. Others play on the US circuit or in Canada and Australia. It is also played in Japan and Latin America.

GAA Handball

World Handball

Handball is described on the GAA Handball website as the only real GAA World Sport. The World Handball Council says Handball was first played in Ireland, and it is very popular throughout the United States of America and Canada, with the World Handball Players the top Pro Competition, and variations such as Inner City Handball. It is also played in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Australia and Japan.

World Handball Council

The World Handball Council is the World Governing Body for the North American & Irish version of Handball.

European Handball

Handball is described on the GAA Handball website as the only real GAA World Sport, with a high level of Competition in Western Europe (the European Wallball Pro Tour: Euro1Wall) as well as Organisations, each with their own variation on the rules, in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Catalonia, Basque Country, Belgium (Wallonia-Brussels and Flanders) and Netherlands.

Euro 1 Wall

Wallball has emerged in recent decades as a unified world form of Handball, and there is a European Wallball Tour, featuring rounds in England, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and elswehere.

There are versions of the sport throughout Western Europe, and Irish Players take part in Tournaments worldwide.

Below you will find links to the Results and Rankings of various Tours and Tournaments:

Walloon-Brussels Wallball

European Team Handball

Eton Fives

Eton Fives is a variation on the game of Handball, first played in Ireland, and the origins of Eton Fives go back to Medieval Peasants playing the gamea against the wall of the chapel at Eton College, where there is a handrail down one side. The first court was built in Eton in 1840, by the Headmaster, Dr. Hawtrey. In 1877 AC Ainger drew up the first rules of the game.

Every Shrove Tuesday in St. Columb’s, Cornwall, the game of Hurling is played between ‘Town’ and ‘Country’. The night before resembles a ghost town as all the shops are boarded up and shuttered before the game is played the next day. There are no limits to the numbers of players in the game, with each player playing for either the ‘Town’ or ‘Country’. The game kicks off with the words “Town and Country do your best. but in this parish I must rest.”.

Traditionally, the game was played between the men of St. Columb, but is now played by the children. [3] The Game can last a few minutes or it can last hours depending on how quickly the winning team can get the ball to the goal. The winning player who carries the ball to the goal has the option of keeping the ball and paying for a new one by a local craftsman. The ball is constructed traditionally, out of silver with an applewood core, taken from a local orchard.

References: [1] BBC Cornwall (2003) Hurling at St. columb in the 21st Century [Internet] Available from; http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/villages/stories/stcolumb_hurling.shtml [Accessed 7 March 2018]

[3] St. Ives Web Community TV (2013) The St. Ives Feast and the Silver Ball [Internet] Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20130819100810/http://stivestv.co.uk/whatson/feast_day_2013.htm [Accessed 13 June 2019]

Frisian Kaatsen

Basque Pelota

Pelota is the Traditional Game of the Basque People of Sourthwest France and North Central Iberia (Spain). Their language is the oldest in Europe, and the only non-Indo-European language left in Western Europe according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and therefore with some justification the Basques refere to themselves as the only Native Europeans. The sport is similar to the GAA and European game of Handball, played with a curved glove which is used to propel the ball off one of two perpendicluar walls on a four-sided court, with the other two sides open (Jai Alai). Another version is played in pairs (Parejas) or singles (Manomanista) with the hand (Mano)

ASPE Pelota (Spain)

ASPE Pelota is the Professional Hand Pelota (Manomanista) of the Spanish Basque Country. There are both Singles (Campeonato Manomanista – Hand Pelota Championship) and Pairs (Campeonato de Parejas). Divisions are Lep.M (Premier – Tier 1) Promoción (Promotion – Tier 2)

Confederacion International de Pelota a Mano