Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Gaelic Handball

Gaelic handball is a unique and exciting sport that originated in Ireland. Similar to squash and racquetball, players in Gaelic handball use the palm of their hands to strike the ball against a wall. This game is extremely popular in Ireland and is considered one of the four Gaelic games, along with Gaelic Football, Hurling, and Rounders.

The Courts

Gaelic handball is played on two types of courts: the Big Alley and the Small Alley. The Big Alley measures 60 x 30ft and has a 30ft high front wall, while the Small Alley measures 40 x 20ft with a 20ft high front wall. Both courts are surrounded by walls on the front and two sides. Additionally, there is a variation of the Big Alley with just the front wall and no side walls.


A Gaelic handball game starts with a serve from within the service area, followed by a rally where players must return the ball after at most one bounce. If a player’s opponent fails to return the ball fairly, the player earns points. The player with the most points at the end of the match wins. Soft balls are typically used, but hardballs can also be used on the Big Alley.


Gaelic handball enthusiasts can participate in various county and province-level tournaments. The highlight of the Gaelic handball calendar is the annual All-Ireland Championships, which showcases the highest level of competition in the sport.

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Similar Sports

If you enjoy Gaelic handball, you might also be interested in exploring these similar sports:

  • International Fronton: Involves striking a ball onto a wall with bare hands, using rules adapted from various wall ball sports.
  • Fives: An English sport where a ball is propelled against the walls in a specially designed court using a bare or gloved hand.
  • Australian Handball: Similar to squash, but played without a racquet.
  • American Handball: Players use their hands to hit a small rubber ball against a wall.
  • Squash: A racquet sport played in a four-walled court with a small rubber ball.
  • Racquetball: Similar to squash, involving hitting a hollow rubber ball using a stringed racket.


Q: What are the dimensions of a Gaelic handball court?
A: Gaelic handball courts come in two sizes: the Big Alley (60 x 30ft) and the Small Alley (40 x 20ft).

Q: What is the objective of Gaelic handball?
A: The objective of Gaelic handball is to earn more points than your opponent by striking the ball against the wall and preventing them from returning it fairly.

Q: What are the different types of balls used in Gaelic handball?
A: Soft balls are commonly used in Gaelic handball, but hardballs can also be used on the Big Alley.

Q: Are there any major tournaments in Gaelic handball?
A: Yes, the annual All-Ireland Championships is the premier tournament in Gaelic handball.


Gaelic handball is an exhilarating sport that combines skill, agility, and strategy. With its rich history and passionate community, it continues to captivate players and fans in Ireland and beyond. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, Gaelic handball offers an exciting and challenging experience. So grab a ball, step onto the court, and join the Gaelic handball community today!

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For more information about Gaelic handball, visit Auralpressure.