Free Bowling for Schools Week Success

November saw the return of the Free Bowling for Schools initiative for its second year, with an entire week dedicated to getting kids involved in bowling by offering free bowling to all school students.

Around 19,000 students nationwide made their way to their local participating bowling centre between November 10th-16th for a fun game of bowling, as well as trying to shoot the highest team score in their centre and take their place in the Grand Final, which will be held in the Kilkenny Bowl on December 4th.

Participating centres are now hoping that a number of the students who took part in the scheme will begin to come to play in their Junior Clubs and ultimately take the sport up in the long run. The aim of this initiative is to spread the word that bowling is a sport in which kids can not only get good exercise but also great enjoyment and competitive stimulation.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the repeated success of the initiative this year, and we can’t wait to make the trip to Kilkenny Bowl in early December for the Grand Final, where the Schools Bowling National Champions 2014 will be crowned.

Keep up with all the latest news here at BowlingForAll, as well as on the ITBA’s official Facebook ( and twitter ( pages.

Free Schools Tenpin Bowling Week 2014

Last year’s inaugural Free Tenpin Bowling Week for Schools was a phenomenal success, with almost 20,000 kids taking part across the country.

This year sees the return of free bowling, open to all schools for an entire week, starting Monday November 10th and running up to and including Friday November 14th. What’s more, the top teams from across the country will come together on December 3rd for the Grand Final, with the chance to be crowned Schools Champions 2014.

With over thirty bowling centres participating nationwide, free bowling is open to all schools, all you have to do is find your nearest participating centre (using our Find A Centre Map on this site) and get in touch to book lanes for your class/school. It’s really that simple!

This free schools week is all about getting involved and having fun, but the competitive edge makes it even more interesting for the kids as they will want to get the better of their schoolmates and make that Grand Final.

Kicking on from the success of last year, the initiative hopes to get kids interested in a sport which is not only fun but also terrific exercise. We also hope that in this crop of youngsters we could find the next generation of bowlers who could go on to even represent Ireland bowling teams in the future. Who knows, we could even uncover some future National champions!

We will also be on social media throughout the week, so keep an eye out for our Facebook ( and Twitter ( links for even more coverage.

So make sure to book your class/school in early to avoid missing out on this exciting initiative, and get your kids involved in a fun, healthy, competitive sporting activity this November.

Contact details for all participating centres can be found here on our website, and if you have any queries not answered on the website please do not hesitate to contact ITBA Editor and Public Relation Officer Jason Byrnes by email @

Let’s Go Bowling Everyone!

50th Anniversary Banquet

I may only have been around for a portion of the fifty-year history of tenpin bowling in this country, but the sport, along with its history, holds a very special place in my heart.

From running around Dundrum Bowl as a kid while my parents played in leagues, pulling on the Ireland shirt for the first time and the feeling when I bowled my first 300 game, I have been lucky enough to have been given so many happy memories by a sport that has always been a part of my life.

And then came this year, 2013, and the fiftieth anniversary of the sport coming to these shores. Last Saturday, November 16th, saw the past, present and future of tenpin bowling come together to celebrate everything that the sport has given us over the last half century.

Stillorgan Park Hotel was the venue, and upon arrival there was an unmistakeable magic in the air, a level of anticipation for a night that promised to bring together generations in their love for our sport.

That is the key word, OUR sport. For all its individuality, for the fact that when you step up on a bowling lane it is ultimately on you and you alone to perform, there is something in this wonderful game that simply brings people together.

So the night got underway, the air filled with the mutterings of friends laughing and the babble of old pals reunited for the first time in decades.  For a while guests were given time to grab a drink and catch up with those they had not seen in many years.

As you arrived into the room there was a lovely touch, a compilation video of past Junior Irish Open moments from the early 90’s. Put together by Paddy Gibbons, the footage set the tone for a night where nostalgia would take hold and leave many fighting back the tears as memories came flooding back.

On a personal level, the video gave me a picture of just how popular the sport was at that time; the sheer size of the crowds watching the matches is something that I scarcely remember seeing. It was also nice to see players who I look up to as top performers in their teenage years, performing at the highest level.

Dinner began and everyone made their way back to their tables. The quality of the food lived up to the expectation of the evening in general, with beautiful seafood or chicken starters followed by a tender beef or flaky salmon and a dessert of soft tiramisu or warm apple and raspberry tart.

After everyone was well and truly fed, the attention turned to recognising the achievements of those involved in the game over its fifty year history in Ireland. Guests were treated to a fifteen-minute slideshow, showcasing photographs and newspaper clippings from the opening of Stillorgan Bowl, the first ever bowling alley in Ireland, by Jack Murphy in 1963, to the achievements of youth bowlers, such as current European Youth Champion Amanda Larkin, in the present.

The slideshow, like the video playing at the entrance of the room, was put together by Paddy Gibbons, and after the slideshow attention aptly turned to recognising the devotion and dedication which Paddy has given to the sport over the past fifty years.

Paddy was presented with two awards; firstly, the Tenpin Bowling Council of Ireland (TBCI) honoured Paddy for his contribution by presenting him with engraved crystal, and then the Irish Tenpin Bowling Association (ITBA) awarded Paddy with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for services and contribution to the sport.

It was an emotional moment, with every guest getting to their feet to give a standing ovation to Paddy as he collected his awards. There is not one person involved in bowling in this country that does not appreciate the dedication and contribution that Paddy has and continues to show to our sport, and there is simply no more deserving person than Paddy to receive these awards.

The formality of the evening then turned to a celebratory atmosphere as the live band took to the stage and the dance floor quickly filled up. Guests enjoyed classic after classic until well after midnight, when a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s timeless classic ‘New York New York’ brought everyone together in a linked circle on the dance floor to sing out a magical evening.

As the room began to empty and people made their way towards home, what was left was the sense that we had together created yet another wonderful memory, one which will join those others that make up the love we all have for this funny old game.

It was truly a night to remember, and all I can hope now is that fifty years from now the 100th anniversary can be celebrated with the same level of fun, the same level of joy and the same level of love as this magical night managed to achieve. Here’s to another fifty!

Kids in lane for Ten-pin!

Evenin HeraldLindie Naughton– 23 March 2013 10:40 AM

To celebrate 50 years of tenpin bowling in Ireland, schools from all over the country were invited to try free bowling in their local centres last week. The results were overwhelming with close to 20,000 youngsters getting their first taste of this enjoyable sport.

“The figures were way beyond our expectations and hopefully there are some budding international bowlers amongst them,” says Tom Byrne, secretary of the Irish Ten-pin Bowling Association.

The association will continue working with schools to encourage the next generation of bowlers.

“The feedback from the kids and teachers has been great and some are going to add ten-pin bowling to their PE sports options.”

Of course, bowling is for not just for kids – all ages and standards are always welcome. For details of a centre near you, see

National Schools Tenpin Bowling Week..Fun With A Competitive Edge

As many of you know by now this year sees the inaugural National Schools Tenpin Bowling Week as part of the celebration of 50 years of tenpin bowling in Ireland.

Commencing on Monday March 11th and running until Friday March 15th, all schools are invited to get down to their local bowling centre and give bowling a try…and it’s completely free!

It really is an unmissable opportunity to get involved in a sport which is not only terrific fun but also comes with a competitive edge which will get kids and teenagers alike excited to try and get the better of their friends.

The aim of the initiative is primarily to get the next generation involved in a sport which has a rich history in Ireland, and to perhaps even find some future National or even International champions. There is a gem in the rough in every school, and just maybe this week we can uncover some gems of our own in tenpin bowling.

Tenpin bowling is fun, there is no denying that; but every kid wants to be top of their class. Some kids are better at soccer, or gaelic, or athletics, but who knows, maybe bowling is your time to shine!

All participating centres have computerised scoring systems, so you and your friends can make a real competition out of it; who can get the most strikes, who can get the most spares, and of course, who can get the best overall score and take the crown as class champion. Your bowling centre can even print off your scores for you to take home and stick on your wall…and who knows, there may even be a trophy to take home and sit proudly on your mantle piece.

The possibilities are endless, and with bowling centres all over the country participating there simply is no excuse not to get involved. And who knows, by the end of just that first game, you may just be hooked for life!

Click to find your nearest bowling centre now and get invloved in the most exciting schools initiative of the year!

New Year Blues? The cure is fun…bowling fun!

Are those late-January blues taking hold and dragging your spirits down?

Is the wintery weather which seems so festive and beautiful at Christmas time now just no more than cold-bitten hands and faces on these dark mornings?

Are those expensive Christmas presents, which were the greatest things the kids had ever been given a month ago, now lying scattered around the place, no longer cool or fun?

Whether you need a psychological pick-me up or you just need something to keep the kids interested for a couple of hours in the day, there’s one answer for all your problems: go bowling.

It’s simple; it doesn’t matter what age you are or how fit you are, bowling is the universal way to have fun.

It’s the perfect for kids aged 8-18, and even granny and grand-dad can enjoy it. Unlike most activities and sports, bowling is literally for all ages.

And you may not know it yet, but there are bowling centres everywhere these days, so you don’t have to drive for miles with the kids in your ear screaming ‘are we there yet, are we there yet?!’

So don’t let yourself get into that February slump, find your nearest bowling centre(  and thank yourself later. You’d be crazy not to!

And they say exercise can’t be fun…

There is one reason why so many people spend their time wishing they could get fitter and healthier but ultimately do not act on these wishes; it is the perception that exercise cannot be fun.

These people clearly have never been to a bowling alley. Tenpin bowling is a terrific way to exercise gently while having a laugh with your mates as well. What’s more it is a sport which does not discriminate; male or female, young or old, anyone can enjoy it.

On the technical side, tenpin bowling is an anaerobic exercise, similar to going walking with free weights. What anaerobic essentially means is that it depends more on muscular work than on the ability of a person to put up with the exercise for long periods. This allows you to get the exercise your muscles and body need while still appeasing your mind’s need for fun.

What’s more, tenpin bowling does not just give you a workout in one specific area, but it actually helps to develop muscular health and strength all over your body, working out muscle groups such as the arms, back, abdomen, quadriceps and hamstrings. It also develops the tendons. Joints and ligaments through the flexing and stretching which comes naturally from the action of the sport.

Just half an hour can burn up to 150 calories for the average person, and it will burn more for heavier individuals and less for lighter people, so basically the sport is naturally set up to allow you get the exercise your body needs specifically. This amount of calories is the equivalent of going for a moderate bike ride or even if you spent the same amount of time rowing. I bet you never thought that could be possible!

And what’s more, I cannot come up with even one sport where you can get the same level of social enjoyment and fun. You really can bowl whenever you want; day or night, rain or shine, bowling alleys will be there all year round. There really is no excuse not to get down to your nearest alley and get things rolling in 2013.

So put down the remote, get off the couch and look after your health in a fun, enjoyable environment. Go bowling!