Popular from the 17th century and still played today, the game was introduced to Ireland by soldiers and weavers from the Netherlands and France, where it is still played in the much more sedate form of boules.
According to Irish Road Bowling historian Dr Fintan Lane, the style of painting and the costumes worn date the work to around 1790.
“Until now, the earliest we knew of was a painting by Daniel MacDonald, circa 1847,” he...
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