Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Cross of St Patrick (2)

The controversy in Downpatrick about the Cross of St Patrick flag came to mind this morning as I read the sports section of the Newsletter.  There was a photograph of the Ireland bowling team at the Home International 'A' Short Mat Championships at Swansea.

The team did exceptionally well and wrote themselves into the record book by achieving a 'clean sweep' of trophies, which included the team title plus the four individual British Isles Championships - singles, pairs, triples and fours.

The team were phtographed on the platform and there in front of them was their flag - a Cross of St Patrick, with a single shamrock in the top quadrant.  Clearly this was acceptable to bowlers from both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

This is another example of the use of the Cross of St Patrick flag and serves to highlight the ignorance and intolerance of the Sinn Fein councillor in Downpatrick who rejected the flag at the St Patrick's Day parade because, he claimed, it had 'military associations'.

It is also worthwhile taking a look at the website of the Irish Indoor Bowling Association - http://www.iiba.co.uk/ - which has an interesting history of indoor bowling.  Short mat bowling originated in Northern Ireland around 1926 when outdoor bowlers from the Victoria club had to abandon play because of rain.  They moved indoors to the church hall of Strand Presbyterian Church and started to play there using a length of carpet.  Indoor bowls developed from this and there is a photograph from 1929 of indoor bowling in Ballymacarrett Presbyterian Church hall.  The game really developed after the 2nd World War and the IIBA was formed in 1961.

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