There are four handball codes in Ireland played in three different types of court.
40 x 20 - SMALL ALLEY
40 x 20 or Small Alley as it is commonly called, is named after the dimensions of the court (40 x 20 feet). It is played indoors, enclosed with four walls and a roof. Players wear gloves and eyeguards as the handball used is a small rubber ball travelling at speeds up to 100mph. The game is played internationally in more than ten other countries. The 40 x 20 season is from October to April.
60 x 30 - BIG ALLEY SOFTBALL
60 x 30, Big Alley or Softball is the Code of the game that is traditional to Ireland. Again, it is named after the dimensions of the court used. The ball is much bigger and has more bounce and therefore eyeguards and gloves are not compulsory. Traditionally the game was played in an outdoor court, the type seen throughout Ireland, during the summer. Increasingly new roofed alleys have been erected although the season is still from June to September.
Hardball is the most ancient of the handball games played in Ireland and it is also played on the larger 60 x 30 court. The ball used is small and hard, made from cork and leather/ Padding on the hands is required due to the hardness of the ball. Again the ball can travel at over 100 miles an hour. The season runs from May to June.
One Wall handball is the simplest variant of the game. It simply requires and wall and a ball. It can be played indoor and outdoor and is generally played in summer. The front wall dimensions are 20 x 16 ft using a handball similar to a racquetball. Thirty-three countries worldwide play One Wall handball with discussions in train to make it an Olympic sport. The season runs from May to August.