Irish Games

Irish Brandubh

Brandubh is a variant of the old Viking game hnefatafl that goes back to the 9th century. It is a strategic game of unequal sides. Like many old Viking games the rules aren’t officially recorded somewhere but the games for this game are hinted at in many poems and stories. Image result for Brandubh

Two literary sources that mention the rules of the game are “Acallam na Senorach”, a collection of stories about the Irish Heroic Age which speaks of thirteen pieces and tells us that it is played five against eight.

“Abair riom a Eire ogh”, a poem, gives us more information, clarifying that the five pieces included a “branan” to whom the five “noble squares”, the corners of the board, belonged.

The aim of the King’s defenders is to get the King to any of the four corners unharmed. The attackers’ aim is to capture the king before he reaches his goal. The rules give the attacker a slight advantage. It is a simple yet great strategic game and an amazing gift for someone who is interested in the history of games.




This traditional Irish game that was spread across the world by the emigration of the Irish during the famine years and is usually played indoors. It is for all ages but also a very popular pub game.

The game is about reaching your total score. Players take turns to throw the six rubber rings onto the hooks (1-13) on the board. The rules differ depending at which level you want to play. For example , at level 1, the players agree on a number and whoever reaches this number first, using the fewest rings, wins. At an advanced level, players try to hook every number in sequence. If a player hooks an incorrect number, his turn is over.

The game is that popular that there is an official governing body, the World Ring Board Academy, and All Ireland Championships are still held. s l1600

Jenny Bui
Jenny Bui

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