The Orkney Ba’ game is played on Christmas Day and New Years’ Day each year in Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, in the North sea off Scotland. It is a Medieval Football game played with a Ba’ (Ball made of cork and covered with leather). two opposing sides, the Uppies and Doonies (those born to the North of the Cathedral are Doonies and those born to the South of the Cathedral are Uppies).
The Uppie goal is to touch the Ba’ against a wall in the South end of the town. The Doonies have to get the ball into the water of Krkwall Bay to the North of the town. There are no official rules or limit to the number of players on each side although “inappropriate behaviour” is kept in check.
Usually a tight scrum develops around the Ba’ but when the scrum breaks chaos erupts as the team with possession tries to get to their goal as fast as they can. A game can last up to five hours, although there is only one goal scored and the game is up.
 Orkneyjar / Sigurd Towrie (2018) The Kirkwall Ba’ [Internet] Available from: http://www.orkneyjar.com/tradition/bagame [Accessed 25 October 2018]
 Orkneyjar (2018) ba1 [Internet] Available from: http://www.orkneyjar.com/tradition/bagame/ba1.jpg [Accessed 25 October 2018]
 You Tube (2019) Kirkwall Boys Ba Christmas Day 2017 (part 3 of 3) . Uploaded by tomf001 [Internet] Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjx9mt-OTGE [Accessed 8 September 2020]
Thanks to Richard Mulcahy and Derek Walsh.
About this document
Researched, Compiled and Written by Enda Mulcahy for the
Eirball | GAA World Archive
Last Updated: 18 November 2020
(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2020
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