Eyes down now for one of the greatest games in the world – bingo! This simple competition of numbers, cards and jackpots is one of the classics – with a thrill and a winner in every single game.
In Ireland the game has a long tradition and popular history that ensures it is part of the whole social culture of the country.
It was mainly introduced into the Republic by the Catholic Church in the 1960s but had been evolving across Europe for far longer. In fact the roots of the game can be traced right back to Italy in the era of the Renaissance.
The end of the Second World War was the time that bingo seemed to soar in popularity, heading west across the continent. In Ireland it was a huge success and there was a real bingo boom in the sixties.
Every city and town soon had its own bingo hall. These venues became more than just a big space to play a game.
The bingo hall became the centre of socialising for many communities. They often symbolised a whole night out, with food and drink, and best of all, all your friends and family.
Both north and south of the border, the Irish bingo fans have always preferred the classic 90-ball game. In contrast, the newer 75-ball American variant has been rather slow to gain acceptance.