2 May 2013
Photographs by R.Ryan in July 07 and aeriel view by B. Moynes in March 2013.
On grounds of Pallotine College, Thurles, CO. Tipperary.
Pigeon House Fort, Ringsend, Dublin 4
1st Photograph by E.Timoney, April 20102nd Photograph and information provided by A. Giacometti, June 2009
3rd Photograph by M. Coffey, April 2013
This Handball Alley is in the Pigeon House Fort, Ringsend, Dublin 4. It is in good condition, if slightly overgrown, and is very large, perhaps measuring 10m by 20m in size.The handball alley was constructed by the British when the site was in use as a military barracks between 1798 and 1897, probably, although it is possible that it was constructed later when Dublin Corporation bought the land for use as a sewerage treatment works.
Brady's Pub, Terenure, Dublin. Photographed Nov 2008 by E.Timoney. And in April 2013 (last photos) by M. Coffey. Information below from E.Timoney.
This alley at rear of pub is now a Beer Garden for pub with picnic tables and shrubs. According to customers an All Ireland Final was played in this alley but date need to be confirmed. Recalled a Jack Coffey being a particularly good handballer.
1 May 2013
Falcarragh Co. Donegal Photograph provided by G.Loughran, April 2013. This is remains of a 4-wall alley.
The Curragh Camo Squash Club (1856 to 2013) Photographs and Information provided by K. Hurley, December 2012. A “Rackets Court and 2 Ball Courts” were built at the establishment of the Curragh Camp in 1855/56. In the first photo you will see the position of the original front façade of the building with the first handball court on the left. The 2nd photo shows the inside of that court/alley today. The second court is immediately behind the first (with the same front wall) and can be seen in photos 3 and 4. For info the current entrance to the squash club, via the 1984 building is shown in photo 5. The Rackets Court was used for handball as well as rackets until 1933. The handball courts were in use for handball until the 1960’s and were in use for hurling and tennis wall training (occasionally) until about 15 years ago. They are not in use and not maintained now but are still in good condition structurally after 157 years. Key Dates 1805: Temporary military training camp established at the Curragh 1855: Permanent military training barracks built. Started in March and could accommodate 5,000 men by early July 1855 and full 10,000 in 1856 1855/56: Racket Court and 2 ball courts built. Contract Price in March 1855 was £1631.15s.0d. Final account price £1700.0.0. Only two other buildings in the Curragh had full solid foundations – the Clock Tower and the Water Works 1856 to 1922: Racket Court used for rackets (similar to modern squash but with larger court, stone floor, similar racket and harder, white, ball) and Ball Courts for handball 1922 : Curragh Camp handed over to Irish Government including the Racket and Ball Courts and the Gymnasium (situated where the all weather pitch is now). The Gymnasium, consisting of full sized basketball pitch, fencing room and dressing rooms, toilets and showers was demolished in the 1950’s 1922 to 1933: Racket Court used for rackets and for indoor handball 1933: Converted from 1 racket court to 3 squash racquets courts by building two internal walls. Viewing gallery over Court 1 only. Rackets no longer played 1938: First Squash Club Championship – won by Capt. Sean Collins Powell in 1938 and six times subsequently until 1950. (Capt Collins Powell was appointed to every command post in the Irish Army including Chief of Staff and also had a distinguished sporting career in squash, hurling, rugby and swimming.) 1941:Wooden floors installed 1950: Curragh team started competing in Dublin Squash Leagues and led B division at the half way stage 1962 :First All Army Squash Championship – won by Comd’t Eamon Young in 1962 and five times subsequently. (Had earlier won two All Ireland Minor Hurling medals and an All Ireland Senior Football medal) 1968 : Sauna installed – believed to be the first sauna in Ireland 1975: Converted from 3 (narrow) squash racquets courts to 2 standard sized courts. Men’s and Ladies’ changing rooms, showers and saunas added 1984 : New building added with 2 additional courts, one being a glass backed court with tiered seating, new changing rooms, toilets and a bar 1984 to 2013 : Various changes to the changing rooms, saunas etc. 2013 : Understood to be the oldest indoor sports facility in use in Ireland
Kilmannon, Clearstown, Co. Wexford Photographs and information provided by S. Berry, December 2012 "The old ball alley in Kilmannon, Cleariestown, Co Wexford was built in late 1800's and comprised of a front wall and two short sidewalls. The floor area was twice as wide at the back as the front. In the mid-30's, sidewalls were extended and back wall was added. During the 40's, the old wall began to crumble and a new committee built them. In 1947, Lar Duggan and Charlie Drumgoole won the All-Ireland junior hardball doubles title out of Kilmannon. In the 1950's a new enthusiasm for handball hit the area and multi-All-Ireland champion the late John "Bull" Ryan played out of Kilmannon. The late Tommy O'Dowd was another local All-Ireland champion winning the junior hardball singles title in 1963. In 1985, new wire was put on the top of the walls and important maintenance was completed. In 2000, the ball-alley played an important role for the local St Annes hurling team who spent many hours in the alley honing their hurling skills in their historic double winning year. The alley is still very much in use to-day."
Bushfield, Charlestown, Co. Mayo Photographs and information provided by E. O'Brien, August 2012 "The handball alley is located at Bushfield Charlestown County Mayo. The original alley was in use circa 1870. The present alley was built on the same site but faced in the opposite direction in the early 1930’s. The late Thomas O’Brien purchased the land on which the ball alley is built in 1930. He donated the additional land required for the new alley. The alley was played in extensively until very recently. It is now very much in need of repair to preserve it as part of our heritage. It is a landmark in the townland of Tomboholla (Bushfield); it must be preserved and not replaced." E. O'Brien