8 August 2008

Donard, Co. Wicklow

Donard, Co. Wicklow
Lower photographs and text provided by P. and M. Toomey, August 2008. Top photographs by E.Timoney from Feb 2022
This floor of this alley was renewed in October 2022. see Donard-Glen Community Information facebook page Oct 26.2022. Photos of work included here with permission of Donard-Glen Community. This alley is included on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage
Donard handball alley was build by the Goddard family sometime in the 19th century. The Goddard’s were the local landlords. A front wall and two sloping side walls and a flatstone floor was the alley in those days.

In the early 1950’s the local club decided to build a back wall and side walls. The farmer who owned some land at the back of the alley insisted that he had a pass way though the alley so two wooden doors filled in the area between the old sloped walls and the new side walls.

Eventually the farmer stopped using the pass-way and the walls were built up. A lot of methods were used to stop the balls going out of the front area of the alley. In the 1990’s the club put a net over the front of the alley, raised the front and side walls put a stand at the back of the alley and raised the back wall. The net was not a success as the balls used to get stuck in it. The one wall game was introduced in the alley in the early 21st century. Maybe that will be the new way forward.

Following text and interior photograph from

1920 - 1940
Freestanding reinforced concrete handball alley, built c.1930. The walls are part painted part ivy-covered and part roughcast finished, with the tall wall to the west, sloping walls to north and to south, and the short wall to the east. There is a low open doorway to the north wall. The structure is set on the side of a street.

Substantially complete and increasingly rare example of a c.1930s handball alley.


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