20 August 2008

Streamstown Crossroads, Co. Westmeath




Streamstown Crossroads, Co. Westmeath
Photograph and following text from http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=WM®no=15403142
1880 - 1960
Freestanding handball alley on U-shaped plan, erected c.1900 and repaired c.1960. Original parts constructed of rubble limestone with mass concrete walls added c.1860. Located adjacent to Streamstown Crossroads and to the west of Castletown Geoghegan.

A modest and unassuming handball alley, which represents an interesting artefact of cultural and social importance to the local community. Handball alleys were characteristic features of the Irish countryside in the late nineteenth and early-to-mid twentieth centuries. They have strong social and cultural significance on account of their associations with the Gaelic Revival and the emergence of the GAA in the late nineteenth-century and, later, with the attempts to create a unique cultural identity within the newly independent nation in the early-to-mid twentieth century. They are also a building type of some social and vernacular importance that is unique to Ireland and to Irish communities aboard. This handball alley is in relatively good condition and is well-maintained. It is likely that the original part of this handball was constructed using the fabric of an earlier house on site.

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