20 August 2008

Templanstown, Co. Westmeath

Templanstown, Co. Westmeath
Photograph and text from http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=WM®no=15400319
1900 - 1960
Freestanding handball alley on U-shaped plan, erected c.1925 and repaired c.1960. Now overgrown, out of use and partially collapsed to the west. Constructed of random limestone rubble with smooth cement rendered over. Repaired with concrete clinker/breeze blocks to east and west sides. Located to the northwest of Fore adjacent to rural road junction.

A modest and unassuming handball alley, which represents an interesting artifact of cultural and social importance to the local community. 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 Irish Republic. They are also building type of some social and vernacular importance, which is unique to Ireland and to Irish communities aboard. During the latter part of the twentieth century the appeal of handball waned with the result that many alleys have since fallen into disrepair due to disuse and neglect, as is the case with this example at Templanstown. Few handball alleys were ever built in Westmeath and very few are still extant today, making this a rare artifact and distinctive survival.


Anonymous said...

This one is still there, but it's generally considered unsafe by the local kids. Don't know how true that is though.

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