Survey Data

Reg No


Categories of Special Interest

Cultural, Social

Original Use

Handball alley


1900 - 1940


234222, 432642

Date Recorded


Date Updated



Handball alley on rectangular-plan built up against the north elevation of Buncrana Castle (see 40915001), erected c. 1920, having side walls that reduce\taper in height away from the side elevation of house. Now out of use. Constructed of random rubble stone with rendered finish over. Grass deck. Located to the north elevation of Buncrana Castle, and to the north-west of the centre of Buncrana.


A modest and unassuming handball alley, probably originally built during the first decades of the twentieth century, which represents an interesting artefact of cultural and social importance to the local community. Handball alleys 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 Buncrana. Few handball alleys were ever built in County Donegal, and very few are still extant today, making this a rare cultural artefact and survival. This particular example is very unusual in that it is built up against the north wall of a country house, Buncrana Castle (see 40815001), an highly unusual location for such a feature.