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30 Sept 2022

LETTER: 'To the good people of Tipperary,' man's plea to save important handball alley

In this week's Nationalist

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

File photo

SUPPORT NEEDED

‘Important historical monument is disarray’

To the good people of Tipperary,

We request your support to lobby your local council in relation to our Tipperary Hills handball alley.

In recent years the alley has been left to degrade to near derelict condition and needs repair to render it playable and safe.

Under Section 2.3 of the Local Government Sanitary Services Act 1964, Tipperary County Council is responsible for repair and up keep of this iconic heritage building.

It is their law which has to work both ways as it is TCC’s property, and as of yet no revitalisation grants were directed to renovate and render it safe for use as currently, the alley is still in a repairable condition.

Handball is an integral part of our Irish heritage and one of the ancient Gaelic games with records of it dating as far back to the 1500s.

The Tipperary handball alley is part of the town’s historical archives as traditionally the game is played in a 60 x 30 foot outdoor alley, which it is, and is one of the very few left of its kind. It also provides great exercise and is highly beneficial for mental health by releasing serotonin and endorphins which help with depression, anxiety, etc.

The alley holds lots of memories of by-gone days and a plethora of great players used it in their pursuit to bring glory to this town.

Individuals such as John Cleary, Willie Fitzgibbon, Sean Callahan and many more trained and played here on their journeys to win all Ireland medals on behalf of county Tipperary.

Our alley attracts all creeds and races from passers-by who interact with one another and converse about their traditions, cultures, and values, creating relationships within our community and promoting social inclusion.

It also helps local youth with issues of poly drug use and mental health by giving them a healthy outlet in which to exercise and socialise.

It would not take a big amount of money to repair the various cracks, viewing area, and so on, and it would be very good post-Covid to get people back outdoors again after a tough few years in lockdowns.

Moreover, the older members of our town like to stop up and watch games but are unable due to the gallery being knocked by the TCC.

Tipperary Town Revitalisation Group has received funding for numerous renovations, of which none has been directed towards the repair of our handball alley. Hundreds of thousands were directed to the Tipperary Hills and the alley is on the same ground.

Although it could be interpreted as institutionalised discrimination, racism, or cronyism, we believe it is simply a lack of knowledge and understanding of our rich heritage that such an icon to our history has been neglected for so long.

We ask the people of the town to make themselves heard to all parties that are responsible for funds and lobby the TCC to revitalise and repair the handball alley for our future generations to enjoy.

Maybe then more All-Ireland players may arise from Tipp Town outdoor alley?

There are not many 60 x 30 outdoor handball alleys left in Ireland that are playable, so why not keep ours as functional icon and historical building of days gone by?

Anyone with fond memories of the alley we would love to hear about your experiences and we’re sure the people of the town would too.

Please save our outdoor handball alley!

It must be repaired, not knocked or left to collapse into no more than a distant memory.

Pearse Buckley from Tipperary Town

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