18 Aug 2022

Trip Through Time: Where in Dundalk was the Polo Field?

Looking back at Dundalk's past, with former Democrat editor Peter Kavanagh

Trip Through Time: Where in Dundalk was the Polo Field?

Where in Dundalk was the Polo Field?

This is a small field in the Demesne, between the backs of the Phillip Street and the Legion Avenue houses which was used by the children attending the De la Salle primary Boys Schools for recreation.

The entrance is near the Castletown Road end of Philip Street. It was originally known as the Pidgeon House Field because there was once a large dove cote used by Dundalk House, off Church Street, to nest birds for their eggs and flesh at Lord Roden's table.

It got its present name when the Earl gave permission for the officers stationed in the Cavalery Barracks to use it for polo matches.

It was given to the De la Salle Brothers by the Dundalk Urban Council when that part of the Demesne was acquired from the Roden Estate about 100 years ago.

Where is Ship Street?

This is a short cul-de-sac between Quay Street and Barrack Street, off the road now known as St. Gerard's Square Road, which had originally been called Timber Street because it led to a number of large timber yards where wood imported at the quayside wharfs was stored.

Ship Street is possibly the shortest named street in the old Dundalk Urban area and there was never more than three or four dwelling houses along it!

Where in Dundalk was the Engineers' Hall?

This a small hall at the back of No. 17, Park Street used to hold meetings by the Irish Engineers' Union, founded in 1835, one of the oldest civil engineering unions in the British Isles.

The hall has been let to various local groups, including the late Tommy Clarke's drama group, to practices for productions, and may have been used for private showings of early movies.

A renter of the front premises in the late 19th century was Peter Goodman, grandfather of the present Irish billionaire Larry Goodman. He ran a butcher's shop, taken over by his son Laurence, about 1930.

Where was the Labourers' Hall?

This is another small hall built by the Dundalk Labourers' Society, formed in 1871 to promote trade union activities in Town.

The hall was built in 1886 in a cul-de-sac named Matthew's Court, behind Nos. 56/57, Clanbrassil Street, at a cost of £700 which included a caretaker's residence.

The hall was used to play billiards and snooker in the middle of the last century and Dundalk Chess Club played there for a time. It was also the first place the Delga Debating Society, formed in 1956, held their debates and meetings.

Questions for next week:

Where exactly did Dundalk's old Linen Hall stand?

What was Dundalk's 'Ragged School' and where was it located?

Where are the 'Rawson Houses' and why are they so known?

Where are the 'Brickell Houses' and how were they a Dundalk 'first'?

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