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Small Streets Around the World: Ballyshannon, Ireland

It’s been a mighty long time since I’ve last posted here on the Small Streets Blog. I spent my last semester of my graduate program writing a history of a small street in Baltimore. While I plan to share some of that work on the blog in the future, for now I would like to think more globally. Because small streets are the hallmark of places designed around people who travel by foot, in nearly every country, if you go to the centers of the oldest cities and towns, you can find a core of small streets. 

In our first post of a series that will look at small streets in countries around the world, we’ll travel to the town of Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland. With archaeological sites dating back as far as the Neolithic period, Ballyshannon lays claim to being the oldest town in Ireland. Today it’s home to 2,500 people. 

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Castle Street, around 30 feet wide, has a mixture of houses and businesses. The brightly-colored Dicey Reilly’s Pub makes clear to passers-by that if you want a Guinness, it’s the place to go. Rowhouses are the primary form of housing here. Though the architecture shares a common aesthetic, the details of the buildings vary enough that this would be an interesting place to walk and explore. Castle Street opens up to a large, inviting square.


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The street known as The Mall, just off the Main Street, is slightly narrower. In order to make space for cars, the space for people has unfortunately been reduced to only a couple of feet on either side. It’s just enough for someone to open the front door. 


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West Port is one of the town’s narrowest streets at approximately 20 to 25 feet wide. It looks like a quiet residential street. Though the street is shaded at this time of day, the houses’ gabled roofs help to balance living space and sun exposure. 

I encourage you to explore more of the town!