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Thread: Magee Barracks, Kildare, Ireland, January 2020

  1. #1
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    Default Magee Barracks, Kildare, Ireland, January 2020


    1. The History
    The artillery barracks in Kildare town date back to 1900. They were built on the site of the Lock Hospital. The construction crew of 65 carpenters and joiners and 26 plasters and painters took just over a year to construct them. The first military units stationed in the barracks were the 31st and 33rd Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery, consisting of five batteries of artillery, all of which served in the First World War.

    Later, following the war of Independence and signing of the treaty, the British made plans to vacate the barracks. However, on 10th February 1922, a few weeks before they were due to vacate the barracks, Lieutenant John Wogan-Browne was shot in the head and died after three men in a car robbed him of the regimental pay while returning from the nearby Hibernian bank (only £135 back then but about £28,000 in today's money). Bizarrely, the three men, who were all local, were arrested for the murder but were released a few months later. When the barracks were handed over, they were selected as the site for the training of the new Civic Police and 800 men were sent to the new Civic Police headquarters on 25th April 1922. Within a week of arrival, the civic police were attacked by anti-treaty forces and soldiers had to be stationed on the gate to protect the barracks.

    On 20th March 1925, the Irish Artillery Corps, made up of 5 officers, 18 NCOs and 93 gunners (116 in total) replaced the British forces along with a cast of supporting forces numbering forty including cooks, drivers, a farrier and smiths. Each battery had four 18 pounder guns and with two batteries of artillery they required a regulation 125 horses, the farrier and his smiths would have been in much demand. The Artillery Corps carried out their first shoot in the Glen of Imaal in September 1925 with the men having to haul the guns over Table Top mountain.

    In 1938 a new barracks was built and represented one of the first military barracks to be built by the newly independent Irish Free State. They were named after Gunner James Magee, formerly of the Mayo Militia. He was famous for switching sides and raising the green flag of Irish at the Battle of Ballinamuck in September 1798. Magee was later captured and executed by the British forces. A year later in March 1939, most of the horses were sold at public auction in Dublin as the Artillery Corps switched to mechanized artillery. Ironically the Corps never saw active combat.

    Magee Barracks shortly before closer, back in 1996:

    Magee Barracks 1996 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    With the reorganisation the army in the 1990s, the days of Kildare Barracks were finally numbered, and the barracks finally closed in 1998. They later severed as a home for Kosovan refugees and asylum seekers for a couple of years but were then abandoned shortly afterwards. The site sold for no less than €8.2 million in February 2016. Not bad for the 51.4-acre site which had an initial guide price of just €2 million. In November 2019 Ballymount Properties were granted planning permission for 375 homes and a proton treatment cancer clinic for the former Magee Barracks, having been previously knocked back in July 2018. Construction work expected to get underway in first half of this year (2020).

    2. The Explore
    On the way back to Dublin from the south coast, we decided to break our journey and overnight in Portarlington. A quick search turned up Magee barracks so early doors the next morning I drove the short distance over there. The place is due to get demo’ed so didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. Parked up in Lidl car park and started checking the perimeter fence. Most of it is palisaded but with such a long perimeter there was always going to be a spot where the nut and bolt has fallen off one of the slats and so it proved to be the case. Once in it was a relaxed explore. It’s a very big, low-slung and pretty trashed site. And like all barracks there was a lot of repetition in the architecture. Despite that, there was still enough to hold your attention for a good hour plus the deco style was also quite interesting. Overall a nice way to finish off my holiday in Ireland.

    3. The Pictures

    And we’re in!

    img5403 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The only bit of half decent graff I saw:

    img5402 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5401 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5400 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    B Block:

    img5382 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5397 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5392 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In we go:

    Magee Barracks 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Toilet block:

    Magee Barracks 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In need of re-tiling:

    Magee Barracks 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Stripped bare:

    img5389 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Lotsa decay in here:

    Magee Barracks 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And here:

    Magee Barracks 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Obligatory knob graff:

    Magee Barracks 22 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Side of B Block:

    img5375 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    C Block:

    img5395 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A Block!

    img5384 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5385 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More toilets!

    Magee Barracks 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Back of A Block:

    img5376 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Down the left-hand side of the parade ground:

    img5381 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Let’s not forget D Block:

    img5370 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    And down the right-hand side of the parade ground:

    img5365bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Arson attack here:



    Magee Barracks 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5348 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5356 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And finally, the old water tower over by Lidl:

    img5342 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magee Barracks 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: Hugh Jorgan, Ipcre55, jindivik, Mearing, Mikeymutt, ocelot397, The_Derp_Lane
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  4. #2
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    I like that mate. It has quite a cold feel to it. A little bit brutalist in its architecture. Nice shots as always, I have a bit of catching up to do in posts and reports
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    That has a nice deco look to it despite being so empty! Nicely done
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
  8. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeymutt View Post
    I like that mate. It has quite a cold feel to it. A little bit brutalist in its architecture. Nice shots as always, I have a bit of catching up to do in posts and reports
    Quote Originally Posted by BikinGlynn View Post
    That has a nice deco look to it despite being so empty! Nicely done
    Cheers both. Yup. Deffo a bit stark and repetitive after a while. Lots of straight lines and very few curves. Still, it has it's charms in an understated way...

  9. Thanks given by: Mikeymutt

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