Magee Barracks, Kildare, Ireland, January 2020

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Regular Member
Jan 6, 2013
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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
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:

49391827597_18d13c917a_b.jpgMagee 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!

49347551568_5046d8727f_b.jpgimg5403 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The only bit of half decent graff I saw:

49347552448_f0f432319f_b.jpgimg5402 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348221802_905fb2f61a_b.jpgimg5401 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348222517_325bb6a80e_b.jpgimg5400 by HughieDW, on Flickr

B Block:

49347561063_e2f8d19601_b.jpgimg5382 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348223577_0499cb82f3_b.jpgimg5397 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347556663_58e91c3bf1_b.jpgimg5392 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In we go:

49348134632_b777ef75be_b.jpgMagee Barracks 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Toilet block:

49347464303_fdc78431cc_b.jpgMagee Barracks 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In need of re-tiling:

49348134007_b45e3eb0b0_b.jpgMagee Barracks 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stripped bare:

49347557758_ac0476ed63_b.jpgimg5389 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lotsa decay in here:

49347927321_813bbe1287_b.jpgMagee Barracks 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And here:

49348134432_f1d57a0bc4_b.jpgMagee Barracks 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Obligatory knob graff:

49347463688_082008f2e1_b.jpgMagee Barracks 22 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Side of B Block:

49348234897_b84fc43787_b.jpgimg5375 by HughieDW, on Flickr

C Block:

49348018096_8a3d75046a_b.jpgimg5395 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348135692_ee762e924b_b.jpgMagee Barracks 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A Block!

49348022651_64c0d6b672_b.jpgimg5384 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348021491_5df52dd763_b.jpgimg5385 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More toilets!

49347466668_133eb9e439_b.jpgMagee Barracks 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Back of A Block:

49348233437_0a8ba95b0a_b.jpgimg5376 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Down the left-hand side of the parade ground:

49347561888_bf45eedd99_b.jpgimg5381 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Let’s not forget D Block:

49348030476_56314c7d65_b.jpgimg5370 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

49347569973_3f2f0007cd_b.jpgimg5365bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

Arson attack here:

49348139142_2f6c356658_b.jpgMagee Barracks 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347573178_9b95bc4ae7_b.jpgimg5348 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347572343_1665aa2bd2_b.jpgimg5356 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347467698_5fee976352_b.jpgMagee Barracks 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347930931_691c64a827_b.jpgMagee Barracks 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347931191_5297d6762c_b.jpgMagee Barracks 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348137842_99319609bb_b.jpgMagee Barracks 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49348138097_1d4ab38b67_b.jpgMagee Barracks 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, the old water tower over by Lidl:

49348037626_517b984d02_b.jpgimg5342 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49347469173_d501e5d59d_b.jpgMagee Barracks 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr


Regular Member
Oct 14, 2013
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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


Regular Member
Jun 7, 2014
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That has a nice deco look to it despite being so empty! Nicely done


Regular Member
Jan 6, 2013
Reaction score
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
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

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...