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Remembered Today:

Castlebar Military Barracks Closure.


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Tomorrow, Sunday 18th March will see the official closure of Castlebar Military Barracks in Co Mayo. It will be marked by a Flag lowering Ceremony at 1300 hrs and so will mark the end of a piece of History in this Garrison Town.

A brief History of the Military Units that were located in Castlebar.

1828: In 1828 the order was given by the British Government to construct a number of Barracks in Castlebar co Mayo. The new Infantry barracks was constructed on the site of an old castle (two towers of the castle being used to house the infantry in Castlebar and were in a very dilapidated state). The cavalry units were located initially at barrack st (which used to run next to morans pub along the back of Linenhall st to new Antrim st).

The old Family home of the Lucans which was damaged during the 1798 rebellion was pulled down and dressed stone from this building was used in the construction of the present barracks.

An Artillery barracks was also constructed and this was located at the corner of the mall where the Present Garda station now stands. Although it was constructed for artillery it was later mainly used by the Cavalry units because of the large number of stables built for the artillery horses, which were used to pull heavy cannon.

The builder of the Infantry barracks was a Mr Clarke From Galway and the construction took just over two years. The infantry barracks consisted of 5 Three-story buildings arranged in an L shape around the northeast corner present square. These were A-B, C-D, E-F; G-H Blocks were for the enlisted men. Or other ranks. Blocks J-K-L, & M, N, O were officers accommodation. The barracks commanded a fine view of the town and had its own water supply consisting of a well.

The barracks could accommodate about 500 personnel consisting of all ranks (offrs ncos and enlisted men)

1831: In sept 1831 The Depot of the 10th regiment of foot was the First unit to occupy the then new Infantry barracks. The 6th Dragoons occupied the Artillery /Cavalry Barracks. Sometime During the period up to 1833 the 83rd regiment of foot replaced the 10th regiment. Records show that they the 83rd moved out of the barracks in 1833 temporarily due to an outbreak of cholera. They were relocated to a field camp at Ballynew for the duration of the outbreak. Records also show that during the outbreak the artillery/ cavalry barracks was turned over to the town’s people and functioned as a fever hospital for the duration.

1838 to 40 a note found in the record indicate that none of the Mayo Regiments of Militia received any training during this time.

1850 The next unit mentioned in the records is the 88th regiment of foot also know by their famous nickname “ The Connacht Rangers” They were stationed in the barracks in May 1850 (Depot Company).

1855 In 1855 The South Mayo Regiment of militia were re-designated as Royal Rifle Regiment and replaced the 40th regiment of foot in Castlebar Barracks.

Also in 1855 the 2nd West Kent militia were stationed in Castlebar until 1856. Militia units were only allowed to serve in the United Kingdom and Channel Islands.

In 1857 a mention in their records indicate that the barracks was unoccupied for some time as the record states that the only occupants of the post in this year was a “ barrack master and two military pensioners”

1859 The next mention of the post in 1859 says that improvements were carried out in the barracks. These included the construction a cook hose to house ovens to bake bread and cook meat; two water towers were also built to store water drawn from the well. A Rifle and artillery range was also constructed this year in Raheen bar on land donated by Lord Lucan.

1862 – 1870 Once again records indicate, “No regular troops Infantry or cavalry were stationed in Castlebar or in the county of Mayo.

1870 one record states that Local Military pensioners were taken into the infantry barracks for 9 days training in June 1870

1871 the 17th Lancers were stationed in Castlebar artillery/ cavalry barracks, This unit gained notoriety in the ill fated “Charge of the light Brigade” at Balaklava in the Crimea. “Into the valley of death rode the 500……….”

1874 A station Hospital was built in the barracks this year under the command of a doctor/Surgeon. (This building was located to the rear of the cookhouse)

1881 The south Mayo Rifles were designated as the 3rd Bn Connaught Rangers (militia) in July 1881. The north Mayo Regiment of militia was designated as the 6th Bn Connaught Rangers (militia)

1883 a record states that a proposal is made to construct a rifle range at Aughdrinagh (on the Ballinrobe road)

1887 The local Land Lord “Earl of Lucan” is appointed to the rank of field marshal in the British army in June 1887. He was a member of staff during the Crimean War and was the person responsible for passing on the orders for the 17th Lancer to attack the Prussian Guns. The orders were miss- interpreted by his brother in law Lord Cardigan who led the charge up the wrong valley to death and glory.

1888 The 3rd & 6th Bns of the Connaught Rangers Militia are amalgamated. The new designation is the 3rdbn Connaught Rangers Militia.

1889 Construction work begins on a rifle range at Aughdrinagh and from 1890 onwards militia camps are held at the range each summer. The stores and some accommodation for these militia camps are located at the Garda station old artillery/cavalry barracks which explains why the building is described as a militia barracks on some old maps of the town.

1908 The 3rd Bn The Connaught Rangers militia is disbanded it resurfaces for recruiting purposes during the 1914 – 18 wars




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Thanks for posting mick an interesting history.I hate to see these barracks closing and i hope this one isn't let fall to bits.john

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Thank you for posting this very interesting history of the barracks Mick. My great grandfather was born in Aglish, Castlebar and enrolled as a volunteer in South Mayo Rifles Militia aged 21

Released on 6th December 1858 after paying 18s and 6d. Joined 15th Regiment of Foot at Westport in 1858 and his five sons followed him into the regiment, by that time renamed the East Yorkshire Regiment

I'm hoping to get over to Co Mayo this year to research a little more because although I have no proof as yet, I have strong suspicions and a little bit of family lore, that the family were a military one even further back.


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Any idea who was stationed there during War of Independence ?

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I think the 2nd Battalion, The Border Regiment was based there 1920/1.

Regards Mark

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Mark thanks

I was fishing for dates - month and year in and out :)

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Just found this on another Forum.

Looking at some service records I think they arrived Castlebar 26 July 1919

Regards Mark

From the Cabinet Office Documents Online at the National Archives:-


ENDING 23rd JULY, 1921 2nd Battalion Border Regiment. Headquarters at Castlebar, detachment at Ballinrobe



13th February 2nd Battalion Border Regiment "changed station" from Castlebar to Dublin


ENDING 22nd September, 1922Sgt Hunt, 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment. Wounded on 30th June 1922 when on escort duty in Dublin.

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Thanks Mark, I have added the info.

Border Regt had a relatively quiet time in Mayo

Click for Border Reg deaths in Mayo

Feel free anyone to add any other deaths of Border soldiers in Ireland

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I think the 'Sgt Hunt, 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment. Wounded on 30th June 1922 when on escort duty in Dublin.'

might be the same Sergeant Hunt who was a Witness at Corporal Bernard Bishop's Inquest

Bernard Bishop

Regards Mark

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the Irish Defence Forces archives website has a number of plans available to view online re Castlebar Barracks.

Hearts and Mines by William Sheehan has the Castlebar Brigade as at December 1921 consisting of :

CO : Colonel-Commandant Hugh Roger Headlam

Brigade Major : Capt C W Hayden, MC, Middx Regt

Staff Capt : Capt L H Sacre, Essex Regt and Lt L H Methuen OBE MC, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Intel Officer : Lt J G Campbell MC, Border Regt

Court Martials Officer : Capt W Temple, General List

Unit :

2nd Battn , Border Regt. CO = Lt Col G de la P B PAkenham

2nd Battn, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, CO = Lt Col W J Tweedie CMG

Colonel Headlam has a write up re his careers and medals etc at


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And the rank of Colonel Commandant had only recently been introduced to replace Brigadier General (and was very short-lived, becoming today's Brigadier)

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  • 4 years later...
  • 3 years later...

Re Castlebar Barracks

My Irish family of Mulvey had strong connections to the soldiers stationed at the barracks.

Mulvey family owned a clothiers tailors shop Linen Hall Street Castlebar

Lizzie married William Henry Bell at Castlebar R C church 11 August 1898

William's occupation stated as Army Hospital Corporal. Residence The Barracks.

Would you be able to tell me what regiment he was with and where they went on to serve?

My Grandfather John James Jones Sargent 2 Welsh regiment

home base Aldershot. married Kate Mulvey at Castlebar R C Church Nov. 1899. They went onto India Quetta and S Africa

Was 2 Welch based at Castlebar?

A third Mulvey, Agnes married William Bruen Connaught Rangers

Later Captain OBE DCM MC Legion Honour Croix de Guerre

Later a Major in Irish Army.

Many Thanks

Kind regards

Chris Jones




























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  • 8 months later...

Anyone recognise the name George Bambury or similar born c1851 at Castlebar Barracks Mother believed to be Ellen Father George

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