5btback.jpg (1906 bytes) 5bthome.jpg (1922 bytes)

British Military Barracks in Co. Cork

Michael Cronin 


In the British army the construction and maintenance of barrack buildings was the responsibility of the Board of Ordnance which had a reputation of being slow to act especially if that action might improve conditions for the common soldier. Accommodation for the rank and file was overcrowded, unsanitary, and squalid (up to six wives per 100 infantrymen were also permitted to live in the barracks). Conditions were slightly improved by the sanitation committee which was established following the Crimean war but no significant changes took place until the barrack building programme of the 1890s.

In the 1830s county Cork was part of the Southern Military District. There were 16 military stations providing, in total, accommodation for 352 officers and 6799 men. Given the overcrowding problems it is likely these figures were significantly exceeded. The barracks were for the most part populated by regular army regiments (the majority were English) which were changed often. During the Victorian period 20,000-30,000 regular soldiers were deployed in Ireland at any one time for the "maintenance of civil order".

The following were the permanent barracks in county Cork:

Ballincollig: This was the principal artillery depot for the county. The barracks had accommodation for 18 officers and 242 men, also included was a hospital, church and school. There were facilities for eight field batteries but normally only one (95 men and 44 horses) was stationed there. There was also a privately owned gunpowder works (which employed 200 people and produced 16,000 barrels of gunpowder per year) and the principal police training facility for the province of Munster.

Buttevant Barracks covering 23 acres.

Charles Fort. see Kinsale

Clonakilty: Infantry Barracks with accommodation for four officers and 68 men.

Fermoy:  By the 1830s this was the principal military depot for the county. In 1791 Mr. John Anderson purchased two thirds of the manor and when, in 1797, the army was looking to establish a new and permanent base Anderson gifted them the land as an inducement to locate in Fermoy. Anderson and the whole town received considerable economic benefit from that gift. In 1806 the first permanent barracks, the East Barracks, were built. They were located on 16 acres of land and provided accommodation for 112 officers and 1478 men of infantry, and 24 officers, 120 men, and 112 horses of cavalry. A general military hospital of 130 beds was also built. In 1809 the smaller West Barracks were built which also included a 42 bed hospital. When both barracks were complete there was accommodation for 14 field officers, 169 officers, 2816 men, and 152 horses. The town of Fermoy expanded around these facilities and retained its British military facilities until 1922.

Kinsale: Charles Fort, on the east side of Kinsale Harbour, was a coast defence fort with accommodation for 16 officers and 332 men.

Mallow: Prior to the construction of the barracks in Fermoy this was the principal military depot for the county but after 1806 the size of the military establishment was reduced. By the 1830s there was an infantry barracks with accommodation for seven officers and 103 men.

Millstreet: Infantry Barracks with accommodation for six officers and 100 men.
Mitchelstown: Infantry barracks with accommodation for three officers and 72 men.
Skibbereen: A small infantry barracks.
Youghal: Infantry barracks with accommodation for six officers and 180 men.

Cork Harbour: This area had great strategic importance to the British military, during the various wars against the French it had become a major supply port for both the navy and army. The principal town in the area was Cove (renamed Queenstown in 1849 and Cobh in 1922) as recently as 1786 Cove was a small fishing village but following the French revolution and the subsequent wars the town grew rapidly in order to support the greatly increased military presence.

The following were all located in and around Cork Harbour;

Camden Fort: Fortification on the west side of the harbour entrance

Carlisle Fort: Fortification on the east side of the harbour entrance.

Haulbowline (or Haulbowling) Island: Located only a mile from the centre of Cove, It had been occupied by the military for many years and was fortified in 1602. A permanent garrison was established there in the 1690 but in 1806, when it was decided to shift the army to Spike Island, it was appropriated to the Admiralty and Ordnance. On the eastern half of the island the Admiralty established the only naval arsenal in Ireland (large enough to supply the entire navy for one year). The west of the island was used as an ordnance depot which was closely associated with Rocky Island. In 1869 Haulbowline was upgraded to a naval dockyard (a major industrial facility for the repair and maintenance of ships) and continued to be used as such by the Irish government after 1922. At its peak in 1918 it employed over 1000 shipyard workers.

Spike Island: In 1811 the then sparsely inhabited island was selected as the site for the ordnance depot for southern Ireland. A large artillery barracks was constructed in the centre of the island which was equipped ‘bomb proof’ accommodation and a military hospital. These barracks were often used by troops about to embark for overseas service. In later years a prison was also established there.

Rocky Island: A small island near Haulbowline, honeycombed with tunnels and used as a massive gunpowder magazine (25,000 barrels), it was designed to supply the whole of Ireland and an army detachment of one officer and 30 men was assigned to operate it.

Samuel Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (London: 1837. Reprinted; Baltimore:

5l.jpg (3274 bytes)

The History of the County and City of Cork by Rev. C.B. Gibson, M.R.I.A., vol.  II.  pub. Thomas C. Newby, London, 1861.

The following is the names of the Protestants, with the date of their enrolment, who volunteered for militia and volunteer corps in support of the king in 1778, and to oppose the Society of United Irishmen. The cavalry consisted of one troop each:


TRUEBLUE OF CORK. Enrolled 1745. Uniform: blue, laced silver, epaulets, white buttons. Furniture: goat-skin. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Richard Earl of Shannon, and Captain Shaw.

MITCHELSTOWN LIGHT DRAGOONS. Enrolled 1774. Uniform:     scarlet, faced black, silver, epaulets, yellow helmets, white buttons. Furniture: goat-skin, edged
black. Officers in 1782 - Colonel Viscount Kingsborough; Lieut.-Colonel, Henry Cole Bowen; Major, James Badham Thornhill; Captain, Harmer Spratt; Lieutenant William Raymond; Cornet, William Alsop; Chaplain, Thomas Bush;Surgeon, David Fitzgerald; Secretary, John Ryan.

BLACKPOOL HORSE. Enrolled 1776. Uniform: green, laced gold, ditto epaulets,
buff waistcoats and breeches. Furniture, goat skin. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, John Harding; Lieut.-Colonel, Thos. Barry; Major, William Alexander; Lieutenant, Bradshaw Popham; Chaplain, Arthur Hyde; Surgeon, Richard Maguire.

YOUGHAL CAVALRY. Enrolled 1776. Uniform: scarlet, faced white. Officers in
1782 - Captain commanding, Robert Ball; Lieutenant, John Smith; Chaplain, Hon. Robert Moore; Secretary, John Segwick.

BANDON CAVALRY. Enrolled 1778. Uniform: dark olive, green jacket, half lapelled, crimson velvet cuffs and collar, silver epaulets. Furniture: white cloth, hoseing and holster caps, embroidered. Device, B. C. harp and crown. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Sampson Stawell; Major, John Moore Travers; Captains, Robert Waterhouse, Simon T. Davies; Cornet, Charles Bernard; Chaplain, Charles Hewitt.

MUSKERRY BLUE, L.D. Enrolled 1778. Uniform: blue, lapelled, edged white, silver epaulets, white jackets, edged blue. Furniture: goat-skin. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Robert Warren; Lieut.-Colonel, Robert Hutchinson; Major; Samuel Sweete; Lieutenant, Thomas Coppinger; Chaplain, Edward Kenny; Adjutant, Thomas Coppinger; Surgeon, Richard Grey; Quarter-master, John Spread; Secretary, James d'Altera

DUHALLOW RANGERS. Enrolled 1778. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Hon. Charles Percival; Lieut.-Colonel, William Wrixon; Major, Robert Wrixon; Captain,
George Crofts; Cornet, James Purcell; Chaplain, Arthur Kiely; Secretary, William Dore.

IMOKILLY HORSE. Enrolled 1778. Uniform: scarlet, faced black, yellow
buttons, gold epaulets, yellow helmets, white jackets, edged red. Furniture: goatskin, trimmed red. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Edward Roche; Lieut.-Colonel, Robert M 'Carthy; Captain, Robert Ball; Comet, John Fitzgerald; Chaplain, Jeremiah Heart; Surgeon, John Nagle, M.D.; Secretary, William Garde.

KILWORTH L.D.. Enrolled 1779. Uniform: scarlet faced green, gold epaulets,
yellow buttons, and helmets. Furniture: goat-skin, trimmed green. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Stephen, Earl of Mountcashel; Lieut.-Col. Arthur Hyde; Major, John Hyde; Captain, William Newenham; Lieutenant, Thomas Power; Cornet, Garret Wall; Chaplain, Hon. Robert Moore; Surgeon, John Pigott, M.D.; Adjutant and Secretary, Richard Whitford.

IMOKILLY BLUE HORSE. Enrolled 1779. Uniform: blue, faced red. Officers in
1782 - Colonel, Robert Uniack Fitzgerald; Major, Thomas Fitzgerald; Captain, - Travers; Lieutenant, - Uniack; Chaplain, Edward Hardwood; Secretary, John Hanning.

DONERAILE RANGERS. Enrolled 1779. Uniform: scarlet, faced green, edged
white, gold epaulets, yellow buttons and helmets, green jackets, faced red. Furniture: goat-skin. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, Sentleger Lord Doneraile; Major, Hon. Hayes Sentleger; Captain, Nicholas Green Evans; Lieutenant, John Watkins; Cornet, Nicholas Green Evans, Jun.; Chaplain, Hon. James Sentleger; Surgeon, John Creagh, M.D.; Adjutant, Robert Atkins; Secretary, James Hennessy.

GLANMIRE UNION Enrolled 1779. Uniform: deep green, faced black. Furniture: goat-skin, trimmed green. Officers in 1779 - Colonel, Henry Mannix; Captain, Simon Dring; Cornet, Dean Hoare; Chaplain, Archdeacon Corker; Surgeon, James Bennet, M.D.; Secretary, Rev. Chambre Corker.

CORK CAVALRY, Uniform: scarlet, faced blue, silver laced; silver epaulets, white buttons. Furniture: blue cloth, laced gold. Officers in l782 - Colonel, William Chetwynd; Major, John Gillman; Captain, John Smith; Cornet, Paul Piersy; Surgeon, Thomas Harris; Secretary, John Smith.

MALLOW CAVALRY. Enrolled 1782. Uniform: green jackets. Officer in 1782 - Colonel Cotter.

GREAT ISLAND CAVALRY. Enrolled 1782. Uniform: scarlet, faced green; gold
epaulets, yellow buttons, white jackets edged red. Furniture, goat-skin. Officers in 1782 - Captain, Wallis Colthurst; Lieutenant, William Colthurst; Cornet, Henry Widenham; Adjutant, Rickard Donovan; Surgeon, Patrick Fitzgerald; Secretary, John Roche.

5l.jpg (3274 bytes)


In The History of the County and City of Cork by Rev. C.B. Gibson, M.R.I.A., vol II (of 2), pub. Thomas C. Newby, London, 1861,

Extracted are the Protestants who raised troops into militia and volunteer corps in support of the king in 1778, and to oppose the Society of United Irishmen.

We the undernamed subscribers; do agree to associate ourselves for the purpose of preserving the peace of this city and the property the inhabitants thereof: Cork
26th march, 1778

it was signed by:

Wo(u)lfe and names known to related through marriage are highlighted.

Adams, Roger Allen, Christ. Allen, Aylmr. Allen, Christ.
Archer, George Atkins, R.S.L. Austen, Sampson Bagnell, Mathew
Baker, P. Cossart Baker, Jas. Morrison, Baron, John Ths. Beamish, Richd.
Bennett, James MD, & Joseph Benson, Thos. Benson, Paul Besnard, Julius
Boles, Thoms Boles, Thos Boyce, James Brown, Mat.
Browne, Thoms. Busteed, Fran. Busteed, Michl. Carleton, Jno
Carr, James Chatterton, Tho. Clear, Richard Cochrane, Thos.
Cogan, Fitamaur. Cole, John Cole, John Connor, John
Coppinger, T.H. Corker, John Cossart, Peter Cotter, William
Crawford, Jacob Crowly, Humph. Cuthbert, John Cuthbert, Henry
Daly, Edward Davies, Robert Denroche, Chas. Digby, John
Digby, Wm. Dorman, Fras. Dorman, Thomas Egan, Peter
Foreman, Luke French, Savage Gillman, J. St. L. Gonnell,Thomas.
Gray, Frans. Hamilton, Hen. Hardaway Moore Harding, Thomas
Harman, Joseph Harrington, Wm. Harris, Richd. Herrick, Jasper
Hoare, Edw Hopkins, John Hughes, Timothy Hutchins, Michl.
Hyald, Peter Ingram, James Jameson, Ewd. Jervis, Sampson
Jervois, Saml. Johnson, Vall. Johnson, Nobl. Kellett, Nicholas
Kennedy, Wm. Kift, Thomas Kingston, George & James Lane, Tym.
Langley, Bog. Q. Lapp,  John jun. Lawton, Richard Lawton, Christ.
Leahy, Henry Lee, James Leslie, Chas Leycester, W.
Lucas, Jasper Mahony, Michl. Mannix, Will Maylor, Samuel
Mellifont, Gilbert Mellifont,  D. jr. Millards, Hugh Morrison, Rowl.
Morrison,  Jas jr. Murry, Jno. Jas. Newsom, Sol. Norcott, Wm.
Oates, Jos. Oates, Jo. Orpen, J. Herbert Patterson, Robert
Peacocke, Marn. Peddy, John Perry, Richd. Piercy, Paul
Piersy, Jeffry Power, Thomas Radcliffe, Willm. Rashleigh, Jasper
Raynes, James Raynes, James Reynolds, Wm. Robinson, James
Rogers, Joseph Rogers, Noblett Ronand, John Ruddock, J. Gray
Sadler, James Saunders, Wm. Seymour, Geo. Saunders, Wm.
Shaw, John Sheares, Henry Shewcraft, Hu. Smith, Thoms.
Smith, James Smyth, Great Snowe, John Spiller, Ferdinand
Stawell, Robt. Sweeds.Jams. Sweeney, Edward Terry, John
Thompson, John Townsend, Richd. Travers, Jno. Townsend, Richd.
Wagget, Thoms. Waggett, Christ. Wallis, J. Warren, Will.
Warren, Aug, Westropp, M. R. White, Thos. Whiteston, Ben.
Wilcocks, Will. Wilcocks, Chas. Wilmot, E.W. Woulfe, John



5l.jpg (3274 bytes)



COPYRIGHT: The contents of this home page are
copyright by Data Tree Publishing


5btset~1.jpg (3990 bytes)

Last updated 1 April 2004