The video shows the event to mark the closure of the Military Barracks (more recently called Murphy Barracks) in 1998:
Below: April 2008, restored artillery piece on display at the recently developed and refurbished Barrack’s Square, Ballincollig.
4.5 Inch Howitzer Gun details and characteristics.
Below: the restored Coach House situated at the front of Ballincollig Shopping Centre on the north side of the Main Road.
From the maps, it is clear that the original Main Gate was to the east side of the Hay/Forage building. It is now situated to the west of the Hay/Forage building.
Before the shopping centre and conservation
There were many people at the Open Day, Murphy Barracks 11th January 2003 before the new shopping centre, houses and office structures were commenced at the location. Some buildings and walls have been conserved and offer a historic ambience to the village.
Door (classical portico) in original Officers’ Mess building (eastern side of barrack square).
History of the Military Barracks
The Military Barracks started as The Royal Artillery Barracks, situated about 6 miles from Cork City and half a mile south of the River Lee. The barracks were set up in the early 19th century and the origins of the barracks can be directly linked to the development of the Gunpowder Mills which were established in 1794, in Ballincollig. The soldiers provided security for the gunpowder works and armed escorts as the gunpowder was transported on wagons along the route (including Magazine Road) to Cork City and onwards to the port of Cork, from where it was exported. Some of the gunpowder was also stored on Rocky Island.
The British Board of Ordnance bought the Gunpowder Mills in 1805. Charles Wilkes became superintendant of the Gunpowder Mills and improved access by rebuilding the Inniscarra Bridge (below).
The barracks (see above) were built between 1806 and 1815 by the British Board of Ordnance. The main Barrack Square was laid out in 1811. The main Barrack Square comprised the four Barrack buildings with a spacious courtyard. There were three entrances into the barracks: the East Gate, the Main Gate and the West Gate. The East Gate led down the hill to the Gunpowder Mills and each entrance was guarded by a sentry.
By 1837, the barracks comprised accommodation for eight officers and over two hundred non-commissioned officers and men. At that time, the barracks were not only used for securing the gunpowder but as a rest station for troops returning from overseas and the preparation of troops going abroad. Later married quarters were added and accommodated sixty eight families.
The Officers Mess, the Officers Stables and the Carriage (Coach) Store were built between 1875 and 1922. The Carriage Store was constructed in 1890 and is a single storey limestone building at the roadside (now in front of the shopping centre). The Officers Mess (see below) was a two storey building and the Officers Stables had a central courtyard.
The Officers’ Mess The effective area of the mills and barracks was expanded in 1806-1815 and the 431 acres approx. were enclosed by the high limestone walls which for a long time formed an imposing boundary to the north side of the main street of Ballincollig village.
The barracks housed garrisons during the First World War and War of Independence. The British Army moved out in 1922 when the Irish State was founded. The Irish Army re-opened the barracks as Murphy Barracks in the 1940s. Murphy Barracks and its Irish soldiers remained in the town until 1998 when the soldiers were moved out and the barracks finally closed.
Developers moved in, in 2003 and the area has been completely changed. Several buildings have been recognized by Cork County Council as having significant heritage merit as per its 2003 County Development Plan. These structures are being restored and conserved under the supervision of Colin Rynne, UCC, Christopher Southgate, Conservation Architect and the Cork County Council.
Ballincollig Military Cemetery
In 1813, the British Military Cemetery was opened and it continued to function until 1922, when the British Army left the Barracks. The cemetery was situated in the Barracks, about a quarter of a mile from the main buildings. “The Barracks had its own Church of Ireland Chaplain and Church. The Chaplain kept the normal church records – baptisms and burials – but marriages were performed in the parish church, St. Peter’s Church, Carrigrohane” quoted from The Ballincollig Community School Journal
Here is a link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage for Ballincollig Military Cemetery
Here is another link to a website which has also details of Military headstones including some which are in the Ballincollig Military Cemetery. See War Graves Photographic Project
Timeline of Local Efforts with regard to Ballincollig Military Cemetery from 1995 to 2011
1995: Richard Henchion and Leslie Rice transcribed the headstones of the Ballincollig Military Cemetery.
1999: A voluntary Ballincollig community project set out to rescue what was by then, a hidden, overgrown and neglected military cemetery. Comdt Mick Hartnett, of the Muskerry History Society and Anne Donaldson of the Ballincollig Enterprise Board added substantially to research of the cemetery. Anne collected burial records from the burial registers then held at Carrigrohane in St. Peter’s Church. These registers are now in the Representative Church Body Library, Dublin.
2003: Anne Donaldson wrote a book entitled “British Military Graveyard, 1810 to 1922” published in 2003.
2005 BBC News Report on the British Military Cemetery in Ballincollig.
2010: There was an article in the Cork Independent newspaper: A Soldier’s Grave in which Anne Donaldson’s book and some of the family histories she has gathered over the years, feature.
2011: The Military Cemetery is closed and under the control of the Office of Public Works (OPW). The phone number for the OPW in Cork is 021-496 6200
2011: Burial records for this cemetery placed on the internet (see below). Also photos of the headstones and transcriptions added to this blog.
Anne Donaldson, who has had a lifelong interest in local history was alerted to the possible loss of records from The British Military Burying Ground at Ballincollig. With the support of the local community and The Heritage Council of Ireland, she researched and produced the book: British Military Graveyard, 1810-1922: Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland. This was received with a surprising enthusiasm from all over the world. Anne would like to thank everyone for their interest and support. Anne later co-authored a book on the Ballincollig Royal Gunpowder Mills which co-existed with the military presence in the town.
Anne is at present evaluating the possibility of compiling a comprehensive list of all the men who served in Ballincollig and perhaps erecting an official wall plaque in Ballincollig. As it’s probably in the thousands and the records are in the UK mainly, it will depend on generous people donating information from their own records. If you wish to support this project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a link to the Ballincollig Military Cemetery burial records and notes which Anne Donaldson collected during her extensive research for the book on the military cemetery.
Gate into Military Cemetery
Military Cemetery and historic photo of a funeral procession, going to the Military Cemetery, Ballincollig
Sandes Soldiers’ Home
There was a Sandes Soldiers’ Home associated with the Military Barracks until it was burned down in 1922. Here is a photo of it:
Photo courtesy of Healy’s Bar, East Gate, Ballincollig. The entrance is probably the East Gate.
Photo courtesy of Con Hurley, Barber, Main St., Ballincollig.
Also see the article entitled “Elise, the Angel of Irish Soldiers”, written by Bryan MacMahon in the “Holly Bough”, Christmas 2010.
This webpage was compiled by Margaret & Randy Jordan 2006 with Military Regiment List added courtesy of Rod Mac Conaill 2007, updated 2008 & 2011 by M. Jordan