Wexford’s Civil War: A gazetteer of the damaged R.I.C. barracks and civic buildings

Map showing location of damaged buildings

During the course of the Civil War in Wexford a total of 16 government/civic buildings were attacked and damaged by the anti-Treaty IRA. These included 11 former Royal Irish Constabulary barracks, two Courthouses, a Coastguard station, a Military fort and the County Council offices. The majority of these attacks occurred in July 1922, when the anti-Treaty IRA abandoned the main urban centres to concentrate on fighting a guerrilla war. As they did so they burned and destroyed a number of buildings to prevent them being used as bases by the Free State army. The structures damaged in early July 1922 include the former R.I.C. barracks in Gorey, Ferns, Enniscorthy, Bunclody, Oulart and Coolgreaney, while a coast guard station at Courtown was also burned along with the military base at Duncannon fort. The courthouses in Enniscorthy and Gorey were likewise set ablaze and were very badly damaged. Later in the year, during the insurgent phase of fighting, further attacks were carried by the anti-Treaty IRA on former R.I.C. barrack buildings in Wellingtonbridge, Foulksmills, Duncormick and Taghmon.

 Some of these structures were totally destroyed and were never used again. These include the R.I.C. barracks on Main Street, Gorey, the barracks in Oulart, the barracks in Taghmon and the barracks in Ferns, all of which were subsequently demolished and, in some instances, replaced with new Garda stations. The County Council Offices in Wexford town were also attacked by armed men in December 1922. They attempted to set the building on fire using petrol, but the Free State army arrived on the scene shortly afterwards and managed to extinguish the flames before any serious damage occurred.

Gazetteer of destroyed/damaged barrack buildings and courthouses

1.            Enniscorthy R.I.C. Barracks 

Photo showing the old RIC barracks on Abbey Square, Enniscorthy (National Library of Ireland collections)

Details: The old R.I.C. barracks in Abbey Square, Enniscorthy was briefly occupied by the Free State army in July 1922. It was then captured by the anti-Treaty IRA who badly damaged the building on the 7th of July 1922. The interior and roof were wrecked and explosives may have been used (source: The Free Press). Later used as Garda station and subsequently demolished.  Now the site of a car park.

2.            Taghmon R.I.C. Barracks

Photo: The building which replaced the old R.I.C. barracks in Taghmon  (Google Street View)

Details: The R.I.C. barracks in Taghmon was burned by armed men on the 14th of August 1922 (source: Compensation File:  FIN/COMP/2/25/341) and also ‘destroyed’ in February 1923 (source Compensation File FIN/COMP/2/25/600). The building was subsequently demolished.                

3.            R.I.C. Barracks on Main Street, Gorey

Photo: Site of the destroyed R.I.C. barracks on Gorey Main Street, now a Garda station (Google Street View)

Details: The R.I.C barracks on Main Street, Gorey was burned down by the anti-Treaty IRA in July 1922 (source: The Free Press newspaper) and was subsequently demolished. A new Garda station was built on the site in 1932 (this still stands).

 4.           Courtown Coastguard Station

Photo: This terrace of buildings represents the destroyed Courtown coast guard station (National Library of Ireland collections)

Details: Courtown coastguard station was burned down by the anti-Treaty IRA in early July 1922 (source: The Free Press Newspaper). The station occupied a terrace of houses, which were originally used to house the coastguards and their families. During the War of Independence it had also been used to house a detachment of ‘ Black and Tans’. The buildings no longer exist. 

5.            Coolgreany R.I.C. Barracks

Photo: The old R.I.C. barracks in Coolgreaney (Google Street View)

Details: A house known as ‘Ram’s Mansion’ was destroyed by fire at Coolgreaney, County Wexford on the 13th of July 1922. File states the building was used as a Police Barracks; Outhouses were also torn down at the site between the 1st and 20th of March 1923 (source: Compensation Files FIN/COMP/2/25/120). The building was repaired in 1925 and is still standing (source: Buildings of Ireland).

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage Number: 15700305

6.            Gorey Courthouse 

Photo: The rebuilt Gorey courthouse (Google Street View)

Details: The courthouse in Gorey was burned down by the anti-Treaty IRA in early July 1922 (source: The Free Press). It was subsequently rebuilt and reused.

7.            Duncannon fort

Photo: The burned out ruins of Duncannon fort in 1933

Details: At the start of the Civil WarDuncannon fort was held by the anti-Treaty IRA. However, they quickly abandoned it and as they withdrew, all the buildings inside were torched. It was then left in a ruinous state until the start of War II, when the fort was re-occupied and repaired by the Irish army.

8.            Bunclody R.I.C Barracks

Photo: Bunclody R.I.C. barracks

Details: The old R.I.C. barracks in Bunclody was partially demolished by the anti-Treaty IRA in July 1922 (source: Compensation Files FIN/COMP/2/25/465). However, it was quickly repaired and the Free State army used it as a barracks. It was attacked twice in September 1922 and once in November 1922 (source: The Free Press). The building was subsequently used as a Garda station. The structure is still standing and in relatively good condition. Some possible bullet holes and bullet hole repairs are visible in the front wall. 

9.            Ferns R.I.C. barracks

Details: The old R.I.C. barracks in Ferns was burned down by the anti-Treaty IRA in July 1922 (The Free Press). ‘Dwelling house (R.I.C. barracks) damaged then destroyed at Castlelands, Ferns due to occupation by National Army forces and subsequently destroyed by Irregular forces between 2 and 6 July 1922′ (source: The Compensation files FIN/COMP/2/25/543). The owner/landlord, Mr William Denby, put in a claim of £360 for damages (source: The Free Press). The building was subsequently demolished and the location is now used as carpark for the catholic church in Ferns.

10.          Enniscorthy Courthouse

Photo: The rebuilt Enniscorthy courthouse

Details: The courthouse was used as an anti-Treaty IRA base during the fighting of July 2nd to 7th 1922. It was set on fire at 1pm on Friday July the 7th, when the IRA withdrew from Enniscorthy  (source: The Free Press). The southern end of the building totally collapsed, while the northern remained largely standing (source: ibid). It was repaired at a later date and still stands.

11.          Duncormick Barracks

Photo: The old R.I.C. barracks in Duncormick (Google Street View)

Details: Premises used by the Civic Guard ‘wrecked’ at Duncormick, County Wexford by armed men on the 22nd November 1922 (source: Compensation Files: FIN/COMP/2/25/657). The building is still standing but is now unused.

12.          Wellingtonbridge Barracks 

Photo: Late 19th century photo of Wellingtonbridge R.I.C. barracks (after County Wexford in the Rare Oul’ Times, Vol. I)

Details: The police barracks at Wellingtonbridge (built 1863) was burned down by the anti-Treaty IRA on the  6th of September 1922  (source: Compensation Files: FIN/COMP/2/25/199). It was repaired after the Civil War and is now used as a domestic residence.

13.          R.I.C. Barracks Gorey Corporation Lands

Details: This R.I.C. barracks was set on fire by the anti-Treaty IRA in early July 1922 (source: The Free Press). It was one of two R.I.C. barracks in Gorey town. The building was recently demolished for a car park.

14.          Foulksmills R.I.C. Barracks

Photo: Foulksmills R.I.C. barracks (Google Street View)

Details: The R.I.C. barracks at Foulksmills (built 1860), County Wexford was burned down by unknown men on the 23rd of August 1922 (source: Compensation Files: FIN/COMP/2/25/199 . It was also attacked during the War of Independence. The building was repaired after the Civil War and it is now used as a domestic residence.

15.          Oulart R.I.C. Barracks

Photo: Site of the R.I.C. barracks in Oulart, it was replaced by a new garda station

Details: Oulart R.I.C. barracks was burned down in July 1922 (The Free Press) and it was subsequently demolished. In 1925 work started on a new Garda station at the site and this was opened in 1927 (this building still stands).

16.          Wexford County Hall/Gaol/Courthouse

Old photo of Wexford County Hall

Details: The front of the complex was partially burned  by five armed men on 23rd of November 1922. The Free state army managed to control the blaze and the structure was saved (source: The Free Press).  The building is still standing and up until recently it formed part of Wexford County Council’s offices.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: