Birr Barracks History

The barracks at Crinkill has had a long and colourful history, been built between 1809 – 1812. Initially it could house 1100 men but as time moved on and sanitation regulations were introduced, more space was allotted to each man decreasing the number of men the barracks could accommodate to around 600 at the end of the nineteen century. The barracks developed over time with the addition of a station hospital, canteen, garrison church and cemetery, gas works, sewage works, married quarters and a prison with cells.

The garrison acted as various regimental depots, perhaps the most well known being for the Leinster Regiment from 1881 until February 1922.

During the Great War there was a surge in recruitment, with some 6000 men enlisting in the barracks. It was these new men which likely resulted in the construct of the training trenches in the barracks’ training grounds, the Fourteen Acres. These trenches would help train and prepare men for their time in France and Belgium.

The barracks was handed over to the IRA in February 1922, but with the split in the army due to the Anglo-Irish agreement and the outbreak of Civil War the barracks was set alight on 14 July 1922. The burnt out ruins were subsequently demolished overtime and the training trenches were ultimately backfilled.