Continuing our walk from last week, along the boundary walls of the old military barracks, we come to one of two entrances. Nowadays, they lead us into a large green area with a children’s playground and picnic tables dotted around the perimeter.
The walls enclose a pretty large community park with exercise equipment positioned at various intervals. I can imagine the sound of soldiers footsteps stomping up the stone steps in this next image.
If we walk across the grass to a higher level we can see the rear of one of the original houses that is still lived in. I think this may have been the field officer’s residence. The second entrance gate that leads onto Barrack Hill is on the bottom right of the photo below.
Here’s a closer look. On a sunny day it’s a lovely place to sit and soak up some rays.
Next we have some more exercise equipment which can be difficult to use depending on how much you weigh. You lift your own weight when you push out those bars.
Of course, back in the old days you could get a similar workout while performing a necessary task. This old pump would have been used a lot, I imagine.
On the exterior of these walls are narrow slits which I presume were for pointing rifles through. I wonder if the stone jutting out from some of them was for resting weapons on, although it looks like it’s for drainage now as the earth is banked up much higher on the other side.
I bet a fair amount of potatoes were used daily to feed so many men and this horse drawn digger was probably how they were harvested.
There’s a print of an old postcard of the barracks on one of the walls. You can see from it just how little of the original buildings remain but most of the boundary wall is still there.
The next photograph appears to have been taken from across the river. I can’t believe how wide it was back then and how close it was to the barrack’s wall.
The occupants of the barracks weren’t always armed with rifles. Other weapons would have been used, too. The history of this place goes way back.
Around 1660 the first military barracks was built in Belturbet on the opposite side of the river. There is still a building on that site, Riverdale House, which is now a family residence. Some of the older houses on that side of town were originally built for soldiers. In 1753 a larger cavalry barracks was constructed, the one we have been exploring over the past two blog posts. It was occupied up to the 1900’s. The sword in the image above was found in a row of houses known as The Lawn. They were built to accommodate officers from the barracks. An internal door connected the houses to each other allowing an escape route in case of attack. It’s said that a long tunnel led to the barracks but I don’t know where that is now.
In time, the barracks housed both cavalry and infantry and in later years it served as an artillery barracks. From what I could find out, it was built to accommodate 1 field officer, 6 officers, 156 NCOs and privates and 101 horses. However in December 1837 there were only 3 officers, no field officer, 40 NCOs and privates and 41 horses.
Thanks so much for walking the wall with me on this week’s Thursday Doors, if you carry on over to Dan’s blog (our new host) you’ll find some interesting locations to explore.