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Appeal for information on Old Military Barracks

AN Ennis man who has been soldiering on with the compilation of a history of the Old Military Barracks is making a final appeal for information to be included in the publication.
William Crowley has been working on the publication since 2016 and it is hoped to be complete later this summer. He has already been inundated with information, as people from all over the world have got in touch with stories about growing up in the area on the Kilrush Road.
With the book now nearing completion, William is putting out a last call to anyone who may have photographs, stories or any information they would like to see included in the publication.
“I’ve got a good bit of detail over the last few years and I’m just putting the last details together. At this stage I wanted to make a final push for those who may have been sitting on the fence about getting involved to get in touch with me. I have a great deal of information on the families etc that lived there going back to the early 1900s with photos and other items of interest. I have also been in contact with the present residents and some of them are contributing to the book too. It has been so great to see that people wanted to get involved with this and help bring the history of the Old Military Barracks to life.
“There’s been a great response from people so far, but I just want to make sure that I have as much information as I can. I’ve had people contacting me from as far away as America and the UK and one or two from Germany. It’s amazing to see how people from the Old Military Barracks left Ennis and travelled all over the world. And I’d like to acknowledge everyone who took the time to help me in putting this together.
“From working on this I’ve been amazed by the sheer number of people who actually lived in the Old Military Barracks over the years and the stories and information that I got. The feedback I’ve gotten from people has been fantastic. There have been people from the Barracks who served in World War 1, World War 2, in the airforce in Korea. My own brother was in Vietnam in the 1960s.”
William is a third generation resident of the Old Military Barracks, telling us he wanted to record the history of the area “before it is all lost.”
“All I want to do is preserve the history, because in another twenty or thirty years it will all be forgotten. I was one of the youngest in the Barracks and I’m in my late 50s now, so give it another twenty years and the history will be all gone.” He has been working with Larry Brennan of the Clare Roots Society on the publication.
William’s research has taken him back to the 1840s, when the Kilrush Road site was home to a fever hospital. The Board of Ordnance for 1855 shows the Old Military Barracks on site, with James Mahon as lease holder paying £10 10s for six months, or £21 for the year. Research of the Griffith’s Valuations also shows a militia barracks there. And in 1919 his research shows even more buildings constructed around the barracks. His research also outlines how in the 1950s the council tried to buy the barracks to put a meat processing factory there. From then a number of the original families began to move to other parts of the town with homes demolished in the mid 80s. The council began building newer houses in the area in the 90s. There are now two original houses, Corry’s and Avondale House owned by the Browne family.
Mr Crowley is appealing to anybody with any information about the Old Military Barracks to contact him before mid May. “I’m putting a bit of a cut off point at around May 15 or 16 then it will be going to Larry Brennan and Paddy and all going well we will hopefully be ready for publication in eight to ten weeks.”
He acknowledges that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may have an effect on this timeframe. “Hopefully it will be all over by then and we’ll be ready to go, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen really.”
He added that anybody who sends any photographs for inclusion in the history can be assured that they will be looked after and returned. Anybody with information, including names, photographs or stories about the Old Military Barracks can contact Mr Crowley by post at Beechpark, Ennis; email crowleyhardwoods@gmail.com or phone 087 3908664.

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