An Ennis man who has been researching the history of an old military barracks in Ennis hopes to complete the four-year project this summer.
William Crowley, who has been working on the book since 2016, has received information and stories from across the world about the Old Military Barracks on the Kilrush Road in Ennis.
William’s book is almost completed however he would still like to hear from anyone who has any old stories, photographs or information about the historic building.
William Crowley said: “I wanted to have a history of the Barracks so that future generations could have it. I was born in the old Military Barracks May 9 1957 the youngest of the Crowley family .
Growing up in the Barracks was quite different to anywhere else in Ennis and we had a massive big playground within the walls . We had our own sports field, our very own handball alley but most of all we had very good neighbours and I thank all of the people that have already contributed to the book.”
William outlined some of the history of the Old Military Barracks.
The original Barracks, according to ‘Valuations of Tenements – Parish of Drumcliffe Ennis Page 143) listed as Number 62 by Board of Ordnance, has a James Mahon as Owner of Militia Barracks and yard at fee of £10 Pounds and 10 Shillings.
“I came across an Old Ordnance map which dates around 1834 before the Famine the site is listed as a Fever Hospital. This was closed as a Fever hospital in 1850 as the dreaded Typhus, Cholera and other diseases abated. In 1850 the Fever Hospital became an Auxiliary Workhouse for Ennis Poor law Union.
In 1855 the militia Authorities took possession of the fever Hospital and it became their Headquarters. Around 1834 the Old Dispensary and Brick Lodge were added to the Barracks. They were originally built as Horse Stables but converted to Officers Lodges.”
William continued: “Around 1921, when the Irish Free State was formed, the Militia left the Old Military Barracks and it became in Part Dwelling Houses for Ennis families. I have a list of Records of Baptismal for original residents.
“From working on this book I’ve been amazed by the number of people who actually lived in the Old Military Barracks over the years and the stories and information that I got from them. 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,” he added.
“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,” William said.
He has thanks number poeple who have helped with the project including Larry Brennan of the Clare Roots Society on the publication.
Mr Crowley is also assuring anybody who sends any photographs for inclusion in the book that they will be looked after and returned.
Anyone with information, including names, photographs or stories about the Old Military Barracks can contact him by post at: William Crowley Beechpark, Ennis or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.