Report - - Magee Barracks, Kildare, Ireland, January 2020 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Magee Barracks, Kildare, Ireland, January 2020


28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
The artillery barracks in Kildare town date back to 1900. They were built on the site of the Lock Hospital. The construction crew of 65 carpenters and joiners and 26 plasters and painters took just over a year to construct them. The first military units stationed in the barracks were the 31st and 33rd Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery, consisting of five batteries of artillery, all of which served in the First World War.

Later, following the war of Independence and signing of the treaty, the British made plans to vacate the barracks. However, on 10th February 1922, a few weeks before they were due to vacate the barracks, Lieutenant John Wogan-Browne was shot in the head and died after three men in a car robbed him of the regimental pay while returning from the nearby Hibernian bank (only £135 back then but about £28,000 in today's money). Bizarrely, the three men, who were all local, were arrested for the murder but were released a few months later. When the barracks were handed over, they were selected as the site for the training of the new Civic Police and 800 men were sent to the new Civic Police headquarters on 25th April 1922. Within a week of arrival, the civic police were attacked by anti-treaty forces and soldiers had to be stationed on the gate to protect the barracks.

On 20th March 1925, the Irish Artillery Corps, made up of 5 officers, 18 NCOs and 93 gunners (116 in total) replaced the British forces along with a cast of supporting forces numbering forty including cooks, drivers, a farrier and smiths. Each battery had four 18 pounder guns and with two batteries of artillery they required a regulation 125 horses, the farrier and his smiths would have been in much demand. The Artillery Corps carried out their first shoot in the Glen of Imaal in September 1925 with the men having to haul the guns over Table Top mountain.

In 1938 a new barracks was built and represented one of the first military barracks to be built by the newly independent Irish Free State. They were named after Gunner James Magee, formerly of the Mayo Militia. He was famous for switching sides and raising the green flag of Irish at the Battle of Ballinamuck in September 1798. Magee was later captured and executed by the British forces. A year later in March 1939, most of the horses were sold at public auction in Dublin as the Artillery Corps switched to mechanized artillery. Ironically the Corps never saw active combat.

Magee Barracks shortly before closer, back in 1996:

With the reorganisation the army in the 1990s, the days of Kildare Barracks were finally numbered, and the barracks finally closed in 1998. They later severed as a home for Kosovan refugees and asylum seekers for a couple of years but were then abandoned shortly afterwards. The site sold for no less than €8.2 million in February 2016. Not bad for the 51.4-acre site which had an initial guide price of just €2 million. In November 2019 Ballymount Properties were granted planning permission for 375 homes and a proton treatment cancer clinic for the former Magee Barracks, having been previously knocked back in July 2018. Construction work expected to get underway in first half of this year (2020).

2. The Explore
On the way back to Dublin from the south coast, we decided to break our journey and overnight in Portarlington. A quick search turned up Magee barracks so early doors the next morning I drove the short distance over there. The place is due to get demo’ed so didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. Parked up in Lidl car park and started checking the perimeter fence. Most of it is palisaded but with such a long perimeter there was always going to be a spot where the nut and bolt has fallen off one of the slats and so it proved to be the case. Once in it was a relaxed explore. It’s a very big, low-slung and pretty trashed site. And like all barracks there was a lot of repetition in the architecture. Despite that, there was still enough to hold your attention for a good hour plus the deco style was also quite interesting. Overall a nice way to finish off my holiday in Ireland.

3. The Pictures

We’re in!

The only bit of half decent graff I saw:

B Block:

In we go:

Toilet block:

In need of re-tiling:

Stripped bare:

Lotsa decay in here:

And here:

Obligatory knob graff:

Side of B Block:

C Block:

A Block!

More toilets!

Back of A Block:

Down the left-hand side of the parade ground:

Let’s not forget D Block:



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
They really have wrecked that place now, I must look out mine. We found an old saab control unit thingy and loads of ammo boxes and cases dumped in one corner of the yard. All long gone now.

Nice to see its still standing, nice job.

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