HEA Shared Island Funding

Our Shared Built Military Heritage: The online mapping, inventorying and recording of the Army Barracks of Ireland, 1690-1921 (OSBMH) 

Principal investigators: Dr Charles Ivar McGrath, UCD, and Dr Suzanne Forbes, The Open University 

Funded by the Government of Ireland / HEA Shared Island North-South Research Programme 2022 

Ireland has the remains of about 400 army barracks built between 1690 and 1921. While a few remain in military use in the twenty-first century in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, the story of this built heritage is largely unknown or at times simply avoided because of its association with British rule. These sites can be areas of contested historical memory, with various political perspectives leading to very different understandings of these buildings and their place in Ireland’s history and culture. This project looks to uncover the story of these barracks and to help the general public learn more about these sites and develop a new understanding and appreciation for that history and its place within Ireland’s built heritage and culture. The project will facilitate this public engagement with our built heritage through the development of an online map and inventory of all these barracks and of an app that can be used to explore some of these sites both online and in person. 

Talk at the GSIHS@50 Conference

Ivar McGrath will give a talk entitled ‘Barrack-building and settlement as evidenced from the online mapping of Ireland’s eighteenth-century army barracks’ on Saturday 30 March 2019 at the City Assembly House (Irish Georgian Society) as part of the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement. Full details of the Conference programme available at: http://irishsettlement.ie/

The Digital Mapping of Ireland’s Eighteenth-Century Barracks: The Munster Story

Dingle Historical Society presents:

The Digital Mapping of Ireland’s Eighteenth-Century Barracks: The Munster Story

A lecture by Dr Ivar McGrath, UCD School of History










Lecture venue: Dingle Benners Hotel, Main Street, Dingle

Date: Thursday, 14th July, 8.00pm

All welcome – Fáilte roimh cách – Visitors welcome

This lecture focuses upon the Munster component of a current UCD research project aimed at mapping the eighteenth-century residential army barracks in Ireland and assessing their social, economic, cultural, environmental and political impact upon the country. The commencement of the building of a countrywide network of barracks in Ireland in the late 1690s was a wholly new and innovative approach to dealing with the age-old problem of maintaining a standing army in both peace and wartime. The Irish model was to set the example for the rest of the British empire, as the utility of such residential military complexes became more apparent to both the state and the general public. As part of the project, a pilot website has been created which will be utilised during the lecture. The website is available at http://barracks18c.ucd.ie/. The lecture will look to offer some insights into the project itself, the nature of the barracks built in Munster, and the wider purpose of the website.

Ivar McGrath is a senior lecturer in the UCD School of History. The original idea for mapping the barracks of eighteenth-century Ireland emerged out a chapter on the subject in his 2012 book, Ireland and Empire, 1692-1770 (London, 2012). There may also have been a residual hangover from his previous career prior to becoming a historian, given that he spent three years serving as a private soldier in the Irish army in 1983-6, including six months with UNIFIL in 1984-5. He has published widely, including The Making of the Eighteenth-Century Irish Constitution: Government, Parliament and the Revenue, 1692-1714 (Dublin, 2000), articles in The English Historical Review, Irish Historical Studies, Parliamentary HistoryEighteenth-Century Ireland, and co-edited works as follows: Converts and Conversion in Ireland, 1650-1850 (Dublin, 2005); Money, Power and Print: Interdisciplinary Studies on the Financial Revolution in the British Isles (Newark, 2008); and People, Politics and Power: Essays on Irish History 1660-1850 in Honour of James I. McGuire (Dublin, 2009).

Historical Ballinrobe

historical ballinrobe

Ballinrobe Archaeological & Historical Society have a wonderful website entitled, Historical Ballinrobe. The website contains a wealth of information on Ballinrobe and its neighbouring towns, including old photographs, genealogical information, and historical documents.

The website has a great page on barracks in Ballinrobe written by Averil Staunton, available here. Averil was the founder of the society and is currently editor of the Historical Ballinrobe website. Her MA thesis ‘A visual history of St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo’ is also available online to download by following this link.

Click here to visit the Historical Ballinrobe website.


Major update to Barracks Map – Apr. 2015

We have recently updated the barracks map to include barracks listed in the following sources:

Relevant Year: 1784
Source ID: NLI1784
Full Reference: ‘Scheme for new quarters, May 1784′ (NLI Kilmainham Papers, Ms 1007, f. 27).

Relevant Year: 1813
Source ID: HCPP1813
Full Reference: Accounts relating to the barracks in Ireland; 1812-13 (237) VI.709.

Relevant Year: 1822
Source ID: HCPP1822
Full Reference: Barracks, Ireland. A return of the names of places where barracks and barrack establishments are kept for the army in Ireland; 1822 (291) XVIII.433.

As a result, over 100 new barracks sites have been included in the map. For the most part, the specific location of these barracks has not been pinpointed precisely on our map. If you have information that would assist us in improving the accuracy of our map, please click here to get in touch with us.

Each source we have used for the map provides details of barracks active at a particular point in time and this information is now represented on our map as a series of interactive map layers. Click here for a full list of sources used in the map or click here to explore the updated barracks map.