Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

The Royal Irish Constabulary
Milford Barracks
Co. Carlow

Milford Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks,
County Carlow.

The Burning of Milford R.I.C. Barracks 100 Years Ago
By Dr Shay Kinsella

Source: The Nationalist - Saturday, May 30, 2020

MANY visitors to Milford are unaware that the area once hosted its own Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks. Knowledge of the police station is now almost beyond living memory and the documentary evidence is often hard to find. However, the colloquial name used by locals for the steep road leading from Milford up to the village of Ballinabranna the ‘Barrack Hill’ preserves this chapter of local history and brings it before the minds of younger generations.

Elm House’ Milford RIC Barracks as it is today.

1837 OSi map of Milford showing location of the original RIC Barracks.

Aerial image from 1955 of the former RIC Barracks at Milford

Like so many of its counterparts, Milford Barracks remained a charred ruin for many years ‘like a box with its lid off with the sky staring through the windows’ as novelist Elizabeth Bowen described them. It was purchased by Michael Wall, manager of Clogrennane Lime Works, in 1933. The building was renovated and changed hands on a number of occasions over the succeeding decades, when it was home to the Cullen, Watchorn, Rice, and currently the Kane family.

Rechristened ‘Elm House’, the building’s distinctive circular observation tower has survived both revolutionary flames and architectural changes, albeit in a reduced single-storey version. Now a beautiful dwelling in a picturesque setting, it is hard to imagine the building’s previous incarnation. In its quiet, mature gardens, the flames of 100 years ago seem very far away indeed.

Sincere thanks to James Grogan, Séimí Murphy, Tara Rice and Deirdre Kane for much genealogical information and photographs
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The 'Whistling Incident' of 1835 was when a Sub-Constable named Bates whistled the tune of 'The Protestant Boys' as the local Parish Priest passed by Milford barracks.  Fr. Maher wrote to Col. Sir John Harvey, Inspector General of Police, who began an investigation.  Bates was heavily criticised and removed from Carlow to distant Co. Louth.

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