Artillery in Ireland: Glen of Imaal, Kilbride, Charles Fort - Kinsale, Limerick, Millmount, Old Bridge, Ringaskiddy, Ross Castle, Rosses Point, Rosslare Harbour, Strandhill, Templemore, Tralee, Tramore, Trim Castle, and Youghal Battery

Artillery preserved in Ireland,

Glen of Imaal, Kilbride, Charles Fort - Kinsale, Limerick, Millmount, Old Bridge, Ringaskiddy, Ross Castle, Rosses Point, Rosslare Harbour, Strandhill, Templemore, Tralee, Tramore, Trim Castle, and Youghal Battery

The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document every historical piece of artillery preserved in Ireland.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these guns to provide and update the data found on these web pages.  Photos are by the author unless otherwise credited.  Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Guns and Artillery in Ireland would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com.

The Artillery Corps (An Cór Airtléire), initially founded in 1924, is the artillery branch of the Irish Army.  The Corps is charged with providing fire support to other sections of the Army.  Since the Second World War, the Artillery Corps has been organised into separate Coastal Defence, Field Artillery and Air Defence Regiments.  In the late 20th century, the Coastal Defence component was dissolved and integrated with the Field Artillery component.  In 2013 the Air Defence regiment also ceased to operate as a separate component, and the Field Artillery regiments, known as Brigade Artillery Regiments, took over the Air Defence role.

Today the Artillery Corps comprises the Artillery School, located in the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) in Curragh Camp, and two Brigade Artillery Regiments (one for each of the two Brigades of the army), located in Collins Barracks, Cork (1 BAR) and Custume Barracks, Athlone (2 BAR).

Glen of Imaal, County Wicklow, Ireland

(Colin Stone Photos)

Ordnance QF 25-pounder field guns.  Ex-7 FAR.  (Colin Stone Photos)

The Glen of Imaal Disaster, 1941

During 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, the Defence Forces 1 Anti-Aircraft Battery was expanded to an Anti-Aircraft Brigade.  This particular Brigade consisted of two Medium Batteries, two Light Batteries and a Searchlight Battery with the Brigade Headquarters garrisoned in Portobello Barracks, Dublin.  In 1940, the formation was designated as the 1 Anti-Aircraft Battalion.

In June 1941, some of the Battalion’s personnel, garrisoned in Kildare Barracks (renamed Magee Barracks in 1952), were assigned to the newly established 12 pdr Battery.  As with many units at the time, this Battery also trained in mines and explosives.

On 16 September 1941, fifteen personnel drawn from this Battery and the Depot and School Artillery Corps, (three Lieutenants, one Battery-Sergeant, two Sergeants, five Corporals and four Gunners), along with a Lieutenant Engineer Instructor, were accidentally killed when a training mine exploded in Glen Imaal.

This was the worst single incident involving loss of life in the history of the Irish Defence Forces. This incident, known as the Glen of Imaal Disaster occurred during a training exercise involving 27 officers and men from the army's anti-aircraft battalion, artillery school, and Corps of Engineers. Sixteen soldiers were killed when an antitank mine unexpectedly exploded (15 dying immediately and 1 later succumbing to his wounds). Other injured soldiers were rushed to the Curragh military hospital where several received surgery. Three men were fully blinded in the accident, two more partially.  A memorial to the disaster was raised near Seskin Bridge in 1986. May they Rest in Peace.

n 1958, a stained-glass window was dedicated in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, McKee Barracks, and in 1986, the Minister for Environment Mr John Boland T.D. unveiled a Monument at Seskin Bridge, consisting of a 14-ton basalt monolith upon which is mounted on a polished granite plaque the names of the sixteen Defence Forces personnel who died on 16 September, 1941.

The 1941 accident remains the single tragedy with the greatest casualties in the history of Óglaigh na Éireann.  John Caffery, the last known survivor of the accident, and who was also involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk, died on 03 October 2011, aged 94. (Brigadier-General Paul A. Pakenham (Retired), President, The Artillery Club)

"But if fate me should call
And in action I should fall
Keep those Limbers a Rolling Along.

Then in peace I’ll abide
When I take my final ride
On a Limber that’s Rolling Along."

Kilbride, County Wicklow, Ireland

(Colin Stone Photo)

Bofors 40-mm L/60 QF Light Anti-Aircraft Gun, mounted on a wheeled gun carriage, serving as a Gate Guardian.

Kinsale, Charles Fort, County Cork, Ireland

Charles Fort is a star fort located on the water's edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County Cork.  James Fort is located on the other side of the harbour.  Charles Fort is built on the site of an earlier stronghold known as Ringcurran Castle, which featured prominently during the Siege of Kinsale in 1601.  The fort, which is named after Charles II, was designed by the Surveyor-general Sir William Robinson.  The fort was built in the 1670s and 1680s to a star fortification design - a layout specifically designed to resist attack by cannon.  The inland bastions of the fort however are overlooked by higher ground, a fact of critical importance when the fort was besieged by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (then 1st Earl) in 1690 during the Williamite War in Ireland.  Repairs were made following the siege, and the fort remained in use as a British Army barracks for two hundred years afterwards.  An early lighthouse was established here in the 17th century.  The fort was relinquished by British forces following the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, but it fell out of use after being burned by the retreating anti-Treaty forces during the Irish Civil War in 1922.  The complex was named a National Monument of Ireland in 1971 and has been partly restored by Dúchas, the Irish heritage service.

(The Speckled Bird Photo)

Charles Fort, seaward embrasures.

(Jimmy Harris Photo)

Breechloading 6-inch Mk. VII Gun, unmounted, No. 1 and No. 2 of 2, on the ground inside the fort.

(Colin Stone Photo)

Breechloading 6-inch Mk. VII Gun, unmounted, No. 1 and No. 2 of 2, on the ground inside the fort.

(Blorg Photo)

Cast Iron 32-pounder 17-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Carronade with a Blomefield pattern breeching ring, mounted on an iron garrison carriage, No. 1 and No. 2 of 2.

Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland

(Nils E. Photo)

(William Murphy Photos)

Cast Iron possible 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun,  mounted on a wood naval gun carriage, No. 1 of 2 in the courtyard at King John's Castle.   The castle was built by Anglo-Norman invaders and settlers of Ireland early in the 13th century.

Cast Iron possible 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun,  mounted on a wood naval gun carriage, No. 2 of 2 in the courtyard at King John's Castle.

(Nils E. Photo)

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, unmounted, No. 1 of 3 inside King John's Castle.

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, unmounted, No. 2 of 3 inside King John's Castle.

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, unmounted, No. 3 of 3 inside King John's Castle.

Millmount, Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland is listed on a separate page on this website

Mullingar (artillery preserved in this location is listed on a separate page on this web site)

Oldbridge, County Meath

(Windsocker Photo)

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading, mounted on a wheeled wooden gun carriage, on display at the entrance to the Oldbridge Estate.  The gun stand in a park commemorating the  Battle of the Boyne between King William III and his father- in-law, King James II, fought on 1 July 1690 (11 July according to the present day calendar).  Both kings commanded their armies in person. William had 36,000 men and James had 25,000 - the largest number of troops ever deployed on an Irish battlefield.  At stake were the British throne, French dominance in Europe and religious power in Ireland.

Ringaskiddy, County Cork

(Bruce S Photo)

Blomefield Cast Iron 24-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, mounted on an iron garrison carriage,  located in front of the Port of Cork Ferry Terminal.

Ross Castle, Killarney, County Kerry

(Disco1878 Photo)

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Guns mounted on wood carriages guarding the castle.  (teeoff2 Photos)

Ross Castle (Irish: Caisleán an Rois) is the ancestral home of the O'Donoghue clan though it is better known for its association with the Brownes of Killarney who owned it until recently. It is located on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park.

Rosses Point, County Sligo, Ireland

(Windsocker Photos)

Spanish Cast Iron 7-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, mounted on a wood naval gun carriage.  This Cannon is said to have been rescued off the wreck of a Spanish Ship sunk in Sligo Harbour.  The Santa Maria de La Vision of the Spanish armada was wrecked at Streedagh Strand along with Juliania and La Lavia.  English divers found them under shifting sand in 1985. The Three ships whadbeen at anchor in Sligo Harbour before a storm and they may have dragged and lost their anchors when they were driven ashore.

Rosslare Harbour, County Wexford, Ireland

(David Hawgood Photo)

9-inch 12-ton Mk. I Muzzleloading Rifle with Millar pattern breeching ring, mounted on a concrete stand, No. 1 of 2 on the sand at Quality Beach.

9-inch 12-ton Mk. I Muzzleloading Rifle with Millar pattern breeching ring, mounted on a concrete stand, No. 2 of 2 on the sand at Quality Beach.

Strandhill, County Sligo.

(GuidiGO Photos)

Blomefield Cast Iron 24-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, mounted on a wood naval gun carriage, facing the harbour.  No. 1 of 2.

(Winsocker Photos)

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, mounted on a wood naval gun carriage, facing the harbour.  No. 2 of 2, on display in a garden at the foot of the Knocknarea mountains.

Templemore, County Tipperary, Ireland

(Colin Stone Photos)

Ordnance QF 4.5-inch howitzer.

Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland

(Kglavin Photo)

Russian Cast Iron 24-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading cannon, a trophy taken during the Crimean War (1853-1856), mounted on an iron garrison gun carriage.  Crimean War Memorial, in front of the Tralee Courthouse.

Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland

(Paul O'Farrell Photo)

9-inch 12-ton Mk. I Muzzleloading Rifle with Millar pattern breeching ring, mounted on a wood naval gun carriage, on Lady Doneraile Walk, facing the harbour.

(National Library of Ireland Photo, P WP 1088)

Coastal Artillery gunners ca 1905, serving what may be a 5-inch breechloading gun on a ship's pattern Vavasseur broadside mounting at the Battery beside Doneraile Walk.

Trim Castle, County Meath, Ireland

(Jim Stanton Photo)

Russian Cast Iron  36-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, (Serial No. unknown) on the left trunnion, possibly by Foullon at Alexandrovski, with double-headed Eagle on the barrel, mounted on an iron garrison gun carriage.  This gun is a war trophy from the Crimean War,(1853-1856).

(Andy Murray Photo)

Trim Castle is a Norman castle on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath, Ireland.  With an area of 30,000 m², it is the largest Norman castle in Ireland.

The design of the central three-storey keep (also known as a donjon or great tower) is unique for a Norman keep being of cruciform shape, with twenty corners.  It was built on the site of the previous large ring work fortification in at least three stages, initially by Hugh de Lacy (c. 1174) and then in 1196 and 1201–5 by Walter de Lacy.  The castle interior was partially the subject of archaeological digs, by David Sweetman in the 1970s, and more extensively by Alan Hayden in the 1990s.

The surviving curtain walls are predominantly of three phases.  The west and north sides of the enceinte are defended by rectangular towers (including the Trim Gate) dating to the 1170s; the Dublin gate was erected in the 1190s or early part of the 13th century; and the remaining wall to the south with its round towers dates to the first two decades of the 13th century. The castle has two main gates. The one in the west side dates to the 1170s and sits on top of a demolished wooden gateway. The upper stories of the stone tower were altered to a semi-octagonal shape, c. 1200. The Dublin Gate in the south wall is a single round towered gate with an external barbican tower. It dates from the 1190s or early 13th century and was the first example of its type to be constructed in Ireland.  (Wikipedia)

Youghal Battery, County Cork, Ireland

(Grimhelm Photo)

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, unmounted, resting on concrete stands in the Youghal Battery, No. 1 of 3.

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, unmounted, resting on concrete stands in the Youghal Battery, No. 2 of 3.

Cast Iron Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, unmounted, resting on concrete stands in the Youghal Battery, No. 3 of 3.

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