Artillery in Ireland: Macroon Castle, Mullingar, Mullingar, Belvedere House, and Columb Barracks

Artillery preserved in Ireland,

Macroon Castle, Mullingar, Belvedere House, Columb Barracks

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.

Macroom Castle, County Cork, Ireland

(Mith Photo)

Macroom Castle stands in the town of Macroon, guarding the historic ford across the River Sullane.  The main building, based on the original keep, is a three-story, 6-bay by 3-bay block, which is now covered in ivy. The only other remaining building is the gatehouse, with attached walls.  

The castle was presumably erected in the 12th century by the O'Flynn family, as its old Irish name of Caisleán Uí Fhloinn suggests.  The O'Flynns owned land in this part of what was then the Kingdom of Muskerry, but were overcome by the McCarthys, who were to occupy the castle until the middle of the 17th century.  Tiege MacCarty, father of Lord Muskerry, restored and enlarged the castle and died there in 1565.  In 1602, when the castle was under the ownership of Cormac McDermot Carthy, Lord Muskerry was arrested and the castle was subjected to siege.  During this time, it caught fire.  During the rebellion of 1641, Donough MacCarty, 2nd Viscount Muskerry was visited at the castle by the Papal Nuncio, who stayed for four days.

In 1650 Boetius MacEgan, Bishop of Ross, assembled a Confederation army at the castle, but when the Cromwellian troops of Lord Broghill arrived, the castle garrison again set fire to the building before joining the rebel army in the castle park.  During the ensuing battle, the Bishop and the High Sheriff of Kerry were taken prisoners, the Sheriff shot and the bishop offered his freedom if he could persuade the garrison of Carrigadrohid Castle to surrender.  However, on arrival at Carrigadrohid he chose instead to exhort the garrison to hold on and was hanged from a nearby tree.  Later in the war Macroom Castle was said to have been burned yet again by General Ireton.

During the Commonwealth era, possession of the castle was given to Admiral Sir William Penn, the father of the founder of Pennsylvania.  At the restoration of the Monarchy it was restored to the McCarthys, who further enlarged and renovated it.  In 1691 the castle estate was confiscated from Donough MacCarty, 4th Earl of Clancarty for his allegiance to King James II and the castle was the sold by auction in 1703.  It was acquired by the Hollow Sword Blade Co., who resold it to Judge Bernard.   It then passed to the Hedges Eyre family and afterwards to Lord Ardilaun. The castle was burned for the last time in 1922, following the evacuation of British Auxiliaries from the town, by anti-treaty forces led by Erskine Childers and Frank O'Connor.

Lady Olivia Ardilaun, a descendant of the McCarthy chiefs, and the widow of Lord Ardilaun, sold the castle demesne in 1924 to a group of local businessmen, to be held in trust for the people of the town.  (Keane, Barry), and Adams, C.L. Castles of Ireland; some fortress histories and legends.

(Alan Wright Photo)

Macroon Castle gate with two Blomefield 24-pounder SBMLs guarding the entrance.

(Alan Wright Photo)

Macroon Castle gate with one of a pair of  Blomefield 24-pounder SBMLs guarding the entrance.

(Alan Wright Photo)

Macroon Castle gate with a Blomefield 24-pounder SBML mounted on an iron Garrison carriage, near the entrance.

Millmount, Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland

Millmount is a large fortified complex situated on a great mound on the South bank of the River Boyne.  The fort has played a crucial part in Drogheda's history and has been a dominant feature from Norman settlement, to Cromwell's invasion to the more recent Civil War in 1922, in which the famous Martello tower was shelled and all but destroyed.  Today the complex houses the Millmount Museum which houses a wide variety of artifacts of local and national importance. The complex is Drogheda's most dominant feature, clearly visible from all parts of the town.  The Martello tower is affectionately known as "The Cup and Saucer" by locals. The whole fort is a national monument and has been designated as Drogheda's Cultural Quarter.

(474do5 Photo)

(Kieran Campbell Photo)

Bronze 9-pounder 13-1/2-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, weight unknown, mounted on a wood traversing gun carriage, No. 1 of 2, set into the original mounts in the Martello tower at Millmount overlooking the North Quay on the River Boyne.

Bronze 9-pounder 13-1/2-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, weight unknown, mounted on a wood traversing gun carriage, No. 2 of 2, set into the original mounts in the Martello tower at Millmount overlooking the North Quay on the River Boyne.

Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland

(Colin Stone Photo)

Ordnance QF 4.5-inch howitzer.

Mullingar, Belvedere House

(Colin Stone Photos)

Ordnance QF 25-pounder field gun.

Mullingar, Columb Barracks

Columb Barracks, which were originally known as Wellington Barracks after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, were built as part of the response to the Irish Rebellion and completed between 1814 and 1819.  The barracks were taken over by forces of the Irish Free State in 1922 and renamed Columb Barracks after Patrick Columb, an Irish Republican who had been killed in Mullingar earlier that year.  They became home to the 4th Field Artillery Regiment and the 54th Reserve Field Artillery Regiment.  The barracks closed in March 2012.

(Colin Stone Photos)

QF 12-pounder 12-cwt Mk. I Gun mounted on a Mk. I Garrison Carriage, 1902, No. A.2515, V.S.M., Queen Victoria cypher.

Many guns were mounted on pedestals secured to the ground to defend harbours against possible attack by small fast vessels such as torpedo boats, until the 1950s.  These guns were traversed (moved from side to side) manually by the gunlayer as he stood on the left side with his arm hooked over a shoulder piece as he aimed, while he operated the elevating handwheel with his left hand and grasped the pistol grip with trigger in his right hand.

(Colin Stone Photo)

French 75-mm Field Gun, aka Canon de 75 Modèle 1897, Mullingar Square.

(Colin Stone Photos)

Brandt mle 27/31 (3.2-inch, 81-mm) mortar.

(Colin Stone Photo)

Brass Smoothbore Muzzleloading model in a trophy cabinet.

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