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R.I.C. Barracks at Ballybrazil

Sound is of Barracks burning

Front of Barracks showing arched windows

About a half mile from our school is the remains of an old RIC barracks. RIC stands for Royal Irish Constabulary and was the police force before the present Garda Síochána were founded in 1922. Queen Victoria is supposed to have added the word "Royal" in 1867 for their loyalty in putting down the Fenian Rising.The barracks is on the land of local man,Jimmy Murphy.The RIC policemen were mostly catholic but in time were hated as they were sent to help the bailiffs evict Irish tenants. This happened in nearby Foley's Fort in 1887 and Coolroe in 1888.
The building was originally a farm house belonging to a family called Sheil who were protestant. They sold the house to Larry Murphy of the shop and he leased it to the RIC. The RIC then moved from Whitechurch to this barracks in Ballybrazil. A Sergeant John Meade was stationed there on the 16th August 1888 as he was involved in the nearby eviction in Coolroe, Ballycullane.

Rear view of Barracks

Matty Ryan's father (the Quay New Ross),was a constable here up until the War of Independence(1919-1921). He left the force when his friend was killed by the Black and Tans.This happened when he was on leave at home in Co.Offaly and was attending mass with his friend who was blessing himself at the church font when he was shot.
The Barracks was burned down on May12th 1920 at the height of the War of Independence. 1920 was called "The year of the Terror" as it was the year the dreaded Black and Tans came to Ireland. RIC barracks were burnt by the IRA all over the country and Martial Law was declared by the English in Wexford and other counties. Lots of RIC men resigned at this time when they saw the slaughter of the Tans and also they would have known the IRA men. Most RIC barracks in the countryside were being deserted and the RIC moved into the towns and fortified these barracks in case of attack. The IRA attacked the barracks looking for guns and to destroy England's control of Ireland. When a barracks was abandoned, it too was burned to prevent the RIC from returning there.
The IRA men involved in the burning were all from New Ross town.There were thirteen men in all. It happened on Saturday May 12th 1920. Sergeant Flynn and his family were living there at the time. The family was made up of his wife,three sons and a daughter called Rose.
On arrival the IRA first removed all the furniture and possessions of the Flynn's from the building and were said to be coureteous to the family.They then sprinkled petrol onto straw and scattered the straw on the slated roof. It was then set alight. A military lorry arrived the next day and took the family and their belongings. It is believed they went to Limerick. The RIC then moved to Hart's pub in Campile. The new Garda Síochána were also based there until the new station was built in 1927. The first sergeant there was Sgt.M.Scanlon and the last sergeant was Galwayman,Pat Fogarty. It's not surprising that people still refer to the Garda Station as the "barracks".
Thanks to Tommy Grennan(Ballykerogue) for the information

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