On Wednesday night the 12th of May 1920 the R.I.C barracks in Tintern was set afire and burned. Previously in November 1919 orders had been issued to close the barracks and the acting Sergeant, Edmond Larissy, reassigned elsewhere. However, the building was not completely vacated as his wife, Julia Agnes Larrissy, still resided there with their two children. On the night it was burned she and the children were ordered to leave the building and interestingly the families furniture was removed for them by those who set out to burn the barracks. It can be seen on the front lawn of the house in the above photo. The South Wexford Brigade activity files report that A company (Gusserrane) and G company (St. Leonards) of the 2nd Battalion were responsible for the burning.
The barracks was located at a crossroads known as ‘Poundtown’, beside the entrance into Tintern abbey, the home of the Couclough family who were large landowners in the area and also owned the building used for the barracks, which was rented from them. A barracks had stood on the site since around 1839, as one is depicted on the ordinance survey maps from the period. The photo shows it was a large structure, possibly built of stone and with a slated roof. In the 1911 census buildings return it is shown to contain between 7-9 rooms, further indicating its large size. Sergeant Edmond is listed in Tintern with his family also on the 1911 census, therefore by 1920 they had lived in the area for quiet a long time. The courtesy shown to them by the removal of their furniture might suggest they were respected locally and perhaps in good standing within the community. This was not the first instance of an attack on the barracks in its lifetime as an newspaper article from 1833 reports how 3 men were arrested for taking arms and planning to attack it (Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 12.03.1833, page 2). No trace of Tintern Barracks remains today and the site is grass covered with some trees planted.
Belfast Newsletter, 3rd December 1833
The Irish Times, 14th May 1920
South Wexford Brigade Activity Files
Sunday Mirror Newspaper, 16th May 1920