Former Police Barracks at Berkeley burned

On the 12th of May 1920 the Rathgarogue Company of the South Wexford Brigade I.R.A burned the former police barracks at Berkeley, near New Ross. It was located on the Berkeley House estate and had been closed since 1890, possibly being used as private residence thereafter.

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1839 Ordinance Survey Map showing Berkeley House and the location of the police barracks to the lower left

The New Ross Standard newspaper reported an interesting incident which took place between a police officer and the land agent for the Deane family, (who resided in Berkeley house and on whose estate the barracks was situated) when to returning the keys of the barracks to the latter.

Article from The New Ross Standard, 26th April 1890 on the closing of Berkeley Barrack.

Berkeley was one of many rural barracks burned during the war of independence in county Wexford. This was to ensure they could no longer be utilized by the police or army and subsequently allowed more freedom for the I.R.A to operate. Berkeley stands out in comparison to others because it was closed for 30 years before. It was still targeted perhaps because the I.R.A thought it maybe reoccupied; at the time the Black and Tans were arriving to reinforce the police (R.I.C) and the former barracks at Berkeley had the potential to be used as lodging for these extra men. Additionally its’ association with the Berkeley House may have been an added incentive. The then owner of the building, Mrs. Catherine Cecilia Tyndall, sought compensation of £1750 for its burning in the courts. However, she was awarded the lesser sum of £500 (The New Ross Standard, 25th June 1920)

The ruins of the barracks can still be seen adjacent to the public road. It was constructed of stone and possibly a two story building, like most other barracks. Little remains of the structure with only portions of the buildings external walls.

The ruins of the former police barracks at Berkeley (Google Street View)

Source

South Wexford Brigade Activity Report

New Ross Standard, 26th April 1890

New Ross Standard, 25th June 1920

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