Courtown Barracks Burned

The former RIC Barrcks in Courtown in the early 20th century. Note the bars on the lower windows and the RIC emblem above the window of the front porch. (Credit: The National Library of Ireland, The Laurence Collection*Image has been cropped from a larger photo for clarity. )

On Thursday morning the 22nd of April 1920, the R.I.C Barracks in Courtown was burned by the IRA. It had been vacated by the police a year previous. The Wicklow People Newspaper reported that thirteen men were estimated to have been involved and armed guards were placed within the village and on the approach roads. These were reported to have disappeared by 2 a.m. and two hours later the structure was burned down with ‘nothing remaining only the bare walls’ thereafter.  It was one of many, often rural, barracks burned in Wexford during the period to deny the authorities of their use and therefore allow the I.R.A more freedom to operate. Many of the barracks had been vacated by the police who were moved to more urban stations which were easier to defend. The Barracks was the property of the earl of Courtown whom after was awarded £1000 compensation (Irish Independent, 14th May 1920, p6). He later attempted to appeal this arguing for increased compensation, but the appeal was later withdrawn (Wicklow People, 2nd October 1920, P8). When the appeal was lodged originally in July Mr. Sheehan, the Inspector General, said amidst laughter they had not got enough! (New Ross Standard, 2nd July 1920, p1)

The Site Today

It is not known currently if the former barracks was ever rebuilt or whether it was demolished. The Courtown harbour hotel now stands on the site and the fabric of the original barracks maybe incorporated within this. The hotel has since closed.

The Courtown harbour hotel stand on the site of the former barracks. (Google Street View)

Sources

Irish Independent, 14th May 1920, p6

New Ross Standard, 2nd July 1920, p1

North Wexford Brigade Activity Reports

Wicklow People, 24th April 1920, P4

Wicklow People, 2nd October 1920, P8

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