Sarsfield Barracks history recorded for posterity

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IT was a foregone conclusion that Defence Minister, Willie O’Dea, would do the honours when it came to launching a new book on Limerick’s Sarsfield Barracks.

The brainchild of Sergeant Michael Deegan and Sergeant Stephen Kelly, the book – Images of Sarsfield Barracks, is the outcome of a liaison between the two sergeants and Private Denis Carroll and Corporal William Sheehan.

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“The idea of putting a book together came about as the result of a conversation I had with Sgt Kelly – we had a keen interest in Irish military history but it wasn’t until 2006 that we decided to act. and at this stage we decided to bring on board two more keen historians with a vast knowledge in their own area – Denis Carroll and William Sheehan,” says Sgt Deegan. 

 Things began to develop and it was decided that a pictorial history of Sarsfield Barracks would be best, as it had not been done before in terms of military history, whereas there have been plenty of written books on various barracks throughout the country,” says Sgt Kelly. 

The publishers, Nonsuch, had printed several publications on images of various topics, and it was agreed that they would be the perfect partnership for the project. ..

Speaking at the launch, the authors said the event is proof of a successful completion on a long road that proved difficult at times, but fruitful in the end.

“This is a pictorial overview of life in a military installation and all that that entails for the soldiers of Sarsfield Barracks, from its beginnings in the late 18th century, and then known as New Barracks, until 1926, when it was renamed, to the present day,” said Minister O’Dea.

“This publication will show the importance of the contributions that the Military has made, not just on home service but also on overseas missions. Many developments have happened over the centuries that have led to this point in Limerick’s proud military history and as needs change, so too has the training and equipment”.

Stressing that a chief element of the book is the commitment and dedication of those that have served their country proudly, the authors say it is also an opportunity to dedicate it to those that have gone before them, those that serve today and to those that will serve in the future.

‘With six chapters, the book covers the initial history of the Barracks, overseas service, the civil war period up to the 1980s, the modern Barracks and a chapter on the Reserves.

Proceeds will be donated to the charity ONET (Organisation for National Exservicemen and Women), and the setting up of a Military Museum in Sarsfield Barracks.

The authors say they hope the book will make “a small contribution to Irish military history, as it also contains information in an appendix of all the military units that have served since it was built back in 1795 to the present day”.