The Defence Forces Ireland have started to make their archives available online on their website – http://www.militaryarchives.ie/home – with two areas released to date: The Bureau of Military History & The Maps, Plans and Drawings collection of Military Barracks in Ireland.
The Irish Military Barracks Maps, Plans and Drawings Collection is described as “a unique collection pertaining to the construction and maintenance of military barracks in Ireland from c.1830 to c 1980” and “contains many previously unseen architectural drawings from the British War Office, the Royal Engineer Corps, the Ordnance Survey and latterly the (Irish) Defence Forces Engineer Corps.” Of their collection of 4,000 maps and drawings, 650 have been released online already.
From a Great War point of view, there are several gems hidden within the collection, three of which are highlighted here.
Clandeboye Camp, Down, Ireland
This plan is dated 5th May 1915 and captures the layout of the camp right before the 36th (Ulster) Division vacated the camp on its way to Seaford in Sussex before embarking for France in October 1915.
Ballykinler Camp, Down Ireland
The other two plans show Ballykinler Camp – the overall map is dated 1903 while the plan of the camp layout is from 1919. Ballykinler was also used by the 36th (Ulster) Division for training before becoming an internment camp initially during the Irish War of Independence, this use continuing after partition in 1921.
For any researcher looking into the activities of the British Army in Ireland, the online archive can be highly recommended.