Inside the rear section of the former army barracks at Glencree, County Wicklow. In the aftermath of the 1798 Rebellion when this part of the country proved difficult for the authorities to control, a route still called the Military Road was constructed through the Wicklow Mountains, and these buildings erected in 1806 to house 100 troops. In the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars they vacated the barracks which during the second half of the 19th century was converted into a boy’s reformatory, being used for this purpose until 1940. The site then served as a prison for captured German military personnel (a small cemetery holding the remains of those who died during that period remains close by) and since the mid-1970s one block has been the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation. However, as can be seen, the buildings immediately behind have been left to fall into their present state of disrepair.
Tragic institutional neglect I call it. Surely if minds were put to the task, a use could be found for this fine building?
Why can’t the various government departments talk to each other to come up with a heritage-housing link which uses buildings which are now no more than a shell to form the outer skin of factory units or housing? By using like-for-like criteria (industrial buildings = new workshops, workhouses = flats), and adapting building ‘rules’, it should be possible to regenerate these structures in a way that brings them back to life, without sacrificing their historical integrity. Remembering your piece on mill buildings a few months ago, they would be ideal as apartments, and are often in or near towns. Yes, subsidised restoration costs and rental agreements would be needed, but better that than allow beautiful old buildings to fall down, to be replaced by inept concrete boxes which do nothing to enhance the country.
Good point Tim
This building only remains in place, because it is holding in place the road behind it.
Theres no reason to restore this building, known as the back range. The main barracks was nicely restored, and is in partial use. The activities of the reconciliation centre have largely been scaled back, for financial reasons.
Andrew, you say “no reason to restore”, the theory being what, one old building is enough?. please elucidate.