Further to a couple of recent features on finding fresh purpose for old barracks sites (see https://theirishaesthete.com/2020/02/17/mullingar-barracks and https://theirishaesthete.com/2020/03/02/clancy-barracks) this is Kickham Barracks in Clonmel, County Tipperary. Originally known as Clonmel Infantry Barracks (and later Victoria Barracks, the name Kickham being given to them following the establishment of the Irish Free State), they were built 1780-82 and remained in use until 2012. The greater part of the site has since sat empty, although a master plan for it was produced by Tipperary County Council five in 2015. This includes the creation of a new civic plaza and ‘the provision of new uses of the site to include education, cultural and civic uses together with commercial entities to include start-ups linked to the education providers and high value uses that would complement the principle uses and have the potential to extend activity on the site beyond traditional business hours.’ That’s a lot of ‘uses’ but five years on work has yet to begin. Last year announcements were made of funding to the tune of €2.89 million being awarded by central government, but still as almost a third of the present year has passed, the place remains as it has been since 2012: locked up and unused with inevitable consequences for the health of the historic buildings (and corresponding increased costs for their refurbishment). Official Ireland never shows itself to be in a hurry.
Robert I feel that the best chance we have of saving our built heritage is to take the responsobility away form state government and federalise it through the European Union. We must remember that it is not only in our home state that this problem exists and the answer to all our fears and hopes would be through a Europe wide Heritage movement, in effect a National Trust For Europe. Maybe this could be your opportunity, your legacy, after all you’ve comitted your life to it, so why not you? I’m sure you have the contacts and you definately have the intelligence to promote the idea!
Robert, great to see this on Kickham. My father started his Irish Army career here in 1940 as a private and was commissioned in January 1942 and finally retired in 1971 in Dublin. He was a keen tennis player and as a consequence met my mother in Clonmel, her mother was a Mulcahy one of the notable families of Ardfinnan and Kilmacthomas. She was a Joyce from Galway of Mervue House and the St George Family which you have written a commissioned book.