Share This:

Hi everyone,

I have been researching the military history of Nenagh, County Tipperary, over the past year.

It is unbeliveable to uncover so much history of the town's rich military tradition not only as a market town, but as a garrison town. This particularly applies to Summerhill Military Barracks in Nenagh. This barracks, since being constructed in 1832, has accommodated the british Army, IRA, Irish Free State Army, the FCA and the Irish Defence Forces.

Over 300 marriages between soldiers stationed in the town to local women took place, with many of their children being born in the barracks. Sadly, dozens of soldiers have died in the barracks, with some even being buried in the grounds itself.

For anyone who would like to learn more about the military history of Nenagh, here is a Facebook group set up to establish this: 

Currently, an online petition to try and promote the need to preserve and restore the barracks, rather than demolish it, as been made. Feel free to sign and share it through this link:…;

If anyone has any stories, pictures/photogrpahs/sketches/drawing, letters, diaries, objects/artifacts or any important stories about the military in Nenagh or the surrounding District, particularly of anyone whose ancestors were stationed in the town or men from the town who joined the military and emigrated afterwards, please feel free to let me know. Yee can contact me in the following ways:



Phone/Whatsapp: +353 83 016 2768


Kind regards,


Michael Reynolds

(Nenagh, County Tipperary)


Monday 2nd Aug 2021, 06:11PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hello Michael.

    Attached to this reply are two Ordnance Survey Maps of Nenagh from different time periods, showing the location of the Summerhill Military Barracks. The maps are from the GeoHive website.

    The first Ordnance Survey Map attached to this reply is from the 1837 to 1842 time period, and shows the location of the Infantry Barracks and Hospital situated within the Ordnance Ground in Summerhill. The map also shows the Nenagh Goal and Court House. The Goal is interesting in that its architectural style is that of a wheel and spoke formation, known as a Panopticon, as envisioned by English prison reform activist, Jeremy Bentham.

    The second Ordnance Survey Map of Nenagh is from the 1888 to 1913 time period, showing the Infantry Barracks and buildings to the east of the barracks. You’ll also see on this map that the prison in Nenagh is closed, but the Court House is till in the same location as it was in the late 1830s and early 1840s.

    I also found significant architectural details of the Nenagh Barracks, Summerhill, at the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage/Buildings of Ireland website.

    The Buildings of Ireland site notes the barracks was constructed circa 1750, which would make the original section of the barracks 271 years old. The “wings” were added to the barracks in 1832. Go to the Buildings of Ireland website link for more information and a photo:

    For a modern-day Buildings of Ireland Map View of the Barracks, see:

    You can also read a brief description of the Nenagh “infantry barracks,” from the 1837 edition of Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. The Topographical Dictionary is from the LibraryIreland website. The description of the barracks is toward the end of the third paragraph:

    You’ve probably have already read the article about the barracks in the 14 January 2021 edition of The Nenagh Guardian. But in case you haven’t see the Guardian article at:

    The flickr photo by Joe Wade captures the terrible condition of the barracks:

    You can add a photo and description of the Nenagh Barracks at Ireland Reaching Out’s “XO Buildings” database at:

    For examples of photos and descriptions added to the Buildings database, see:…

    Best of Luck Michael,

    Dave Boylan


    Thursday 5th Aug 2021, 05:59PM
  • Hi Dave,


    Many thanks for your comments. These maps are great. I had come across some of the links in the poast, but some of the others I had not.


    I am hoping to find original plans/sketches of the summerhill military barracks in 1832, but no joy so far. Hopefully I can for Pound Street barracks and Old Barracks in Silver Street and Foot barracks on Kenyon Street


    You are more than welcome to join my Facebook group on Nenagh Military history:


    I have also started a petition to try and raise awareness of the barrack site's hisotry, so feel free to sign it and share it. it has over 280 signatures so far: 


    Kind regards,




    Friday 6th Aug 2021, 01:17PM
  • Thanks Michael.

    I had signed the petition on 5 August, the day the reply was sent.

    Concerning the Nenagh Barracks, have you contacted the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage/Buildings of Ireland, to see if they can be of any help to you, as they are:

    "a state initiative under the administration of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
    and established on a statutory basis under the provisions of the Architectural Heritage (National Inventory)
    and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1999.

    The purpose of the NIAH is to identify, record, and evaluate the post-1700 architectural heritage of Ireland, uniformly and consistently as an aid in the
    protection and conservation of the built heritage. NIAH surveys provide the basis for the recommendations of the Minister for Housing, Local
    Government and Heritage to the planning authorities for the inclusion of particular structures in their Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

    The published surveys are a source of information on the selected structures for relevant local authorities. They are also an educational and research
    resource. It is hoped that the work of the NIAH will increase public awareness and appreciation of Ireland’s architectural heritage."

    For more information about the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage/Buildings of Ireland, located in Dublin, see:

    The home page can be accessed at:

    I have great fondness for Nenagh, as back in the 1990s I would visit my cousin Joe Harrington, and his wife Maureen every year, and sometimes twice a year. I live in the U.S. They were great people who lived at Ballycommon, Knigh. They also at one time lived in Borrisokane, where Maureen had a draper's shop. They raised several children there, all of whom have moved away, mainly to Dublin. Joe was with the Gards for many, many years in the Nenagh area, though originally he was from Dungarvan, Waterford. Our mutual ancestor, John Harrington, was from a townland in Kenmare called Lissyclearig North.

    Joe was friends with the Clancy brothers--Tommy, Paddy, Bobby, and Liam, and was a fluent Irish speaker. He was an all around great guy who liked to drop a few jars at the local Thatched Cottage Bar and Restaurant, smoke some cigarettes, and watch a hurling match on the telly. He died in 1998, and his wife Maureen a few years ago. They are well and truly missed.

    I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors with the Nenagh Summerhill Barracks. Well worth saving Michael. Enough of Ireland's architectural heritage have already been destroyed.

    Many thanks for writing back.



    Monday 9th Aug 2021, 06:05PM
  • Hi Michael

    If you look for an entry for William Keane/Kean under Nenagh on Ireland XO, you'll find his full service record with the British Army and also as an Enrolled Pensioner Guard in Western Australia. William was born in Nenagh about 1819 and we believe that he was a close relative (possibly a brother, but more likely a cousin)  of my great grandmother, Mary Keane (1834-1915). Mary was from Gortmore, Terryglass and accompanied William on the "Edwin Fox" in 1858 which transported 280 convicts to the fledgling colony of Western Australia. One of those convicts was John McCann whom Mary married in 1862, a year before John received his certificate of freedom. We have reason to believe that John met Mary on the voyage. The relevant website for William's biography and service record is I think you will agree that Diane Oldman has done an outstanding job of researching Crimean War Veterans in Western Australia. 

    I hope that the above story of a Nenagh resident joining the military is worthy of inclusion.

    Greetings from Perth, Western Australia

    John James


    Friday 5th Nov 2021, 06:39AM
  • Hi John,


    Many many apologies as I ahve only seen your message now. I will see if I can find the service record for William Keane and his family roots in the Nenagh/Terryglass region


    My email is Feel free to contact me.


    Kind regards,




    Monday 9th May 2022, 10:22PM
  • Attached Files

    Hi John,

    Apologies for the dealy in replying to you

    I wonder is this William Kean's Service Record for the British army? I have attached it. It was the 88th Regiment of Foot and was with them between 1853 and 1856


    Kind regards,



    (Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland)



    Monday 12th Sep 2022, 10:46PM
  • Hi Michael

    Thanks for your reply which I've just seen. Although hard to decipher, it is certainly part of William's Service Record. More details of his other service can be found at

    Regards from Perth, WA




    Sunday 16th Oct 2022, 07:02AM

Post Reply