Curragh Military Museum
Over the years, the military has become part of the Curragh, and the Curragh part of us. Right under our feet is history dating back to prehistoric times; the Fianna used to meet at the Hill of Allen; Henry II camped here on his way to Dublin in 1171; the Jacobite army trained here in 1686-7 and the British after establishing a permanent post in 1855, trained men to go and fight in the Boer War and the trenches of the Somme during World War I.
Now, after several years of research and planning, the Curragh has its own museum, that you can visit and take in the marvels of this magnificent geographical and historical site. we took in all aspects of the Curragh – military, civilian, equitation, conservation and archaeology. The museum is sub-divided into three parts. The environment encompassing archaeology, flora and fauna; the British military presence up to 1922 and finally the Defence Forces.
Before visitors view the exhibits, they can watch an audio visual presentation that has some magnificent aerial shots of the plains including the ring fort at Dun Ailinne, which at one time was part of the Curragh. The grasslands and the aquifer were the main reasons the British Army built a camp here. Some of the flora and fauna on the plains is unique to this part of the world.
On display are weapons like the Brown Bess musket – one of the longest serving firearm in British Army service and the Martini Henry rifle – brought to fame for its quick firing rate of fire in the later 1800s. Most outstanding in the middle of the British Army exhibit is a beautifully restored short grand piano. Built for Judge Smithly in 1895, the Essex Regiment brought it the Curragh in 1905. The piano was found a number of years back in the old band room being used as a storage table.
Also on display is the Beaverette armoured car – used by the Defence Forces after World War II. It is one of several vehicles preserved in excellent condition by the Cavalry Corps. You can see the last British flag to fly over the Curragh Camp in 1922 – a monument in itself to Irish history.
Some of the photographs from 1922 and just before the hand over to the Free State Army are fascinating. Then, there were 6,000 British Army troops and 4,000 civilians occupying or working in the camp. There were shops, cinemas, a swimming pool, schools and barbers, which all turned the Curragh into a thriving community. Back then standard accommodation was wooden billets, though none of these survive anymore, though the photographs indicate an interesting feature.
The following vintage vehicles are on display in the museum
Sliabh na mBan
The Sliabh na mBan Rolls Royce armoured car is now on display in the Curragh Military Museum. This car formed part of General Michael Collins convoy which was ambushed on the 22nd of August 1922 in which he was killed.
This car can be viewed by the public without prior notice during the museum’s opening hours.
To avoid disappointment please ring to find out if the vehicle is on display the day of your visit as there are days that the vehicle is not available.