Friday, October 28, 2011

Sarsfield Barracks - by Allen Wixted (11132906)

Sarsfield Barracks is the only Irish Army Barracks in Limerick City.
It houses both Permanent Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces of the Irish Army Defence Forces.
The facility was built in the late 18th century by the occupying British army and was handed over in 1920’s following Ireland’s independence. New Barracks was its original name given to it by the British Army and remained until being renamed in honour of Patrick Sarsfiled commencing its surrender to the Irish army. The barracks currently plays its role in the military as the Headquarters of the 1st Southern Brigade (one of 3 Brigade level Barracks).
The barracks is surrounded by its original stone walls. There are three gates along these walls:
  1.            Roden Street Gate at Barracks Hill
  2.            Scanlon Park and Sarsfield Park
  3.          Lord Edward Street (as shown below)
The past years prior to the recession have seen an increase in the level of investment in Defence Forces training and equipment. Over €33.5 million is allocated to improving the military’s buildings in the previous budget’s estimations.

Recently the engineer’s buildings and the Private’s mess have been upgraded and refurbished – costing an estimated €3.5 million.

Since 2002 the army have completed the purchase of:
· 8 new Pilatus aircraft costing €60million
· 65 MOWAG Armoured Personnel Carriers costing €84m
· The Javelin anti-armour missile system costing €13m and due for delivery in  mid 2005

I’m currently serving with the 31st Communication and Information Systems Unit (CIS). We are based in the western side of the barracks across 3 storeys of the building. We are in charge of providing protected communications for the whole army and are a specialty unit. I train every Wednesday in a variety of skills such as weapon training, radio use, field-craft, technological equipment, marching and foot-drill ect.

The barracks plays a great host to our training as it has an abundance of equipment. Sadly due to cut backs due to the recession new equipment is often a scarce sight. We mostly train with used weapons and radios from the Ranger Wing. Although in perfect working condition, some radio sets are prone to malfunction, often leading to a temporary halt to our training.

Although a very old compound, Sarsfield Barracks provides a fantastic facility for training full and part-time troops and also serves as a memorial to our nation's history.

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