Limerick’s Military & Logistical Heritage

image

Limerick, my own adopted city, has a proud and even some would say defiant history of involvement in military affairs. From the Williamite siege of the city, to this year’s 75th anniversary celebration of the Irish Army’s Limerick based 12th Battalion home (in the aftermath of the Irish Civil War), the Treaty City has a wide swathe of experiences related to the World of Warfare.

image

image

But not everything of a military mindset is directly related to the business end of a soldiers job. Quite a significant amount of military logistical history can be traced to Limerick; from the havoc that manifested itself after the Patrick Sarsfield destroyed the Williamite army’s siege train, Limerick has provided a series of case studies for the military historian.

image

Geographically speaking, Limerick has a number of unique advantages. It is uniquely situated in Ireland at the furthest possible fording point on the mighty River Shannon, which by the time it reaches Limerick, has become a tidal estuary. This allows the ancient King Johns Castle an unrivalled position in terms of defence and control over the nodal bridiging points and trade. As the song goes ‘There is an Isle/A bonny isle/Which stretches forth/Proudly against the Sea.’

image

It was this trade which made (and still makes) Limerick a vitally important logistical and transportational hub. It is located at the Western edge of the ‘Golden Vale’, a geographical area in the Mid-Western sub-region of Ireland, famed for producing some of the beat bacon, cheese, dairy and beef products in the world. Limerick as the largest and nearest accessible natural port, facing the Atlantic ocean was a natural choice for a transhipment point. Indeed in the 19th century the city acquired the moniker ‘Pig Town’, such was the volume of its pork related exports.

image

Another key actor in this supply chain was the Tait Military Clothing Factory. The factory, located on Lord Edward Street a stones throw from the gates of the city’s Sarsfield Barracks (formerly the New Barracks), was a magnificent example of a military clothing purveyor during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The firm supplied many continental forces (including the British Army during the Great War, whose centenary we currently commemorate). More interestingly perhaps is the fact that Tait’s also supplied the Southern Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The eponymous ‘Tait Jacket’ was produced for the officer corps, in Limerick.

image

image

From their factory (portions of which still stand and are being redeveloped), the Tait’s supplied materials to the both Union and Confederate belligerents during their conflict.

image

image

image

image

image

An amusing anecdote is still told in Limerick of a Chandler who was contracted to supply the Confederates with tents, pegs and ropes. The merchant loaded a number of ships with the requested goods and despatched them. However in a manner similar to the destruction of the British Army’s Pals Battalions half a century later, disaster befell the convoy; one of the ships sank. This resulted in the ropes and pegs arriving unscathed on one ship and all of the tent canvas headed toward the briney deep!

Advertisements

About eamonntgardiner

I am a PhD Student at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I am conducting research into links between wartime traumatic-neurosis and evidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst British First World War veterans serving as Auxiliary Policemen in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921. I have previously conducted research into local Irish Volunteer/Old IRA units in Munster as well as British responses to popular insurgencies in areas they administered. I have previously published a book on the British Counterinsurgency responses to the IV/IRA conflict in Ireland, 1919-1921, entitled 'Dublin Castle and the Anglo-Irish War: Counter Insurgency and Conflict.' I have also published papers on various aspects of that war and also on other insurgencies. I write a regular blog on those and other related matters, which can be read at https://eamonntgardiner.wordpress.com/ My research interests include Feminism and De-Colonialisation/Post-Colonialism, Insurgency, Police and Military Histories, Institutional Histories. Subaltern Studies, International History of the 20th Century, Modern Irish History, Historiography, History of Conflict, Peace Keeping/Enforcement/Protectorates, Spheres of Influence, Hegemonic Theories, Old and New Terrorism.
This entry was posted in Britain, Conflict, Empire, First World War, Ireland, Irish Defence Forces, Logistics, Oglaigh na hEireann, Organisational History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Limerick’s Military & Logistical Heritage

  1. can’t see the text?

    • A chara, I have just edited the post and re-published it today as Limerick’s Military and Logistical Heritage. I hope you enjoy and thank you very much for your feedback!!! Keep it coming please!

      • good stuff! I am familiar with the Tait site – such a shame it is to be lost to a housing development! Surely it would be a huge tourist attraction!

  2. Rory says:

    Nice article eamon. Never knew that building across from barracks had that much history …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s