Behind the Walls: Columb Barracks Mullingar

‘Behind the Walls: Columb Barracks Mullingar’, a one-hour radio documentary funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Sound & Vision scheme, broadcast at 2pm on Saturday April 11th 2020 on Shannonside Radio.  

‘Behind the Walls: Columb Barracks Mullingar’ was one of the final two one-hour radio documentaries from a series of five documentaries broadcast on local radio stations across the country that explore the history of Defence Forces barracks situated within the region.  They follow on from the recent documentaries for LMFM Radio in Louth/Meath on Aiken Barracks, KFM Radio in Kildare on The Curragh Camp and C103 Radio in Cork on Collins Barracks Cork.

For the majority of locals living and working in the towns across Ireland that have found themselves home to an army barracks, the daily goings-on behind the walls of each barracks are a bit of a mystery.  Despite their rich and varied histories – encompassing their buildings, their people, their events, their memorabilia and their artefacts – they remain an unexplored place to most.

This radio documentary series seeks to travel behind the walls of these Defence Forces barracks and camps across Ireland in doing so, offer listeners a chance to aurally explore what lies behind them, with the stories of the history they encompass told by those who know them best.

The documentaries take the form of a guided walking tour around the barracks intercut with interviews with local historians.  These interviews and tours, along with music and sound effects, allow the listener to experience the rich and varied history of each barracks and the places of interest behind their walls, along with their historical and social impacts on their localities and the wider local community.

Wednesday 28th March 2012 was a momentous day in the history of the town of Mullingar as after almost 200 years in operation as an artillery military barracks, the tricolour was lowered for the final time at Columb Barracks and the gates closed as the last serving members of the Defence Forces who had been stationed there made their way to their new homes in other barracks around the country.

Boasting what is claimed to be the longest leasehold in the world, at 10 million years, the barracks had been home to the 4th Field Artillery and the 54th Reserve Field Artillery regiments for almost 100 years.  In addition, it was Ireland’s last artillery barracks.

This radio documentary series allows for the stories of these immensely historically important sites in Ireland, with over 400 years of military history within their walls, to be preserved for future generations.

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