LIMERICK BARRACKS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The city is lighted with gas under a contract made in 1824 with the United London Gas Company: the original engagement was confined to the New town, but it has been extended by the liberality of the corporation to the Irish town and Dublin road, and by private subscriptions to part of the English town. Works for supplying it with water were commenced in 1834 by a London company; the two tanks are about a mile from the city, at Cromwell's Fort, near Gallows' Green, on the site of two forts occupied by Cromwell and William III.; their elevation is 50 feet above the highest part of the city, and 72 feet above the river, from which the water is raised through a metal pipe 12 inches in diameter by two steam-engines, each of 20-horse power. In excavating for a foundation for the tanks, several skeletons, cannon and musket balls, armour, and divers remains of military weapons were found; and in forming the new line of road along the Shannon, on the county of Clare side, heaps of skeletons were found, some of which were 15 yards in length and 6 feet in depth; they are supposed to be the remains of those who died in the great plague.

In military arrangements, Limerick is the head-quarters of the south-western district, which comprises the counties of Clare and Limerick, with the town of Mount-Shannon, in the county of Galway; the county of Tipperary, except the barony of Lower Ormond, but including the town of Nenagh; and that part of the county of Kerry north of the Flesk. There are four barracks; the Castle barrack in the English town for infantry, capable of accommodating 17 officers and 270 non-commissioned officers and privates, with an hospital for 29 patients; the New barrack, on the outside of Newtown-Pery, adapted for 37 officers, 714 infantry and cavalry, and 54 horses, with an hospital for 60 patients; the Artillery barrack, in the Irish town, for 6 officers, 194 men, and 104 horses, with an hospital for 35 patients; and an Infantry barrack, in St. John's-square, for 4 officers and 107 men: a military prison, lately built in the new barrack, has 6 cells. There is also a city police barrack.

The Limerick Institution, founded in 1809, and composed of shareholders and annual subscribers, has a library containing upwards of 2000 volumes. There are four newspapers, three published twice a week, and one weekly. An elegant theatre, erected some years ago by subscription, at a cost of £5000, was so inadequately supported that the building was at length sold to the Augustinian monks. The assembly-house, built in 1770, at an expense of £4000, is not now used for its original purpose, the balls commonly taking place at Swinburne's hotel; part of it is occasionally used for dramatic performances. The hanging gardens, constructed in 1808 by William Roche, Esq., M.P., at an expense of £15,000, form a singular ornament to the town; they are raised on ranges of arches of various elevation, from 25 to 40 feet, the vaults thus formed being converted into storehouses for wine, spirits, and other goods, now occupied by Government, at a rent of £500 per annum. On this foundation are elevated terraces, the highest of which has a range of hothouses, with greenhouses at the angles. The facade of these gardens extends about 200 feet, and the top of the highest terrace, which is 70 feet above the street, commands a most extensive prospect of the city and the Shannon.

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