See Six Artefacts from Soldiering at Home

Learn about six objects in the first two galleries of Soldiers and Chiefs.

Sporting Vest, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Sporting Vest, Royal Dublin Fusiliers

British Army soldiers often challenged local sports teams to matches as a method of promoting goodwill in the community. As a result British sports such as rugby and football (soccer) gained a following in garrison towns. Such events would attract a good crowd, usually hoping to see the Army lose to the locals.

Trousseau dress, 1897Trousseau 1897

Some of the townsfolk saw the young, securely employed men at the barracks as socially desirable marriage partners for local women.

Many English men married Irish women, and some soldiers even settled here after their retirement.

This dress was bought for Luielia's trousseau, most likely by her husband 56 year old Lt Colonel George Smith, while they were on honeymoon in Australia.

They lived in Piperstown, co. Louth and had four children.

Military Tailor’s book

Military Tailor's Book

Unlike enlisted soldiers, who were issued with standard-sized uniforms, officers bought their own made-to-measure outfits. They purchased the required items form a specialist military tailor, who kept detailed records (including sketches and colour swatches) of the regulations for each type of uniform in a large reference book. This reference book belonged to Johnstone, a local Dublin tailor.

Movable House

chairsPortable or ‘campaign’ furniture allowed officers’ families to take their familiar domestic possessions with them when assigned to another barracks. Such items were sturdily constructed, and easily disassembled for transport. These campaign dining chairs were made by Ross & Co. of Dublin around 1870.

Jacobite Grenadier

Jacobite Grenadier, 1691

This soldier is lighting a grenade taken from the bag at his waist. In a few seconds he will hurl the explosive device at the opposing soldiers. Grenadiers often used these weapons to repel enemies attacking a breach in the wall of a fort or town. In order to throw the grenade, he needs to carry his musket slung over his shoulder - he also wears a soft cap that will not get in the way of his movement.

Croppy boy (1798) exhibit at Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition

Croppy Prisoner, 1798, Royal Barracks, Dublin

This captured rebel awaits his fate here in the Dublin barracks after the rebellion. His civilian clothes indicate he is not a soldier, but a farm boy. With many others, he is confined within the square just outside this building. If he is unlucky, he will be hanged, and his body will be dumped in the River Liffey. If the British spare him because of his youth, he faces transportation to Australia as a convict.

This Irish musketeer (left) carries a light ‘caliver’ musket, which would have been used during the Nine Year's War (1594-1603). He is touching the lit match against the gunpowder in the pan, which will fire the weapon. His dress is traditionally Irish, but he wears an English-style Morion helmet for protection, and carries a supply of gunpowder in the flask at his side.