Soldiering at Home

The British Garrison in Ireland

For almost 500 years, a standing army garrisoned Ireland. Though the soldiers were primarily used to suppress revolts by the Irish, their varied activities in Ireland affected the daily life of Irish people from weddings to football matches. Ireland was also one of the major depots for British Amry reruiting and many Irishmen were recruited and trained for service overseas.

Warfare in Ireland

Irish Musketer 1598

Between 1550 and 1800 Ireland endured four major wars: the battle of Boyne, and many lesser rebellions. The reasons for each war differed, but the hardship experienced by the soldiers and civilians was always much the same. Opposing armies not only fought bloody battles, they also destroyed buildings and crops in their attempts to punish their enemies and feed themselves. As a result, starvation often followed in their wake.

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.

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View photographs and learn about some of the objects in the first two galleries of Soldiers and Chiefs.

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