Soldiers and Chiefs

Visited on Friday. Well worth it. The c19 sections were particularly good with a great range of artefacts on display.

Although my grandmother was born in Abbeyleix, I am an Englishman but it seemed pretty impartial to me, e.g. before mentioning c17 Drogheda saying that massacres had been committed by the other side too, biographies of Michael Collins and Paddy Mayne in the bookshop.

The accounts of Irishmen on both sides of the American and Spanish Civil Wars was interesting. I read the posts of Gallowglass on The Contribution of the Paddy thread with interest, being the first I'd heard of Irishmen on the Nationalist side, but was still surprised to find out more fought for Franco than for the Republicans, inspired by Roman Catholic solidarity.

Irishmen in the service of the Crown get good coverage up until 1922 when they are somewhat conspicuous by their absence. The exhibition ends with an interesting section devoted to Irish UN contributions in the Congo and Lebanon. In that section there is a display case with French Foreign Legion insignia that is unfortunately unlabelled.

The barracks themselves are pretty impressive, especially the square, and, just a walk on down Parkgate is Ryans, one of the best pubs I've been in for a long time.

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