Thiepval Barracks



Soon to be posted out of the glorious Academy of ours in Surrey to Lisburn in Northern Ireland. Can anyone tell me what the mess is like and generally the feel of the place? No one here has been over there recently, I've been told it's a lively mess and a good place to be generally.

So, was I misled?!
I live there, though I don't eat in the dining room and rarely use the bar.

The accommodation is of good standard - decent sized rooms, most en-suite, though if you are very junior you will have to share bog and shower with one other. There are two accommodation blocks, one for junior officers and one with suites for more senior people. There is a TV aerial socket in each room, and you can get a BT phone connected on request - broadband is also possible, with most ISPs. Laundry and other facilities are good, and usually working. There is a secure store for boxes. Each floor of the blocks has a simple kitchen. There is a batting service - one C95 or shirt and trousers ironed daily, and the staff are excellent - as always, politeness pays dividends.

The Mess has its own well-equipped gym and sauna. Food is ok, but not outstanding, prepared by a mixture of Service and civilian chefs; it's likely to go PAYD when peace breaks out next July. The office staff are helpful and pleasant, and will sort out your Mess number and d/d billing on arrival.

Jacket and tie is the minimum standard of dress in public rooms, at lunchtime and dinner, though the bar is slightly more relaxed at lunchtime. Weekends are informal, but no t-shirts or sports kit. The rules are being gradually tightened in anticipation of the changeover to 19 Bde. There are regular informal functions. Next year's Summer Ball should be good - the Mes has allocated £20k for it!

It's a big Mess and can be cliquey. New arrivals often find themselves ignored for a while, unless someone else shows them round and introduces them. There are a few inconsiderate members who are noisy and messy - the sort of thing that would be gripped in a regimental Mess. Parking is not allowed outside the Mess, which often means a long, wet walk up the hill. A few do park outside, but they do get clamped and the PMC is actively chasing offenders. There are only 8 garages - if you put your name on the list when you arrive, you should be allocated one just after you have left.

The barracks has some good facilities - a swimming pool and leisure centre, for example, along with the usual hopeless NAAFI. However, it's easy to walk into town and there is a large Tesco nearby. Lisburn has a few decent places in the evening, with some excellent restaurants in the surrounding countryside. However, Belfast has plenty of good bars and restaurants, and is not far away.

Feel free to pm me if you want more info.