Ballyduff Upper R.I.C. Station, Co. Waterford
Niall C.E.J. O’Brien
Ballyduff Garda Station is noted for its unusual architecture for a police station which is enhanced by its dramatic location on a height on the south side of Ballyduff Bridge and overlooking the River Blackwater. Legend says the building was intended for India but the architect’s plans got mixed up and it was built in Ballyduff instead as a barrack for the Royal Irish Constabulary. The R.I.C. barrack at Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry, carries a similar story. They say you should never leave fact get in the way of a good story. This article may do that yet it also intends to record other items of the history of the building.
Front elevation of the R.I.C. barracks
In the thirty-seventh report of Board of Public Works for 1868 (year ending March 1869) it was stated that the Board had entered into a contract for the erection of a constabulary barracks at Ballyduff, Co. Waterford and another barrack at Errismore, Co. Galway. In the thirty-eight report of Board of Public Works for 1869 (year ending March 1870) it was stated that the constabulary barracks at Ballyduff, Co. Waterford and Errismore, Co. Galway were built. The same report said that arrangements for a new barracks at Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry were in place.
The constabulary barracks was designed by Jacob Brothers on behalf of the Board of Public Works in the Scottish Baronial style. Only one year before, in 1867, the Irish Constabulary had become the Royal Irish Constabulary because of its contribution in suppressing the Fenian rebellion of 1867.
R.I.C. activities 1881-1890
In 1883 Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack acquired added duties when Colonel George Edward Hillier married Olivia Maria Drew of Mocollop Castle. George Hillier was Assistant Inspector General of the R.I.C. in 1861 with the job of commanding officer of the Phoenix Park depot (now Garda headquarters). George Hillier was Deputy Inspector General of the R.I.C. from 30th July 1867 to 1st January 1877 and Inspector General of the R.I.C. from 19th September 1876 to 12th May 1882 or the most senior policeman in Ireland. George Hillier had one son and two daughters from a previous marriage and died on 12th March 1895 and was buried in the Drew family vault in Mocollop graveyard.
In 1886 Serjeant John Boucher was in charge of Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack. John Boucher joined the R.I.C. between October 1863 and November 1865. His police number was 30393. John Boucher was born in Co. Tipperary around 1848 and by 1901 he was married to Kate Boucher and had three daughters and two sons.
On 4th February 1886 a large force of R.I.C. under the command of District Inspector Wynne attended the eviction of George Hodnett. Assisting with evictions was a challenging part of the constables job as the friendly relations built up with the locals in an area was put under serious pressure at evictions.
On 17th October 1889 Ballyduff G.A.A. organised a sports day with horse races. A large force of R.I.C. under Colonel Waring, R.M., and County Inspector Whelan came to maintain order. That night the crowd provoked the police by singing ‘The Peeler and the Goat’ which resulted in a baton charge and some of the crowd were injured.
R.I.C. activities 1890-1900
In January 1890 two local constables attended a Ballyduff G.A.A. training event to keep an eye on proceedings. The G.A.A. was a training ground for revolutionaries as much as a sports organisation.
Ballyduff R.I.C. barracks standing over the bridge across the River Blackwater
In 1893 Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack was in the Constabulary district of Cappoquin. Sergeant John Boucher was still in charge of Ballyduff barrack. In April 1893 he possibly attended, with other constables, the last large faction fight in Ballyduff. By 1901 John Boucher had retired from the R.I.C. and was living at Harbour View in Bantry, Co. Cork.
In the 1901 census Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack was house number 7 in the townland of Ballyduff Lower in the District Electoral Division of Castlerichard. There were 7 windows in front of the building and one outbuilding in the rear yard. James Mullany, serjeant, occupied the station with his family, using four rooms. The building was rented from Sir Richard Musgrave of Tourin, Co. Waterford.
James Mullany was not in the Barrack on census night, 2nd April 1901. His wife, a daughter and four sons were in residence. Johanna Mullany was born in Co. Wexford and was aged 31 years. Her daughter, Eva, was born in Co. Waterford and was aged 4 years. The sons were Patrick (aged 10 years), Alfred (aged 7 years), Edward (aged 2 years) and James (aged 1 year). All the sons were born in Co. Waterford except Alfred who was born in Co. Wexford.
James Mullany stayed away from the Barrack on census night and didn’t record his name on any other household census form. Ten Years later we find him in Clonroche, Co. Wexford. By then James Mullany had left the R.I.C. and gave his occupation as shopkeeper. In 1911 James Mullany was 53 years old, could speak Irish and English, was born in Co. Tipperary and was married for 21 years with 9 children of whom 8 were living by 1911. In the 1911 census all 8 children lived at Clonroche (5 sons, 3 daughters). Also in the house was Patrick Nolan, aged 59 years, born in Co. Wexford, farmer and uncle to James Mullany.
Other R.I.C. people in 1901 census
Apart from the active R.I.C. people living in Ballyduff around 1901 there was also former R.I.C. people in residence. Danial Moylan, aged 75 years and born Co. Cork, lived at house number 6 in Ballyduff village. Danial was police pensioner and unmarried. He lived with his niece, Mary Slattery and her husband, Patrick Slattery. The house was rented from James Daly and had four rooms and two outbuildings.
R.I.C. activities 1901-1911
In 1905 a large force of R.I.C. attended the eviction of William Cashin at Ballinalovane.
In the 1911 census Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack was house number 8 in the townland of Ballyduff Lower in the District Electoral Division of Castlerichard. The building had six windows in the front and one outbuilding in the rear yard. The station was rented from Andrew Clancy who was the landlord. In 1911 Michael Farrell was in charge of Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack even though he didn’t give his age or occupation in the census form. Michael Farrell lived with his family in three rooms in the building.
Michael Farrell gave few details about himself in the 1911 census. His wife, Mary Bridget, was born in Co. Cork and was aged 36 years. She was married for 14 years and had 9 children of whom 7 were living in 1911. The couple had four daughters and three sons living in Ballyduff R.I.C. barrack. These were Mary (born Co. Roscommon and aged 12 years), Bridget (born Waterford city and aged 11 years), Michael (born Waterford city and aged 9 years), Rebecca (born Waterford city and aged 6 years), Aileen (born Waterford city and aged 4 years), David (born Waterford city and aged 3 years) and Alan (born Waterford city and aged 1 year).
In the 1901 census Michael Farrell supplied more details of himself. Michael Farrell was born in Co. Roscommon and was 31 years old in 1901. He was a Roman Catholic and was a constable in the R.I.C. In 1901 he was then living at house 10 in Johnstown Street, Waterford city with his wife, two daughters and one son.
In 1911 Mary Ahearne (widow, aged 45 years, born Co. Cork) of house number 22 in Ballyduff village was employed as a servant at the R.I.C. barrack. Mary Ahearne had her daughter, also called Mary Ahearne, living with her. Mary junior was aged 21 years, born in Co. Waterford and was employed as a nursery maid, cook and domestic servant.
War of Independence 1919-1921
The first fighting in the Irish War of Independence in 1919-1921 began at Soloheadbeg in Co. Tipperary when two members of the R.I.C. were shot as members of the Irish Republican Army attempted to steal explosives from a local mine. As the war escalated the R.I.C. were in the front line and many members were caught in the middle as most of them were Irish. There were even cases of divided loyalties within families such as the Richardson family where Thomas Richardson was in the R.I.C. and his son Patrick Richardson was in the I.R.A. (Irish Independent, 26th June 1943).
Rear elevation of Ballyduff R.I.C. barracks
In March 1921 the Cork No. 2 Brigade Active Service Unit felled a number of trees on the Ballyduff to Fermoy road at Scartacrooka in the hope of ambushing some members of the British army or Auxiliaries or any British military units that came along. Before the British military arrived a R.I.C. patrol left Ballyduff R.I.C. barracks to investigate the fallen trees. When they arrived at Scartacrooka the I.R.A. opened fire. In the ensuing gun battle Constable Joseph Duddy was killed. Constable Duddy was stationed in Ballyduff R.I.C. barracks and was a native of Co. Armagh. He was married with two children.
In 1911 Joseph Duddy lived at 65 Carlisle Street, Belfast, and worked in the city as a draper’s assistant.
After the formation of the Irish Free State, a new police force was established, An Garda Síochána. Timothy Ryan was the first sergeant-in-charge of Ballyduff Garda Station, note it was no longer referred to as a barrack which has army associations.
The Garda station is no longer in use but the building is still maintained by the Office of Public Works.
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Maguire, H. (ed.), An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Waterford (Government of Ireland, 2014)
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