FAMOUS NAAS CANNON

by ehistoryadmin on November 28, 2015

LEINSTER LEADER 13 August 1998 

JOAN WALSH

An eleventh hour intervention by local historians has saved the town’s best known military land-mark- for the time being. As former, Leader journalist Liam Kenny was galvanising support for his, appeal to save the cannon at soon-to-be closed Devoy Barracks the army was preparing to have the historic piece of artillery transferred to the Curragh.

The cannon was earmarked to repose in front of the command headquarters of the officers mess “on instruction of the GOC of the Curragh.” Army spokesman Comdt. John Ryan said; “The decision is made. Of course there are many possibilities but the feeling it is should be placed in the Curragh.”

However, historians bitterly annoyed over the sudden move immediately swung into action. “This should be kept as a memento to the military tradition in Naas which goes back to the early 1800’s,” insisted an angry Liam Kenny. “It has been in Naas for over 100 years and it should stay there. I know that local historians around Naas would be of the same view,” he added.

He recalled how in his own schooldays, “the cannon in the barracks was always a topic of conversation. “Given that the barracks was closed to the outside world it was the most public symbol of the barracks in Naas.

UDC chairman Cllr. Paddy Behan lent his support to the campaign by lobbying the Defence Minister. “It seems the Department of Defence knew nothing about the move,” he said, adding, “We have asked for a stay to be put on it until we enter into meaningful discussions.

According to Liam Kenny’s research the cannon is a survivor of the Crimean War of 1854-56. It was cast in a foundry in Russia in 1831 and carries on it Cyrillic script and a double headed eagle of Imperial Russia. It weighs about two tonnes. The cannon came to Naas in 1956 when the barracks was reopened to house the Apprentice School.

Said Mr. Kenny: “the fact remains that this spectacular landmark of the military presence in Naas has been a feature of the town for at least forty years. It would be fitting memorial to the military presence in Naas stretching back through many generations and recall for the example the local men who served in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the many who rallied to the flag and served in the Army during the Emergency area as well as the great Naas involvement in the LDF and the FCA.

He said it would also act as a permanent link between the Army Apprentice School and the town of Naas where the school had it origins. “The cannon would have been brought to Naas like many of the cannons captured in the Crimean War by the British army as trophies of war,” explained Liam. Devoy Barracks itself was built in 1813 at a cost of £17,900 with accommodation for over 300 men which rose to 500 around the time of the First World War.

 

 

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