THE LAST OF THE “BLACK HOLE” AT CURRAGH

by ehistoryadmin on November 28, 2014

LEINSTER  LEADER 25th June 1955

The Last of the “Black Hole” at Curragh

Crashing down in a welter of broken bricks and powdered mortar last week came one of the few remaining direct associations with British rule in this country.

            The tall chimney stack of the old R.I.C. Barracks at Brownstown, Curragh, had to be strenuously treated by crowbar and judiciously applied battering ram before it finally disintegrated in defeat.  And now all that is left to mark the site of a symbol of British authority is a heap of bricks.

            There were originally three wooden huts forming the police station.  All were built at the same time, but there is no local history of the actual date of construction.  Found in the rafters of the hut demolished last week was a cardboard “Notice to Constabulary”, dated 1845, and signed by D. McGregor, Inspector General, DublinCastle.

            Up to quite recently a local family occupied the hut, demolished last week.  It was the last of the trio, the first being taken down about ten years ago, and the second about two years ago.  The sole survivor became too dangerous for habitation and was vacated by the occupants.  A few months ago the Department involved, sold the hut for demolition, and the final chapter was added last week when that tall chimney came tumbling down.

“The Black Hole

            This last hut was, fittingly enough, the actual police barrack, complete with cell; the huts previously demolished were the Sergeant’s Quarters and the Police Quarters.  And the British were extraordinarily thorough in their efforts to prevent their prisoners from escaping.

            In the room set aside for detention purposes (local history refers to it as ‘the black hole’) the cavity between the wooden walls had been packed with bricks and mortar, and the inner walls had been panelled with broad planks over an inch thick rigidly bolted and stapled to the inner brick-work.

            The cell door was of mass concrete, over a foot deep, and even the ceiling was completely bricked in.  What little ventilation there was came from narrow slits set just below ceiling level.

            Floor boards, joists, rafters and the timber construction generally were found on demolition to be remarkably well preserved.  While one might expect it nothing of historical interest was discovered, although the “Notice to Constabulary” referred to previously made interesting and amusing reading.

Re-typed by Mary Murphy

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