games on the
the establishment of peace with Russia and the disembodiment of the Militia, the
immediate objects for which the camp was apparently formed ceased to exist.
However, as a camp of instruction its value was undiminished as the extensive
Curragh plains afforded ample manoeuvre room for infantry, artillery and
cavalry. The years that followed saw the assembly of large numbers of troops on
the Curragh, during the summer, for manoeuvres.
August, 1860, a total of 11,000 men were located in the camp or under canvas,
east of the camp, in the Donnelly’s Hollow area. The summer of 1860 was
particularly wet and culminated in a disastrous downpour of 48-hours duration in
mid-August. An officer of the “Fourth Lights” considering the site of the
The Fenian movement led to the’ XIV King’s Hussars being ordered from Scotland to Ireland in May, 1868, where the regiment was stationed at Newbridge. During its stay in the area, the unit took part in many field days on the Curragh. A member of the unit has left a record of one particularly memorable exercise:
were five regiments of Cavalry, double that number of infantry, and about forty
field-guns. At the further end of the Curragh, towards Rathbride, ran an
isolated ridge, occupied by a skeleton enemy, and the plan of attack included
the forcing of this position by the infantry, which was carried out in gallant
style, whilst the cavalry, in two bodies, hovered on either flank, the left
being composed of Lancers, and the right of Hussars and Dragoons.
the the ridge the country fell into the level again, across which the beaten foe
would have to retreat, and to make a nice finish to the day’s operations it was arranged that a couple of squadrons from
each body of cavalry should charge in pursuit. In order to accomplish this,
they had to skirt the ends of the ridge, and then incline to right and left,
until they met in the centre of the plain beyond, where they were to form in one
line and charge.
troop was amongst those selected for the right cavalry division, and as the
signal to go was given away we dashed, slashing and cutting, the pursuing
practice, in fine style; and after rounding the end of the ridge made for the
point of juncture in the plain beyond. But now ensued an altogether unexpected
development, for, as the two small bodies of cavalry
Lancers lowered the points of their lances to avoid splitting our men, and some
catching in the ground jerked the riders out of their saddles, whilst all of us
came into violent collision. For a moment it seemed
like a regular battle-field, many of the horses being bowled over, and others,
with empty saddles, dashing madly about. As far as I myself was concerned, the
feeling I had when I saw a smash inevitable was, “Look out for Phil Garlic”
(a well known military “ mind yourself”
expression), and warding off a thrust from a gallant Lancer, he received the
benefit of a whack from my sword, and the next moment I came full tilt against
one of his comrades, and we both rolled on the turf .
The writer of this account, none the worse for his experience was quartered under canvas at the Curragh in 1870, where it rained nearly the whole time He avoided the rigours of the drill season by being told off asorderly to Colonel “Chinese’ Gordon, who was in charge of the survey for a proposed new camp for cavalry. He had fond memories of this period and recalled