Aghavannagh Barracks

Construction of the Barracks began in 1803 as part of the Wicklow Military Road Fortifications. It followed designs drawn up by the Barrack Board in the 1770s and joins a list of other Military Infrastructure such as the Shannon Fortifications and Martello Towers erected to safeguard against a French Invasion. The Military Road put an end to rebellion in the Wicklow Mountains and after twenty years the Barracks passed from military use to the Parnell family of Avondale. Charles Stewart Parnell used the barracks as his shooting lodge, entertaining the Home Rule Party each August and enjoying the remote hills. Latterly it passed to John Redmond MP and became his home in Ireland. In the 1940s An Oige took on the barracks and ran it as a youth hostel until the early 1990s.

The current restoration project commenced in 2010 after twenty years of neglect and dereliction. The roof has since been restored, re-using all of the original blue bangor slates. The first courses have been bedded in hydraulic lime, and all slates laid in the random and diminishing style. The internal chimney flus repaired, the external chimneys flashed and repointed, the original granite ridging put back and new cast iron half round gutters and downpipes installed.

The inside of the building had been for the most part dry lined and much of the original fabric destroyed. However, on dismantling and taking back, pieces of original shutters, doors, glazing bars, architrave, skirting, chair rail, and cornice were found, providing vital clues to the restoration programme.

All of the internal walls have now been re-plastered with hydraulic lime, ceilings repaired, joists spliced, floors levelled and timber heads above every window and door opening replaced. The main cantilevered granite staircase and hallway has been sand blasted and the original iron work and bannister repaired. Seventy windows and over one hundred tonnes of mixed lime mortar later, the Barracks now serves as a family home and unique guesthouse.