The quality of this photograph is not great, but the content is fascinating. It shows the colours of the Fourth Battalion of the Connaught Rangers being placed in the Memorial Chapel in Renmore Barracks in 1913. It was obviously an important occasion, judging from the number of troops and onlookers. Though you can barely see it in our picture, there are other columns of soldiers in the background, through the gates, waiting to march out of the Barracks.
The association of the military with Renmore has a long history, beginning with the construction of the original fort there in 1643. It was only used for a relatively short time, not being very practical, and some it was eventually removed in the mid 19th century to make way for the building of the Barracks.
In the meantime, The Connaught Rangers had been raised, on the 25th of September, 1793, by the Earl of Clanricarde. They were so called because most of the personnel came from the Western Province. In fact, they were mostly members of the old territorial families who carried far and wide the name and fame of Irishmen; Blakes, Burkes, Moores, Brownes, Bodkins, Kellys, and representatives from most western families.
The original uniform was red with yellow facings, until the introduction of khaki. The Regimental motto was "Quis Seperabit", and the badge was the Harp and Crown, with the elephant and sphinx representing their campaigns in India and Egypt. Their remarkable acts of bravery in the Peninsular war earned them the nickname "The Devil's Own".
The Rangers fought in Flanders, The West Indies, India, Buenos Aires, The Peninsular War, Canada, France, etc. They were among the first to land in the Crimea on the outbreak of war with Russia in 1854. In 1877-79, they were in South Africa against the Zulu tribes. They fought in the Boer War, and were in France and Belgium in the 1st World War. They were a constituent part of the 10th Division, consisting of 20,000 men (almost all Irish) who fought in Gallipoli under the Command of a Galway man, General Sir Bryan Mahon. In June, 1920, mutiny broke out amongst the Rangers in India, following reports from Ireland of Black & Tan atrocities. Two of the mutineers died, and another was later executed.
In July, 1922, they were disbanded. They had a long and important link with Renmore - a photo of the barracks in a history of the Regiment refers to it simply as "The Depot".
There will be a one day seminar entitled "Remembering the Connaught Rangers on Saturday next at the Kingsvalley Hotel on the Dublin Road from 11am to 4pm. There are a number of speakers lined up, and at 4pm, there will be a visit to renmore Barracks, with a talk there. For further information, contact Joe Loughnane at 091 555916.
On Sunday next, at 5pm, Dr. Michael Ryan will give a talk on "Significant new findings on Archeology of East Galway" at The Oranmore Lodge Hotel. All are welcome.