Newbridge in 1868


Being the Military Memoirs for 25 Years of a Troop-Sergeant-Major

of  the 14th (King's) Hussars.

By Herbert Compton


Cassell & Co. Ltd (London, 1897)


Pages 80-84:


We remained at Hamilton till May, 1868, when we received orders for Ireland, and, marching to Glasgow, embarked on board a steamer, and reached Dublin the same evening. Within an hour of mooring alongside the quay we were all ashore, saddled, mounted, and ready for a long march of twenty-five Irish miles to Newbridge.


This was the station where the regiment had been re-mounted after its return from India, and I had heard a good deal about it from the old hands. The barracks occupied an enormous extent of ground - in fact, the whole side of the principal street of the town, and were surrounded by a high stone wall, loop-holed for defence, and with a strong tower at each comer. Two sides of the barracks were flanked by the river Liffey, on the third side was the main street of Newbridge, and on the fourth an open space of waste land, colonised by a number of unfortunate women, who were tolerated by the authorities, and lived in thatched straw huts known as "wren’s nests."


The side of the main street fronting our barracks was chiefly occupied by public-houses, and low kinds of music and singing-halls, for the special recreation of the military. There was one hotel, frequented entirely by non-commissioned officers, its chief attraction being a billiard table. And a wonderful one it was, the bed being made of wood and the balls of stone. There were no billiard tables the sergeants' messes in those days, so that this one was considered a discovery. But whilst many of our Non-Coms enjoyed themselves with the cue, I found a far pleasanter source of amusement in fishing in the Liffey. The sport is one of which I am passionately fond, and it delighted me to find the river full of trout, and nothing to interfere with my catching them, except themselves.