At 10.20am on the morning of Thursday 23 May 1899 the first artillery shell was fired at the new Glen of Imaal Artillery range in West Wicklow. On the evening of Thursday 23 May 2024 over forty people gathered in the Officers Mess at Coolmoney camp for a talk to mark the 125th anniversary of this event. Our speaker was Liam Kenny and we were joined by several local people together with members of the Donard Imaal Local History and Heritage group.

Liam recounted how the first salvo came to be fired and why the Glen of Imaal was deemed to be a most suitable site for the ‘big guns’, possessing more firing positions, allowing for variations in the location and heights of targets and crucially it was considered to be a valley with a relatively sparse population.  The idea of an artillery range at the Glen was met initially with some opposition although eventually an arrangement was reached between the British authorities, local landlords and tenants.   After the initial part of the lecture our party drove to Leitrim Graveyard where Liam continued his talk against the stunning backdrop of Lugnaquilla, and close to the terrain where the first shell was fired.  Others shared their recollections and anecdotes at Leitrim, providing a local perspective on this interesting topic and concluding a very informative and enjoyable evening.  Our thanks to the Department of Defence for the hospitality extended to us at Coolmoney Camp.

Photo: The second part of the lecture at Leitrim Graveyard

Back to News and Events