Holywood Palace Barracks History Project

A project is in hand to research the history of Holywood Palace Barracks and their relationship with the town of Holywood, from their beginning in the 1890s up to the start of the Troubles.
The goal is to produce a written history of the Barracks, drawing on original papers, regimental journals, and personal reminiscences of those who lived and worked there, and also of Holywood residents who had contact with the Barracks.
The exercise is involving members of the Holywood U3A Local History Group, some of whom have established the ‘Holywood People Remember’ project, to record residents’ memories of past times in Holywood. It is also drawing on the expertise of local historians.
Those involved with the project are most grateful for any historic material held by local residents, including old photographs and mementoes.

Contact Name:

Robin Masefield

Phone Number:

07966 589091

Email Address:




The former Bishop’s Palace was acquired by the War Office (and then demolished) in 1890 to make way for the Barracks. The iconic clock tower was designed by the leading Ulster architect Vincent Craig, brother of the politician Lord Craigavon. Some of the other original buildings also survive, including the Officers Mess. The history includes the tragic deaths by gas poisoning of the five Poole children in 1933, the Sandes Soldiers’ Home (one of only four now left world-wide) and the many linkages between the Barracks and the town, including school, church, medical and social activities. While many local families began as a result of meetings between soldiers and local residents, their stories are often little known.

For more information, or to register interest in contributing material to the project, please contact Robin Masefield, at rmasefield@hotmail.com or on 07966 589091.

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