Admiralty Recreation Grounds, Castletownbere, Co. Cork

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Where: Unnamed Road, Co. Cork, Ireland

When: Unknown

It just isn't cricket, at the moment, with football pitches laid out at the Admiralty Recreation Grounds in Castletownberehaven, County Cork. Today, when the presence of the British fleet is hardly a memory, this ground must appear to be an anachronism. In its time however, it would have had plenty of players - with lots of crews and support staff to play and enjoy the bracing Atlantic air and the joys of football, cricket and other sports. Has it reverted to the wild since this was taken?

beachcomberaustralia suggests (and others corroborate) that this image was captured at the Lawrence Cove recreation grounds on Bere Island. With the Lawrence Cove National School as the "robust" looking building on the left. While it seems that the lower-pitch (centre/middle-ground) has reverted somewhat to the wild, the upper-pitch (right/background) is still put to the same use.....


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Catalogue range c.1865-1914. Though likely c.1890s/1900s

NLI Ref: L_ROY_08952

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 8759
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio thelawrencephotographcollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland sportsfields recreationgrounds admiralty naval marines supportstaff fleet ships crews soccer cricket football goals rugby castletownbere castletownberehaven cocork ireland raerainn rerrin bere island lawrencecove school locationidentified

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 03/Feb/2017 09:42:55

    According to this Twitter conversation, it's on Bere Island - twitter.com/cork1914to1924/status/529669140043554816 Streeview - goo.gl/maps/dErTjoxweqJ2 - see building on left, which was the island school according to Twitter. Edit - or perhaps a bit further back - goo.gl/maps/o7wGxLPZdqG2

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    O Mac

    • 03/Feb/2017 10:10:50

    The boundary stones look new? The pavilion had been glazed in by the time Fergus O Connor got there. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000290806 Your "bracing Atlantic air" must have got to them.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 03/Feb/2017 10:54:28

    From the Irish Examiner on Friday, 17 June 1904 (the day after the original Bloomsday!)

    BERE ISLAND ATHLETIC SPORTS The Bere Island Athletic Sports were quite up to the usual standard, which is saying a good deal. These events are looked forward to by a large section of the people of Bearehaven, and are always most successful and liberally patronised. ... The sports were held in the Admiralty Recreation Grounds, which are beautifully situated and splendidly laid out for the special purpose of affording a proper ground for such events. The whole place is well adapted and equipped for recreation purposes. ... The R.F., twin-screw launch "Miner", under the capable command of Qr.-Sergt. Hawken, R.E., was at the service of those who wished to avail of the opportunity of being comfortably conveyed from Castletown to Laurence Cove.

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    guliolopez

    • 03/Feb/2017 11:58:06

    I have an old/admiralty map of Bere Island somewhere. But as far as I know the recreation grounds were on the isthmus at Lawrence Cove. Around here. EDIT: Not sure how I overlooked it, but [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] had already linked the same spot. And included the National School in the angle (it does seem a likely candidate for the robust looking building on the far-left of the Lawrence Shot). Though the immediate ground-level topography doesn't seem to fully line-up - the OSI maps indicate a tidal influence close-by, so there could have been some "shifting" since. Whatever the location, I love the image itself. The ladies with the pram, and the spectators in naval uniform are all great. EDIT2: Looking at it again, I think [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] has it spot on. No lingering doubt on location in my view :)

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 03/Feb/2017 12:53:41

    A colour postcard version from 1904.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 03/Feb/2017 12:56:17

    The Tablet, 12th Jan 1901: A radical change in the scheme of naval home defence is implied in the choice of Berehaven as the future headquarters of the Channel Squadron. It has up to this been a frequent rendezvous for the Fleet, but the preparations for its perma-nent adoption as a base were carried on so secretly that the intentions of the Admiralty have only now trans-pired. It was recently noted that a vote was asked for to cover the armament of the forts at Berehaven, and it now seems that among the other changes effected there is the laying out of an enormous recreation ground for the men. It is a splendid anchorage, with deep water so close to its precipiteus shores that a biscuit may be flung on the rocks from the deck of a first-class battleship. It lies at the entrance of Bantry Bay, a deep and picturesque inlet running inland for twenty miles with a mountainous background, The decision to mobilise the Reserve Squadron three times a year for independent evolutions is another development of naval strategy, and the shifting of the naval base from the south coast of England to that of Ireland is a new depar-ture of considerable significance. A civil population will naturally follow the ships, and the business of provisioning them should prove a lucrative one for the farmers of south-west Cork.

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    swordscookie back and trying to catch up!

    • 03/Feb/2017 14:28:09

    Abandoned Ireland has the following: "In 1898 the British Military raised a compulsory purchase order on the eastern end of Bere island, West Cork. Tennants were cleared from the land in order to construct fortifications. The purpose of these fortifications was to protect the British Fleet at anchor in the bay while routine maintenance was carried out. Seven gun batteries were constructed at the Ardaragh Battery and the larger Lonehort Battery. The Ardaragh battery pointed northwards towards Castletownberehaven bay while the Lonehort battery faced eastwards towards the eastern approach to the bay. Three batteries were also built to defend the western approach to the bay, Reenduff, Derrycreveen and Ardnakinna. All of these batteries were modest constructions compared to the site of Lonehort battery. The Lonehort battery consisted of two 6" guns and one 9" gun. Over time the battery developed into a fort with ammunition stores, barracks and watchtowers with high powered searchlights. A 15 foot dry-moat was built surrounding this fort and this could only be crossed at one point by a small iron bridge. This fort became known as Fort Berehaven." I always thought that Bantry was the location of the main naval base on the south west coast but I suppose Bantry Bay was close enough?

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 03/Feb/2017 14:38:54

    Thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] (and others) for the input on the location. I concur that the school (to the left), the angle of the road, and the "split level" between the pitches all add up to confirm the location as the Lawrence Cove Recreation Ground. Map updated accordingly. What do we think about date? The naval and sports-wear fashions don't really help with dating, but the ladies' outfits somehow suggest "turn of century" to me. This page on the Berehaven GAA team would seem to suggest that some form of "international match" was played here in 1911, and involving the (British) military. And another (perhaps local?) team. The same page suggests that someone has records back to 1901 - meaning maybe it's possible that someone someday might identify the match captured here :)

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    Niall McAuley

    • 03/Feb/2017 15:09:58

    I think that this pill box would be visible if built, meaning the date is before 1908 and after 1898.

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    guliolopez

    • 03/Feb/2017 15:49:03

    Well spotted [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley]. I agree. That pillbox would likely be visible. Somewhere roughly along/behind the dead-ball line (between the goal posts and the gate posts in the "upper" pitch). So before 1908.

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    philfluther

    • 03/Feb/2017 18:56:27

    Sun accursed. And, the Hag of Beara vicinity, too. Wonder if Tom Crean ever.

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 03/Feb/2017 21:04:33

    Via Trove, 1898 evidence that the Bere Island fortification plans were not too secret; it was going to be the "Irish Gibraltar" ! - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/82394123 And a Droneview (school etc at about 1:40) with interesting glimpses of the fortifications - youtu.be/wBsjQgV9COI

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 03/Feb/2017 21:23:08

    Mr French / Lawrence also took two photos just to the left including the school, but no sign of the pram - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318494 catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318506

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 03/Feb/2017 21:31:38

    A slice of Red Herring, but this 'similar item' is on board HMS 'Dido' from the sailor's caps now readable via megazoom™ - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318510 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Dido_(1896)

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    Dún Laoghaire Micheál

    • 04/Feb/2017 00:18:07

    Spot the ball !

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    swordscookie back and trying to catch up!

    • 04/Feb/2017 14:05:49

    [https:[email protected]] You can see the ball on lower pitch down on the extreme right near the sideline and in line with the guy with the bellbottom trousers!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 04/Feb/2017 17:17:16

    Thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] and [https://www.flickr.com/photos/swordscookie] for input on the date - I've further tweaked the description slightly. (I'd sound the date/location klaxon, but it's now locked away at the weekend :) )

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    Dún Laoghaire Micheál

    • 06/Feb/2017 10:07:41

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/swordscookie] Daths raight. :)

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    Dr. Ilia

    • 09/Feb/2017 09:00:07

    Wonderful Capture!!!