Reggie Darling (b. 1938)
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Reggie Darling (b. 1938)


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Reggie Darling was recorded at the old vocational school of which he is a former pupil, in the Curragh Camp. This building now serves as a museum. Reggie’s grandfather came to the Curragh in 1903 and opened a barber shop, which was leased from the War Office, and in 1925 Reggie’s father took over the business and ran it until his death in 1950, when Reggie became proprietor. He has now retired and his son has taken over the business. Reggie maintains that this unbroken chain of four generations of a family of barbers must be almost unique in the country. There have been many changes in the Curragh Camp over the last century and Reggie lists some of these in this recording. As a child he recalls the class structure within the Camp, and explains that you were expected to abide by the strict social order. Reggie’s sisters were denied access to the tennis club as this would breach the social etiquette. During the Emergency period, all civilians were evacuated from the Camp, but in 1946 the families were invited back to replace the soldiers in the old family quarters. The civilian population increased to 3,500, and shops opened and expanded, social activities and games such as cricket, GAA and squash became very popular. In 1972, when Northern Ireland was in turmoil, Seán Mac Stiofán, Chief of Staff of the IRA, was flown to the Curragh Camp by helicopter to begin a term of imprisonment. The security structure at the Camp became much more restrictive as a result, and life for the civilians became very difficult, resulting in mass migration from the camp. The Camp is now named the Defence Forces Training Centre, and the Curragh Camp as Reggie knew it is no more. Demolition of some of the old buildings has taken place, and will continue and this is something which is a cause of great regret to Reggie Darling.

Additional information



Audio series:

Kildare county, first series


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

71.76 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Life in the Curragh Camp

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe