Ammunition find at Leixlip Castle

An army bomb disposal unit made safe a quantity of World War 1 era munitions in Leixlip on Thursday last, April 21.

An army bomb disposal unit made safe a quantity of World War 1 era munitions in Leixlip on Thursday last, April 21.

The material was found during some building work on a wall at Leixlip Castle the property owned by Hon. Desmond Guinness.

Commdt Neil Nolan. spokesperson for the Defence Forces, said they sent a team to the Castle in response to a request by the Gardai.

“The team arrived on scene at 12.55pm, and a quantity of World War 1 era munitions, including 113 rounds of .303 rifle ammunition and five grenades, were uncovered following the collapse of an old garden wall.

 “The munitions were made safe by means of a controlled explosion and the scene was declared safe at 2pm,” he said.

Cmmdt. Nolan said the ammunition would have been used in the Lee Enfield rifle at the time and these were a standard weapon of the British army.

The Lee Enfield was used by the Irish Defence Forces up to the mid 1960s and they changed during their period in the Congo.

The grenades would also have been used by the British army at the time here, just before the Irish State was founded.

The bomb disposal team was involved in a similar type operation in Newbridge last October when some World War II era materials were found.

Leixlip Castle was bought by William Connolly of Castletown in 1732 and passed out of the hands of his descendants in 1914.

Desmond Guinness, who bought the Castle in 1958, was surprised by the find.

“So many people on motorbikes arrived,” he said, describing the scene.

He said the wall in question had collapsed during the cold weather spell and it was only when the a worker came recently to do some reconstruction work that the ammunition was revealed.