THE BATTLE-AXE GUARDS, based at Dublin Castle, were analogous to the Beefeaters in the Tower of London.
A 19th century description provides an insight of their ceremonial duties:
The Lord Lieutenant [of Ireland] holds a Court at the Castle; where levées are sometimes held; and His Excellency's State and Household is, in every respect, becoming a representative of Majesty.The Battle-Axe Guards were disbanded, on grounds of cost, in 1831.
He is allowed a company of battle-axe men, under the command of a captain, who has the rank of colonel; and two subalterns, who have the rank of captains.
The battle-axe-guards do duty in the public apartments of the Court. Besides this guard, the Lord Lieutenant has a bodyguard, consisting of a subaltern's guard of horse, with a captain of infantry, two subalterns, and sixty men.
This guard of honour is lodged in the Castle, and relieved every day by a detachment from the Royal Barracks.
The form of relieving guard at the Castle, has always had attractions for the citizens of Dublin, who attend in great numbers every day, to witness this very interesting spectacle.
The official residences of His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland were Dublin Castle, and Viceregal Lodge, Phoenix Park, both in County Dublin.
First published in July, 2013.