Tuesday 7 October 2014

Richmond Barracks to be restored for 1916 centenary

The surviving buildings of the former Richmond Barracks in Inchicore, Dublin 8, are to be restored and will reopen as a cultural, education and heritage facility. Funding of €3.5 million has been approved by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DAHG) as part of its programme for the 1916 Commemorations.

With its 200-year history, Richmond Barracks represents both the British colonial era and the history of Dublin's working-class families. Most regiments of the British Army spent some time there during its 108-year spell as a military barracks, and most Irishmen who went to fight in WW1 departed for England or the continent from Inchicore.

But it is its place in Ireland's struggle for Independence that is of most current focus. After the Easter Rising, it was used as a holding and processing centre for more than 3,000 suspected rebels, and most of the signatories of the Proclamation and other leaders were interned, court-martialled and sentenced to death there. Eamon De Valera, W.T. Cosgrave and Michael Collins were among its temporary 'guests'.

Announcing the restoration and redevelopment plans, DAHG Minister Heather Humphreys TD said: "Richmond Barracks is particularly remembered as the place of confinement for so many of the personnel of the Easter Rising. It is in that context I welcome this regenerative proposal for the Barracks, which will recognise it as one of the key heritage projects in our centenary programme.

“I would also like to acknowledge the position of the soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment who were stationed here in 1916 – I'm sure most of them could never have imagined being called upon to fight Irishmen in Dublin when they signed up; they must have felt themselves to be in an impossible position.

“It is right that we should remember all of those associated with Richmond Barracks who lost their lives due to conflict, and I am very keen to see their stories told."

The project is part of a DAHG's €22 million capital funding package which will see a number of other projects completed in time for the 1916 Commemorations. These include the interpretive centre at the GPO, and the visitor facility at Kilmainham Gaol.