On Thursday 2 October 2014 the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, formally announced the restoration of Richmond Barracks in Inchicore, Dublin 8. Funding has been approved for the project as part of the capital programme for the 1916 centenary commemorations.
Richmond Barracks was originally built in 1810-1814. Soldiers from the barracks served in the Boer War and the Crimean War, the Boer War, and the First World War; amongst the latter was the poet Francis Ledwidge. It is of particular relevance to the Easter Rising of 1916, as large numbers of prisoners were detained in the barracks after the surrender. The signatories of the proclamation (with the exception of James Connolly) and other leaders were interned, court-martialled and sentenced to death in the barracks. Others detained in Richmond Barracks after the rising included Eamon De Valera, W.T. Cosgrave, and Michael Collins. In 1922 the Barracks was handed over to the Free State Army and renamed Keogh Barracks. In 1924 they were handed over to Dublin Corporation, converted into housing, and renamed Keogh Square. The three buildings which remain today were retained for educational purposes and in 1929 became a Christian Brothers’ School. The €3.5 million restoration works, which are being developed in collaboration with Dublin City Council, St. Michael’s Estate Regeneration Board, the Inchicore-Kilmainham Heritage Group and other stakeholders, will allow the barracks to become a cultural, education, and heritage facility.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Minister Humphreys noted that ‘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 that 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. I would like to commend the work carried out by the St. Michael’s Estate Regeneration Board in advancing proposals for the development of this site as well as highlighting the important role that these buildings played in our national history. This project is part of the €22 million capital funding package announced by my Department, which will see a number of other projects completed in time for the 1916 Commemorations, including the interpretive centre at the GPO, and the visitor facility at Kilmainham Gaol. I look forward to these projects progressing over the next 12 to 18 months’.