An t-Ardmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh turned the first sod on the redevelopment of Richmond Barracks in Inchicore on Tuesday 3rd November. Richmond Barracks is being redeveloped by Dublin City Council in commemoration of the 1916 Centenary.
The redevelopment will take place over the next six months with an official opening in May 2016. The barracks will be redeveloped into an interactive multimedia tourist attraction which will trace the story of the site from military barracks, to housing estate, to school. The leaders of the Irish revolution, along with over 3000 Irish rebels, including 77 women were held in Richmond Barracks in the aftermath of the 1916 Rebellion before they were sentenced or released. When the site was turned over to the Free State Army in 1922, it remained a keystone of working class Dublin, hosting a housing estate and a Christian Brother’s School.
Commenting on the redevelopment, An t-Ardmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh said: “Richmond Barracks played a central part in the history of 1916. Beyond 1916, it also provides a fascinating insight into the social history of working class Dublin in the 20th Century. It is essentially a lost chapter in Irish history and once the redevelopment is complete, we will see this unique site reclaim its rightful place in local and national history. Is áit thar a bheith luachmhar í dúinn agus beidh tuiscint níos fearr ag daoine ar stair na tíre tar éis dóibh teacht ar cuairt anseo. The Richmond Barracks Exhibition Centre will open to the public in May 2016 and we expect it will become a draw for tourists and a must-see for anyone interested in Ireland’s history.”
Richmond Barracks was built in 1810. Over 3000 Irish rebels were detained in the Barracks after the 1916 Easter Rising, including the seven signatories of the Proclamation as well as Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, Arthur Griffith, and William T. Cosgrave. 90 death sentences were handed out over the first two weeks of May, and 13 executions were later carried out in Kilmainham Gaol.
Richmond Barracks continued in use as a Military Barracks until 1924 when it was converted into social housing and renamed Keogh Square. Tenants lived at this location until 1969. St. Michael’s CBS operated on part of the site from 1898 to 2007. This unique site has been part of the community in Inchicore for over a hundred years and has a huge significance in Ireland’s national history.
Purcell Construction has been contracted to restore Richmond Barracks.
At the sod-turning event, school children from Our Lady of Lourdes National School, Inchicore were presented with the National Flag and a copy of the Proclamation by a member of the Defence Forces as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.