Friday 9 December 2016

Iconic Richmond Barracks given a new lease of life

Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30

Deirdre Smith, Emma Geraghty, Emily Duffy and Katie McCarthy represent the 77 women who were imprisoned at Richmond Barracks in 1916 at the ceremony yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Deirdre Smith, Emma Geraghty, Emily Duffy and Katie McCarthy represent the 77 women who were imprisoned at Richmond Barracks in 1916 at the ceremony yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Acting Tánaiste Joan Burton and the President's wife Sabina Coyne-Higgins were among hundreds who gathered to remember those whose fates were sealed at the barracks at the state ceremonial event

Exactly a century after Rising leaders including Pádraig Pearse and Thomas Clarke learned their fate at Richmond Barracks, there were happier scenes at the grand reopening of the historic site in the capital yesterday.

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More than 3,000 rebels were infamously held in the former British army barracks in the Dublin suburb of Inchicore in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising.

Christina O'Loughlin was just one of the family members who yesterday welcomed its transformation into a multi- media tourist attraction.

School teacher Ms O'Loughlin - whose father's brother Sean O'Loughlin was deported to Frongoch prison camp in Wales - said: "My uncle Sean was here, he was in the GPO and was made Commandant General by Connolly at the last moment.

"When he got here, he obviously had a [badge] on him indicating his rank and a British soldier pulled it off him because he was only coming up to 21. And as a result, he didn't get executed. It saved his life.

"There's something very strange about being here," added the secretary of the 1916 Relatives Association. "I was just thinking earlier on that my uncle was actually in this room and I was wondering what was it was like - how did he feel?"

Acting Tánaiste Joan Burton and the President's wife Sabina Coyne-Higgins were among hundreds who gathered to remember those whose fates were sealed at the barracks at the state ceremonial event.

Meanwhile, local arts project 'Flames, Not Flowers' paid special tribute to the 77 women who passed through the building - which later served as a boys' school and a housing estate - 100 years ago.

Speaking after a reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhalaigh told how the century-old document is still "the yardstick by which we judge our progress" as a society.

"The struggle for justice, for human rights, for equality does not just take place in Leinster House. It takes place in our schools, in our workplaces, in our communities.

"When the flags and the bunting come down, when the speeches are finished, when the historians and the filmmakers have moved on to new projects, what I hope will be left behind is renewed sense of our obligations, of our commitments, not just to the Proclamation, not even just to the men and women of Easter Week, but to each other."

Irish Independent

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