Barracks (Irish: Dún Uí Choileáin) is a former military
barracks in the Arbour Hill area of Dublin, Ireland. The buildings are
National Museum of Ireland
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History.
British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces and
Irish Army garrisons through
three centuries, the barracks were the oldest continuously occupied
example in the world.
Originally called simply The Barracks, and later The Royal Barracks,
the name was changed to Collins
Barracks when handed over to the Irish
Free State in 1922.
Built in 1702, and further extended in the late 18th century and 19th
century, the complex's main buildings are neo-classical in style.
Since 1997 the barracks have been home to collections of the National
Museum of Ireland (for Decorative Arts and History exhibits), and the
original structures have seen some award winning redevelopment and
conservation work to support this new role.
The museum faces the
Luas tram "red line" (Museum stop), a Memorial
Garden at Croppies Acre marking the 1798 rebellion, and the River
1 18th century to 1920s – British garrison
2 1920s to 1990s – Irish garrison
3 1997 to present – National Museum of Ireland
4 Film location
5 Selected bibliography
7 External links
18th century to 1920s – British garrison
Save for the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the barracks is the earliest
public building in Dublin, and was built from 1701 by the then
Surveyor General under Queen Anne, Thomas de Burgh. (Burgh was also
the architect of the famous library building at Trinity College,
Built on a site originally intended for a mansion of the Duke of
Ormonde, the complex has several large squares, each open on the south
side. The largest square (Clarke's Square) has arcaded colonnades on
the east and west sides, and the main buildings are faced with
The oldest inhabited barracks in Europe (and once one of the
largest), it was originally known simply as the
Barracks and later the
Royal Barracks, and a mainstay of British forces on the island for
several hundred years.
Theobald Wolfe Tone, one of the main leaders of the
1798 rebellion was
held prisoner, court-martialled and convicted of treason at the
Through the 19th century, up to 1,500 troops of various Regiments of
Foot (and up to two troops of horse) were stationed at the barracks.
However, by the 1880s conditions of accommodation were dangerously
inadequate, and they were strongly criticised following an
investigation by Commissioners of the
War Office as levels of disease
increased. This included outbreaks of enteric fever which claimed
the lives of a number of men, from amongst which were members of the
8th King's Royal Irish Hussars
8th King's Royal Irish Hussars – a predecessor to the current
regiment, The Queen's Royal Hussars.
During the 1916 Easter Rising, the 10th Battalion of the Royal Dublin
Fusiliers and other forces were deployed from the Royal Barracks to
fight the insurgent
Irish Citizen Army
Irish Citizen Army and
Irish Volunteers who
occupied strongly held positions close by on Usher's Island (under
Sean Heuston), the
Four Courts (under Ned Daly), and the GPO (under
1920s to 1990s – Irish garrison
Bronze relief and plaque commemorating General Richard Mulcahy at
Anglo-Irish Treaty (which marked the end of the Irish War of
Independence), the complex was handed over to troops of the Irish Free
State in December 1922.
It was almost immediately named Collins
Barracks after Michael
Collins, the first commander-in-chief of the Free State, who had been
killed that year. The barracks housed forces of the Free State Army
Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War and for 70 years was home to units of the
Eastern Command of the Irish Defence Forces. The 5th Infantry
Battalion marched out of the barracks for the last time in 1997,
and made way for the National Museum of Ireland.
1997 to present – National Museum of Ireland
Main article: National Museum of Ireland
Entrance to the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks.
As part of de-militarisation, the barracks underwent considerable
redevelopment – including the conversion and linking of two sides of
Clarke Square with glass faced structures. This work was awarded the
country's premier award for architectural conservation, the Silver
Medal for Conservation, by Royal Institute of the Architects of
Home to the Decorative Arts and History section of the National
Museum, the museum also has galleries dedicated to exhibits on
However, the main focus of the galleries is on arts, craft and wares,
including exhibits on: Irish coins and currency, silverware,
furniture, folklife and costumes, ceramics, glassware, etc.
Included are artefacts such as Etruscan vases, gauntlets worn by King
William at Battle of the Boyne, a life belt and oar salvaged from the
wreck of the
RMS Lusitania and a pocket book carried by Wolfe Tone
whilst imprisoned in the Barracks.
The barracks has featured in a number of film and television
productions, notably Michael Collins. The rear of the barracks is
often used as a period street setting for productions such as Ripper
Street, Penny Dreadful and the
1916 Rising mini-series Rebellion.
Short Histories of Irish
Barracks by Patrick Denis O'Donnell, in An
Cosantóir (Journal of the Irish Defence Forces), 1969–1973. (Plus
Barracks and Posts of Ireland by same author in the same
Wolfe Tone's Provost Prison, by Patrick Denis O'Donnell, in The Irish
Sword, no. 42, Volume XI, Military History Society of Ireland, Dublin,
Barracks over the years, by Patrick Denis O'Donnell,
in Hollybough, December 1994.
Barracks – A Brief History of Collins Barracks, by Mairead
Dunleavy, National Museum of Ireland, 2002.
^ a b "Archiseek entry on Collins Barracks". Archiseek.com. Retrieved
2 August 2011.
Barracks – World's "longest serving barracks"".
GuinnessWorldRecords.com. Archived from the original on 2 September
2006. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
^ "Abstract from 1888 report into the Prevelance [sic] of enteric
fever in the Royal Barracks, Dublin". Southampton University. Archived
from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
^ "Australian soldiers in the
Easter Rising 1916 (Accounts and notes
of forces deployed from Royal
Barracks in 1916)". Journal of the
Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
^ "2004 address by Minister for Arts/Tourism at launch of 'Guide to
Irish Military Heritage' exhibition at Collins Barracks". Military
Heritage of Ireland Trust. Archived from the original on 15 September
2008. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
Official Site –
National Museum of Ireland
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and
Irish State and Public buildings (pre- & post-independence)
Áras an Uachtaráin
Central Bank of Ireland
Chief Secretary's Lodge
General Post Office (GPO)
Green Street Court House