Collins Barracks, Cork

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Collins Barracks, Cork
Dún Uí Choileáin, Corcaigh
Cork, Ireland
The Barracks, Cork.jpg
Entrance gate and guardroom in the late 19th Century
Collins Barracks, Cork is located in Ireland
Collins Barracks, Cork
Collins Barracks, Cork
Coordinates51°54′29″N 8°27′43″W / 51.908°N 8.462°W / 51.908; -8.462Coordinates: 51°54′29″N 8°27′43″W / 51.908°N 8.462°W / 51.908; -8.462
TypeMilitary barracks
Site information
OperatorRepublic of Ireland Irish Army
Open to
the public
Partial (Barracks museum is open to public at certain times)
Site history
Built1801 (1801)
Garrison information
Garrison1st Southern Brigade of Irish Army

Collins Barracks is a military barracks on the Old Youghal Road on the north side of Cork in Ireland. Originally serving as a British military barracks from the early 19th century, it was handed-over to the Irish military following the Irish War of Independence, and remains the headquarters of the 1st Brigade of the Irish Army.[1] A museum in the barracks is open to the public at selected times.[2]



Originally erected between 1801 and 1806, the barracks' works were completed by Abraham Hargrave to designs by John Gibson.[3][4] Located in a prominent position on the hills overlooking Cork city and the River Lee, the complex was initially known simply as The Barracks. It was extended in 1849 and renamed to Victoria Barracks, to celebrate a visit by Queen Victoria.[5]


In the period following the Easter Rising (1916), the Irish nationalist Thomas Kent was executed by firing squad at the barracks. He was the only person outside Dublin, apart from Roger Casement, to be executed for participation following the Rising.[6]

During the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), Auxiliary forces based at the barracks were implicated in events surrounding the Burning of Cork.[7] British forces from the barracks were also involved in the executions of several Republican prisoners. On 1 February 1921 Cornelius Murphy was executed[8] and then on 28 April 1921, four Volunteers, Maurice Moore, Thomas Mulcahy, Patrick O'Sullivan and Patrick Ronayne, were executed by firing squad at the barracks,[9][10][11] followed by the execution of Patrick Casey a few days later,[12][13][11] and of Daniel O'Brien on 16 May 1921.[11][12]

Removal of material following the burning of the barracks by retreating Anti-Treaty forces in August 1922

Following the War of Independence, under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and after housing British forces in the city for more than one hundred years, the barracks complex was handed over to Commandant Sean Murray of the army of the Irish Free State in 1922.[14] Key buildings within the barracks were substantially damaged by retreating Anti-Treaty forces during the Irish Civil War.[15][16] After this conflict, the barracks was renamed for Michael Collins, the first commander-in-chief of the Free State, and a native of County Cork.[17]

Late 20th century[edit]

A garrison for the Southern Command of the Irish Army since the 1920s, the complex was visited by US President John F. Kennedy in 1963.[14]

The barracks now houses the headquarters of 1 Southern Brigade,[1] with permanent and reserve elements of several army corps, including artillery, cavalry, communications, engineering and logistics units.[18]

From 2003 the barracks was subject to a modernisation programme, with the building of new messing facilities, a gymnasium and other works.[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Army - Organisation - 1st Brigade". Defence Forces (Ireland). Retrieved 31 August 2014. The [1st] Brigade Headquarters is located in Collins Barracks, Cork
  2. ^ "Military Museums - Collins Barracks Cork". Military Heritage of Ireland Trust Limited. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Irish Architects - Abraham Hargrave - Works". Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Dictionary of Irish Architects - John Gibson - Works". Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  5. ^ Loughlin, James (1 October 2002). "Allegiance and Illusion: Queen Victoria's Irish Visit of 1849". History. History. 87 (288): 491–513. doi:10.1111/1468-229X.00238. JSTOR 24427468.
  6. ^ "Mystery of Cork's 1916 patriot may be solved soon". Cork Independent. 27 February 2014.
  7. ^ White, Gerry; O'Shea, Brendan (2006). The Burning of Cork. Mercier Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-1-85635-522-3.
  8. ^ "Volunteer Captain Cornelius Murphy". The Irish Revolution. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  9. ^ Aideen Carroll. Sean Moylan: Rebel Leader. Mercier Press. p. 120.
  10. ^ "Four Irishmen Are Executed by Crown Forces of England". The Miami News. 27 April 1921.
  11. ^ a b c "Cork County Gaol, Memorial to Executed IRA Volunteers". Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  12. ^ a b Seán Enright. The Trial of Civilians by Military Courts: Ireland 1921.
  13. ^ "Death of Patrick Casey; 2nd May, 1921; Cork". National Archives of the UK.
  14. ^ a b "Collins Barracks Museum detail (including pictures)". Cork Heritage Open Day. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  15. ^ Gerry White, Brendan O'Shea (2013). Irish Volunteer Soldier 1913-23. Osprey Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 978-1472801814.
  16. ^ "Irregulars Burning Cork — Barracks and Public Buildings in Flames". Galway Observer. 12 August 1922. The flames of burning buildings lit up the sky over Cork City on Thursday night. The irregulars had consigned to the fires all the military and police barracks, Government House, the Victoria Hotel, and other structures in the centre of the city
  17. ^ "Collins Barracks Museum - Defence Forces Museums - Info Centre - Defence Forces". Defence Forces (Ireland). Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Contact Us". Defence Forces (Ireland). Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Collins Barracks, Cork [...] 1 Brigade Artillery Regiment \ 1 Brigade Cavalry Squadron \ 1 Brigade CIS Company \ 1 Brigade Engineer Company \ 1 Brigade Transport Company \ 1 Brigade Ordnance Company \ 1 Brigade Military Police Company \ Reserve Units: 4 Artillery Battery \ 5 Artillery Battery \ 2 x Cavalry Squadron Troops \ CIS Radio Platoon \ 2 x Transport Platoons \ Military Police Platoon
  19. ^ "Department of Defence - Press Release - Military Museum in Collins Barracks, Cork to be Refurbished and Relocated". Department of Defence (Ireland). 11 August 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Department of Defence - Press Release - Speech by Minister for Defence at Opening of New Gymnasium at Collins Barracks, January 2003". Department of Defence (Ireland). 20 January 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Barracks: A History of Victoria/Collins Barracks. Dan Harvey & Gerry White. ISBN 1-85635-194-7