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Cathal Brugha Barracks

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Title: Cathal Brugha Barracks  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Easter Rising, Defence Forces (Ireland), Portobello, Portobelo, Colón, Celbridge, Rathmines, Portobello, Dublin, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, The Squad (Irish Republican Army unit), Christmas Raid
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cathal Brugha Barracks

Cathal Brugha Barracks is an Irish Army barracks in Rathmines, Dublin. A key military base of the Irish Defence Forces, it is the headquarters of the Northern Command,[1] and houses the Military Archives of the Department of Defence.

History and name

The barracks was originally constructed between 1810 and 1815, and named Portobello Barracks for the area in which it was sited. (When Sir Francis Drake looted the city of Portobelo, Panama, died and was buried at sea in its harbour, many places in England and Ireland were commemoratively named Portobello – including part of Rathmines in 1696. The nearby canal bridge and the area became known as Portobello and thereafter, the barracks.)

Originally designed as a cavalry barracks, it saw some development along these lines, with additional land being purchased, and the addition of a church (1842) and canteen block (1868).

During the 1916 Easter Rising, and the Irish War of Independence, British Troops from the barracks were involved in actions throughout Dublin. During this time, three journalists, including the pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, were murdered outside the barrack guardroom. The Royal Irish Rifles company commander Captain Bowen-Colthurst, who ordered the shootings, was controversially adjudged "insane" at the subsequent inquiry and court-martial.

On 17 May 1922 Irish troops took possession of the Barracks, and it became the National Army's Headquarters under General Michael Collins.

In 1952 it was renamed for Cathal Brugha, who was a leader during the 1916 rising, Minister for Defence in the First Dáil, and who lived locally for a time. Cathal Brugha an IRA man was gunned down by the National Army on O'Connell street during the Battle of Dublin.


The first troops to occupy the barracks were the 6th Dragoon Guards, with following units including the: Royal Scots Fusiliers, Royal Munster Fusiliers, Durham Light Infantry, Middlesex Regiment, Wiltshire Regiment, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and Royal Irish Rifles.

Since the end of the Anglo-Irish war, the barracks has housed units of the Irish Defence Forces, and has more recently been developed as a result of the force's reorganisation. It became the Eastern Command HQ (again) in 1994, and in 1997 accommodated additional units after the closure of Collins Barracks. Following the 2012 reorganisation of the army,[2] the barracks became headquarters of the reorganised 2nd (Northern) Brigade.[1]

Cathal Brugha Barracks houses the following units:

  • 2 Northern Brigade Headquarters
  • 7 Infantry Battalion
  • 2 Cavalry Squadron
  • 2 Field CIS Company
  • 2 Northern Brigade Military Police Company
  • 2 Logistic Support Battalion
  • 2 Northern Brigade Training Centre
  • 2 ISTAR Coy, IEEUBG 2012-2
  • Army School of Music and No 1 Army Band
  • 2 Air Defence Battery
  • Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
  • Northern Group, Irish Naval Service Reserve (RDF)

Literary references

He had a good slice of luck, Jack Mooney was telling me, over that boxing match Myler Keogh won again that soldier in the Portobello barracks. By God, he had the little kipper down in the county Carlow he was telling me
—Ulysses, Chapter 2, Lestrygonians episode, James Joyce


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