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McKee Barracks

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McKee Barracks, originally called Marlborough Barracks was built by the British Army in 1888. When Ireland became the Irish Free State in 1922, the British gave the barracks to the Irish forces.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

McKee Barracks, Cabra

Did you know that 862 horses once lived in Cabra? They lived at McKee Barracks, so when you stand beside the barracks, you stand beside a lot of horses and a lot of history.

A barracks is a place where soldiers stay. At the time when the barracks was built the soldiers all fought on horseback and so they needed a place where they could keep their horses.

McKee Barracks was built by the British army. They started to build it in 1888 and it took them four years and a lot of bricks to finish it. The barracks was called Marlborough Barracks at first.

When Ireland became the Irish Free State in 1922, the British Army gave the barracks to the Irish Forces. In 1926 the name of the barracks was changed to McKee after Richard McKee who was a very brave man. Richard McKee was born in Finglas. He fought in the War of Independence and was captured by the British Army on Bloody Sunday, the 21 November 1920. That day was called “Bloody Sunday” because more than thirty people were killed in the Irish War of Independence on that day. Richard McKee was shot in Dublin Castle while trying to escape. You can find out more about him when you read about the McKee Memorial in Finglas

Today, McKee Barracks is still used by the Irish Army. The soldiers go to countries where wars are taking place and help with peacekeeping.

The army still keeps horses at McKee, though not as many. These horses are not used for war. They take part in horse shows both in Ireland and abroad. It takes a lot of work caring for all the horses: almost three hundred wheelbarrows of manure are taken from the stables every week.

Dear admin2 & Dublin City

Dear admin2 & Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive, Seeing that this resource/article is for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate it is therefore very important I'm sure you'd agree to get the facts in your article correct? What I refer to is your description of the Irish Defence Force as an Army. They are not an army they are a defence force as stated in the Constitution. And also it is highly disputed that Richard “Dick” McKee or Risteárd Mac Aoidh as you state was shot in Dublin Castle while trying to escape. And could you also mention to the sovereign children of this country that McKee Barracks has one of the very few sovereign courts, if not the only in this country? Mise le meas, Liam Ó Floinn

"The Irish Defence Forces

"The Irish Defence Forces consist of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). The PDF includes the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps." This quote is straight from the Department of Defence website. And I see the website of the Defence Forces ( refers to the "Army" as a branch of the defence forces. Me, I think use of the word "army" is fine.

looking for info on a

looking for info on a memorial for an australian horse that served in ireland after boer war memorial plaque is on wall near pheonix park any help with links or info would be much appreciated

Dear John,   Not sure if

Dear John,


Not sure if this is what you are looking for (as the dates do not fit the Boer War). I realise there might be a few memorials to War Horses in the Islandbridge area.

We have an image of a memorial to a horse called 'Dickie Bird' at (formerly) Clancy Barracks near Islandbridge. The full inscription reads:

'Near this spot lies buried the remains of DICKIE BIRD. B 7. Troop Horse 5th Dragoon Guards.

Which was foaled in 1850. Joined the regiment in 1853. And served throughout the entire Crimean campaign from May 1854 to June 1856. He was shot on 21st Nov 1874 by special authority from the Horse Guards to save him from being sold by auction'.  

We have an image of the plaque itself that we could email to you. If this is the information you are seeking and would like a copy of the image then please send an email to the following:


I hope no one will object if

I hope no one will object if I add a little background information which some might find interesting? The designation B.7 probably refers to this horse being the seventh horse in 'B' Troop. The term "Troop Horse" means that she was allocated to a private soldier or NCO within that Troop rather than the officer commanding the Troop. Officers were, and still are called "Chargers" in the British Army. As ths horse served with the 5th Dragoon Guards all through the Crimen War it is entirely possible that she was present at the Battle of Balaclava and took part in the Charge of the Heavy Brigade, which is less well-known the the famous Charge of the Light Brigade but was arguably more successful and certainly as remarkable.

A bit late maybe, but the

A bit late maybe, but the memorial you are thinking of is to Mary, an Australian Bay Mare, located behind the hut at the West Gate McKee Bks, Dublin. "In Memory of Mary Joined the 5th Dragoon Guards in Meerut 1896 and served throughout the siege of Ladysmith and Sth African War 1899-1902. Returned to India 1902-1908. Arrived in Dublin Jan 1909. Died Sept 1909.

thankyou much appreciated

thankyou much appreciated

Was in the Army in the the

Was in the Army in the the early 70s at that time we were paid school boys wages it was the poorest paid security outfit in the state on a lighter note the archway in Mc Kee bks the ould sweats would say when they joined up the archway was only a mouse hole also I dont think in the early 70s the living conditions had changed much for the ordinary ranks since the British Army marched out in 1922

Hi, I am trying to track

Hi, I am trying to track down a photo of my Grandfather, William Richard Sadler, who was in the 5th Royal Irish Lancers. Service number L/12676 He was a drummer. In the photo he is mounted and the title reads: Drum Horse and Banner, Marlborough Barracks Dublin 1912. I would appreciate any help or advice you can give. Regards, Sheila Wood

Do you have more information

Do you have more information about this photo? Was it in a newspaper, book, photographic collection or exhibition? 

Hi there, does anyone know

Hi there, does anyone know where I might get service information on a soldier called James Ward who was stationed at McKee/Marlborough barracks. He was with the 5th Lancers when he got married in 1916. His wife (my great grandmother) was married to him but was widowed soon after as she married my great grandfather in 1921. We were hoping to find out if he died in service. Thank you.

All Service Records for Irish

All Service Records for Irish soldiers prior to 1922 are held in the British National Archives at Kew.

Dublin City Library & Archive holds a CD Rom of First World War Campaign Medal records (Which include almost every soldier who fought in the war) but although there are a large number of James Wards listed on it we cannot find a record of one serving with the 5th Lancers. You are very welcome to visit the Reading Room in Dublin City Library and Archive if you wish to consult this source further.

Hello. I lived in the

Hello. I lived in the married quaters from 1951 to 1960 Great times.My Father C.S.Patrick Phelan worked on Officers Records Infirmary road.
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