On the 6th of November, the TY students went to the Irish National War Memorial Garden and Richmond Barracks. We left the school at 9:30 am and arrived at the Irish National War Memorial Garden at 10:03 am. We first stopped at a big monument commemorating the Irish soldiers that died while fighting in WW1. We then walked around for a while, the view was nice. We then saw another nice monument where other Irish people were remembered. There was a cross decorated with poppies, which I thought was very pretty. After that, we stopped at Spar for our lunch.
After stopping and getting a drink from Spar, we headed to Richmond Barracks. As we arrived at the barracks, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the staff. We were then split into two groups for tours. One group started inside the barracks while the other group went to the Golden Bridge Cemetery.
The group we were in started the tour at the Golden Bridge Cemetery. It was one of the first graveyards to be purchased by Glasnevin. It was opened in 1828 and it was the first multi-denominational cemetery to be opened in Ireland. There were many people buried there including William. T. Cosgrave and children as young as three months. We had a special visitor named Gravy the Cat. She would always be waiting at the next grave before we got there. That was amazing! It was as if she could read the tour guide’s mind. We also saw squirrels scuttering through the wet grass. Finally, our tour outside ended and then we headed on inside for some more history.
The tour inside the barracks started in the gymnasium. We were told that this was where the Irish soldiers were held while they waited to be court-martialed. In the gymnasium, there was a small box room with projectors. We went into it and listened to eyewitness accounts telling us their perspective of the conditions, people being sent to the court-martial and how Irish soldiers were basically “ratting out” other Irish Volunteers. We were then brought into two replica rooms that would’ve been in the barracks when the English were training there. One room was a classroom. It was very big and had benches set in rows of three stretching down to the end of the classroom. There was still a stick left in the classroom that was used for hitting the kids. Even though the classroom was first made in 1929, it was very well kept and had an oddly modern feel. The second room was a court martial’s living quarters. Seeing how little the rooms were and how many books were present made me think about how much technology has changed us.
Sandra Ijezie – TY Press