Refurbished and Expanded Military Archives

Refurbished and Expanded Military Archives

The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins formally opened a refurbished and expanded Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin on 26 April. The €5.4m project was one of the key capital projects funded as part of the Government’s 2016 Centenary Programme.

On arrival, President Higgins was received by the Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM and Brigadier-General Michael Beary General Officer Commanding 2 Brigade, and reviewed a Guard of Honour drawn from the 27 Infantry Battalion.

aAlso in attendance were the Minister for Arts Heritage and Culture Heather Humphreys TD, Mr Maurice Quinn Secretary-General department of Defence, Major-General Kevin Cotter Deputy Chief of Staff (Support), Commandant Padraic Kennedy OIC Military Archives and Mr Patrick Brennan Senior Archivist and Project Manager of the Military Archives Pensions Project.

Speaking at the event, President stated, inter alia: “This is a hugely important site of our national memory. A place in which are preserved the voices from our past, guarding them from oblivion and from any distortions of history – a sure foundation for our future.”

The event coincided with the fourth and largest release of material from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection. The release involves the medals database from the collection and its associated files. The files consist of 47,554 individual applications for medals and a related 18,630 files, making a total of 66,174 files.

The opening also coincided with the publication on the Military Archives website of a listing of 2,558 veterans of the 1916 Easter Rising with recognised military service.

The Military Archives complex includes a state of art facility for the storage of archival material, and the refurbishment of an adjoining building which houses visitor facilities, including a reading room for research of the records held in the facility, and a conservation laboratory for the preservation of documents and artefacts.

The impressive building, which also provides a front-of-house facility and administration accommodation, has been shortlisted for the Irish Building and Design Awards 2016 in the Cultural Project category.

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Formally established in 1987, the mission of the Military Archives is to acquire, preserve and make available to the public the documentary heritage of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence. Under the terms of the National Archives Act, 1986, the Military Archives is the place of deposit for the archives of the Defence Forces, the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board. The Archives holds 65,000 linear feet of records including over 1,000 private collections.

Apart from serving the evidential, legal and heritage needs of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence, Military Archives provides public services to a broad spectrum of interests, from family history queries to academic research, to material for television and radio documentaries.

The Irish Defence Forces Military Archives section can be contacted as follows:

Phone: 00 353 1 804 6457

Email: militaryarchives@defenceforces.ie and www.militaryarchives.ie

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