McKee Barracks

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 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 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 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

thankyou much appreciated

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


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.
Sheila Wood

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

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 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.

Thanks for your help. I'll definitely call in. Someone said that it might be the 12th Lancers so hopefully you might have them on file to. Thanks again. Karl.

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.

Hi, does any remember the 1st dod platoon formed at mckee barracks early seventies?

Does anyone remember the first DOD platoon formed in McKee barracks in the early seventies?

Hello would you know how to trace a relative of mine. I know from his marrage cert he was stationed in Marlborough barracks in 1897. His name is george william morris. He was married in the parish of st.peters. was that in the barracks itself?
Thank you

Roan here's a useful link to our resources -


You also might be interested in going along to this - it's held monthly in Donaghmede and Raheny Libraries.

Find out how to go about tracing your family tree, with an advice session presented by Margaret Bonar and Betty Craven.

Donaghmede Library host the advice session on the 3rd Monday of every month in the afternoons.

Raheny Library's Family History and Genealogy advice service. Meets the third Monday of the month (10.15am - 12 noon.)

To book, ring 087 6491605, email

All are welcome and admission is free. Booking is essential with Margaret Bonar at T. 087 6491605.

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