The most notable building on Blackhorse Avenue is the army barracks. However, I visited the area in order to visit Grangegorman Military Cemetery but the gates were chained and locked so I entered Phoenix Park via the gate across the road from the cemetery.
The other building of importance is the Hole In The Wall. At over 100m from one end to the other, the Hole in the Wall is Europe’s longest pub bar and it also one of the oldest pubs in Ireland. It is most that the “hole in the wall” refers to the pedestrian gate into the Park but the commonly told story is that the pub used to serve pints through an actual hole in the wall to soldiers stationed nearby.
The construction of a barracks on Blackhorse Avenue began in 1888 and took approximately 4 years to finish. It was originally named Marlborough Barracks and housed approximately 900 horses of the British forces. The barracks was home to several different British units throughout its history but was primarily for Cavalry units.
Marlborough Barracks was handed over to the Irish Free State army in 1922 and retained its name until 1926 at which point it was renamed McKee Barracks. This renaming was to honour Dick McKee from Finglas, Dublin.
Grangegorman Military Cemetery is a British military cemetery in Dublin, Ireland, located on Blackhorse Avenue, off the Navan Road and beside the Phoenix Park.
Battalion badges are marked on the headstones along with the name of the person buried, their rank and the date of their death, while a very few have personal inscriptions. The Royal Dublin Fusiliers have a large number of their members and their closest relatives buried in the graveyard. Mature trees and well-maintained lawns create a reflective atmosphere. Situated beside the Phoenix Park, the cemetery’s current comparative anonymity has more to do with those buried there than with its location. It was forgotten after independence in a country forged from a bitter conflict with Great Britain, as many viewed Irishmen who had fought in the British Army as traitors.
Some of the graves were re-located to this site at a later date (nine from King George V Hospital grounds, two from Trinity College grounds, three from Portobello (Barracks) Cemetery, two from Drogheda (Little Calvary) Cemetery and one from Oranmore Old Graveyard).
The Irish Times posited upon “one of the 1916 Rising’s unresolved mysteries. Why did the bodies of five British officers lie, apparently unclaimed and forgotten, in waste ground in central Dublin for 46 years?” Their bodies were then discovered and interred in Grangegorman.
The Irish National War Memorial Gardens dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the “Great War, 1914–1918” is approximately 1 km away in Islandbridge at the other side of Phoenix Park. A Screen Wall Memorial of a simple design standing nearly two metres high and fifteen metres long has been built of Irish limestone to commemorate the names of those war casualties whose graves lie elsewhere in Ireland and can no longer be maintained. Arranged before this memorial are the headstones of the war dead buried in Cork Military Cemetery but now commemorated here.
A Turkish Hazel was planted in the cemetery in 2005 by the ambassadors of Turkey, New Zealand and Australia to Ireland to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915. The cemetery is currently managed by the Office of Public Works to Commonwealth War Graves Commission standards and is the largest military cemetery in Ireland.
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