By Eoin English
Irish Examiner
May 17, 2012

Troops will march into Collins Barracks in Cork tomorrow to mark the 90th anniversary of the handover by the British to the Irish Army of what was then Victoria Barracks.

The barracks will also today host a major archival exhibition of documents and artefacts from the military archives, Cork Public Museum, Collins Barracks Museum and private collections to help mark the occasion. The exhibition will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm, with admission through the old main gate.

Tomorrow, troops will march from Military Hill to the Barrack Square in Collins Barracks at 2.45pm where Brigadier General Derry Fitzgerald and Lord Mayor of Cork Terry Shannon will be in attendance.

The GOC will address the parade and military honours will be rendered. Traffic diversions will be in place around the Military Hill area from 2.30pm to 3pm.

Victoria Barracks was first occupied by the British Army after it was built in 1806 and it was the largest military installation in the south of the country.

It served as a major recruiting centre during the First World War and it contained the headquarters of the British Army’s 6th Division commanded by Major-General EP Strickland.

During the War of Independence, troops from the barracks took part in operations such as the arrest of Terence MacSwiney at Cork City Hall on Aug 12, 1920.

From Oct 1920, the barracks was base to K Company of the Auxiliary Division of the RIC, the unit primarily responsible for the burning of Cork on the night of Dec 11/12, 1920.

The Union Flag was lowered at the barracks for the last time on May 18, 1922, and was taken over by 200 volunteers of Cork No 1 Brigade of Óglaigh na hÉireann, led by their commanding officer Sean O’Hegarty and Hugo MacNeill, who represented the Provisional Government.

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