It is hard to believe it’s a full year since we opened our doors on May 2nd 2016. That day of course, the centenary of the first courts martial of the leaders of the Easter Rising held here in Richmond Barracks.
On Tuesday morning May 2nd 1916, Piaras Beaslai, Eamon Duggan and Joseph Mc Guinness were taken from their room in Richmond Barracks. They waited on the grass plot directly in front of the officers quarters, the building where their courts martial would eventually take place. Patrick Pearse, Thomas Mc Donagh and Tom Clarke joined them and all six men were taken into the hallway of the officers quarters. In the small rooms, barely able to accommodate those present, their courts martial began.
“At their trials, the prisoners were not legally represented or permitted to give evidence on their own behalf. They did not have access to the rules under which the trials were being held. The trials were held in camera; no press, lawyers or public were admitted. Most trials appear to have lasted less than 20 minutes.
None of the officers conducting these trials had legal qualifications and there was no judge advocate to give legal rulings or a summing up. 90 death sentences were passed, 15 were carried out.” (National Archives)