On Tuesday the 29th of March a group of us led by a facilitator paid a visit to Collins Barracks in Benburb Street. It was the first time to visit for me and it exceeded my expectations.
We arrived early, about 9.30 am and entered a new exhibition, Proclaiming a Republic: the 1916 Rising. There were many visual presentations on stands, laying out the history of events and the personalities involved. I think we were all acquainted with the basic history but the exhibition fleshed out some of the details and was certainly educational for us. There was also film material to bring the events to life. It was stunning to see items such as the restored Republican flag which flew over the G.P.O. as well as personal artifacts belonging to those involved. It was moving to read of the fate of the rebels who were imprisoned after the surrender of the rebels and seeing artwork depicting the last hours of those sentenced to death.
As well as the significant history of 1916, we followed Irish involvement with British forces in World War I in a separate exhibition and there were military uniforms and a replica of a military rifle we could handle. There was also a history of those involved in UN peacekeeping missions across the globe.
Another fascinating exhibition was the collection of Albert Bender which featured ancient artifacts
from Asia. There were many items of silver and priceless items from the Orient. I especially noticed figurines of the reclining Buddha and of Hindu Goddesses.
All in all, there were a myriad of sights and information to absorb but we all agreed that it was most informative and enjoyable and some of us would revisit in order to get a deeper understanding and enjoy another day out. On leaving, we noticed an enormous queue for the 1916 exhibition and were glad we had the time and opportunity to enjoy the morning’s spectacles.