In 1916, 187 suspected leaders of the Easter Rising walked across the courtyard at Richmond Barracks to the officers’ quarters where they faced courtsmarshall. The brief from Dublin City Council was to commemorate this historic walk and communicate the uncertainty of their return walk, yet to be sentenced and unsure of where their next steps would take them, execution, deportation or home.
A diary entry from Countess Markievicz, the only woman to be tried, resonated with me: “Nature should provide me with something to live for, something to die for”. Its sentiment although very personal was universal and could convey the motivations, hopes and fears of all those court-martialed. The reference to nature felt fitting given the garden setting.
I saw in the quote the opportunity to interpret the outward and return journeys by flipping the direction of the type. ‘Something to Live for’ guiding you out and ‘Something to Die for’ leading you back. All the while leaving the historic façade uninteruppted.
My hope is that you walk along the installation with one foot steeped in the site’s historical significance and the lives of those who were court-martialed and the other foot grounded by what these words mean to you.