Ballykinlar Internment Camp

Ballykinlar barracks in County Down was originally Abercorn barracks, used by the British to intern IRA prisoners during the War Of Independence, and the use continued under the new Northern Irish government (WP); the camp held about 2,000 prisoners (McGuffin, ch. 5). The prisoners attempted to maintain their military structure and perform drills; they created a currency using cardboard discs (images can be seen at Old Currency Exchange) – and, as a way to keep up morale, worked on “autograph books” in which prisoners would write dedications and verses for one another and occasionally draw pictures. The pages shown here are from books currently exhibited in Monaghan County Museum; Offaly Archives has digitised an autograph book; a few more images from a book in the Kilmainham collection can be seen at the BBC.

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