Peter Byrne, Ballykinlar Camp internee, 1920–1

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2019), Letters, Volume 27

Above: A prisoner’s drawing of a Ballykinlar Camp hut. (Kilmainham Gaol Archives)

Sir,Kilmainham Gaol Museum and Down County Museum are looking for descendants and relatives of Peter Byrne, a Dublin man who was one of 2,000 prisoners interned in Ballykinlar Camp, Co. Down, between 1920 and 1921. Peter was a carpenter who lived at 1 Barrow Street, Dublin 2, with his wife Frances. He fought in the Boland’s Mill garrison during the 1916 Rising, after which he was sent to Wakefield Prison in England. He was later arrested during the War of Independence in November 1920 and was brought first to Arbour Hill Barracks before being shipped to Ballykinlar via Belfast. While at the camp, Peter wrote dozens of letters home to his wife about the harsh conditions and events at what was then called the ‘World’s End Camp’. These letters are now preserved in the Kilmainham Gaol Museum collection.

Both Kilmainham Gaol Museum and Down County Museum are eager to hear from relatives of Peter Byrne and to find out more about his life because his story will play a central role in a project currently being undertaken by Down County Museum to reconstruct a hut from Ballykinlar Camp later this year. Of particular interest are any photos of Peter Byrne, as they will be crucial when it comes to bringing his story to life in the ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’ reconstruction. The project is being funded by the Special European Union Programmes Body through its PEACE IV Programme.—Yours etc.,

AOIFE TORPEY
Kilmainham Gaol Museum
aoife.torpey@opw.ie
www.facebook.com/BallykinlarHistoryHut/

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