In 1836, the Phoenix Park in Dublin was chosen as the most suitable location for the new Constabulary. By the end of 1839 the Office of Public Works had plans ready for a barracks. The estimated cost was £10,000. The contract was won by Charles Carolin of Dublin. The main buildings fronting the Phoenix Park (c.1842) survive virtually unchanged to this day.
Over the years that followed various features were added including a gravel parade ground, a riding school for the mounted Constabulary, a chapel (now the Garda Band room), an infirmary (now the Depot Hospital) an officers' mess (now the Officers' Club) and a cavalry barracks in the 1860s.
The Phoenix Park Depot was first occupied by the new Garda Síochána early in 1923. For a period the Depot was used as a combined headquarters and training centre. A separate headquarters was then established at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.
In the early 1950s the Commissioner and his staff returned to the Depot. As a result it, became necessary to provide either a new headquarters or a separate training centre. In the event a Training Centre was established in 1963 in the old military barracks at Templemore, Co. Tipperary. This is now the Garda College.
History of Garda Officers' Club
The distinguished redbrick building which was formerly the Officers' Mess and is now the Officers' Club dates from 1863. The plans were drawn up by the noted 19th century architect Benjamin Woodward. Woodward’s work in Ireland includes the old library in Trinity College Dublin and the original Kildare Street Club.
Woodward's style is clearly evident although the curious animal carvings in Kildare Street were not repeated in his building in the Depot.
The mess had already been established in 1849 when the Inspector General of the Irish Constabulary, Colonel Mc Gregor, announced the grant of 'a sum sufficient for the first purchase of such plates, linen etc. as may be required for the Mess'. The annual subscriptions for the various ranks were fixed at rates ranging from 10 shillings (50p) down to a modest florin (10p) for junior officers.
The Constabulary Depot now provided accommodation for 100 officers and 200 other ranks. In 1868, piped water was brought from the new reservoir in the mountains at Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, replacing the original supply from a local well.
Recruits marching up from Heuston (Kingsbridge) Train Station to the Garda Depot