Web launch of John McGahern Barracks Exhibition

Web launch of John McGahern Barracks Exhibition

A new permanent exhibition in the John McGahern barracks, Cootehall celebrates the contribution of McGahern to Irish literature

John McGahern reminded us that everything interesting begins with one person and one place. What makes the barracks unique is that it was a home as well as a police station, in which gardai were family members, and in which a young boy developed a love of reading and went on to become one of Ireland’s finest writers.

Through video, storyboards, photos and artefacts, a new permanent exhibition in the John McGahern barracks, Cootehall, Co. Roscommon, celebrates the contribution of McGahern to Irish literature. The exhibition also provides an insight into the nature of policing and an appreciation of village life in Ireland in the middle of the last century.

The Exhibition will be launched via a short video by former President Mary McAleese at 11.30 a.m. on 9th April 2021 on  (The exhibition will open daily once Covid restrictions are lifted).

A 64 page illustrated booklet The John McGahern Barracks, written by Tom Inglis, which introduces readers to the life and works of McGahern, has been produced to accompany the exhibition. It can be purchased from 9th April at

The late author John McGahern

The Barracks restoration, and the exhibition itself, would not have been possible without the financial help and support of Creative Ireland, Galway 2020, Roscommon County Council Arts Office, Roscommon Leader Partnership, OPW and the local community.  

Cootehall Community Development Group is a local voluntary group, formed in 2004, with a key objective to enhance the riverside village of Cootehall, for visitors and residents alike to enjoy. 

Since the Garda Station closed in 2012, the groups flagship project is the renovation of the old Garda Station for the dual purposes of a permanent exhibition to commemorate one of Ireland's greatest writers John McGahern, and as a location for meetings, seminars, and education courses for interested parties, as well as a remote working space.

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