In 1775 the Role of Master of the Royal Hospital and Commander of the British Forces in Ireland were amalgamated making the Royal Hospital Kilmainham the centre of British Military Command in Ireland. The Adjutant Generals building was built by architect Francis Johnston to accommodate the administrative offices of the Command. The Adjutant was the chief administrative officer reporting to the Commander of the forces, responsible for the administration and preservation of personnel records. The word General in the title Adjutant General refers to the General staff of the army rather than the rank of the Adjutant. For example in 1835 when the Master was General Lord Seaton, his Adjutant was Captain. J Chadwick. General Lord Roberts, came from a prominent Waterford family and was Master of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from 1896 to 1901.
He was photographed with his adjutant Captain Fielding and his staff officers on the steps of the North Entrance to the great hall. Lord Roberts was a hero of the Victorian Military, he also has a dark legacy as the military leader responsible for the development of the concentration camp for incarcerating civilians. During the Boer war his troops rounded up women and children, families of enemy combatants and imprisoned them after burning them out of their homes. He also imprisoned large numbers of Black South African farmers to prevent them supplying the Boers with food. An estimated 48,000 People died in his camps between July 1901 and Feb 1902.
The British Military unaware that they would be withdrawn from the 26 counties as part of the political solution to the war of independence had plans to convert the Adjutant General Office into the Adjutant General’s residence.