Royal Irish Constabulary (1814 -1922)
www.Royal Irish Constabulary.com Dublin Metropolitan Police DMP An Garda Siochana Royal Ulster Constabulary GC (1922 2001)
Ireland's Rich Policing Heritage
RIC Sergeant Ballantine at Falcarragh, Co. Donegal,
Police Raid photograph Irish illegal Whiskey distillation
View photographs & Engraving
of RIC personel - click on the
www.Royal Irish Constabulary.com
The Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C)
policed Ireland from 1814 - until 1921, it opperated alongside the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Londonderry and Belfast had had their own forces, but both were disbanded by 1870,and the RIC assumed their duties.
In 1922 the RIC was replaced by two new police forces; the Garda Síochána in the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland. However, the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force continued until 1925, when it was incorporated into the Garda Síochána. Reflecting their jurisdiction, the force was predominantly Roman Catholic, although there were fewer Catholics in the higher ranks. The RIC's policing system influenced, for example, the Canadian North West Mounted Police when the Canadian federal government was looking for a plausible way to establish order in the North-West Territories, the Victoria Police force in Australia, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in Newfoundland.
History of policing in Ireland
The first organised police force in Ireland came about through the Peace Preservation Act of 1814 but the Irish Constabulary Act of 1822 marked the true beginning of the Irish Constabulary. Among its first duties was the forcible seizure of tithes during the "Tithe War" on behalf of the Anglican clergy from the mainly Catholic population as well as the Presbyterian minority. The act established a force in each barony with chief constables and inspectors general under the control of the civil administration at Dublin Castle. By 1841 this force numbered over 8,600 men. The force had been rationalised and reorganised in an 1836 act and the first constabulary code of regulations was published in 1837. The discipline was tough and the pay poor. The police also faced unrest among the Irish rural poor, manifested in organisations like the Ribbonmen, which attacked landlords and their property
The new constabulary demonstrated its efficiency against Irish separatism with the putting down of the Young Ireland uprising led by William Smith O'Brien in 1848. There then followed a spell of relative calm. However, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, founded in 1858, planned an armed uprising.. This rose into direct action in with the Fenian Rising of 1867, marked by attacks on the more isolated police stations. This rebellion was also put down fairly easily, as the police had successfully infiltrated the Fenians. The loyalty of the constabulary during the rising was rewarded by Queen Victoria granting the force the prefix 'Royal' and the right to use the insignia of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. The RIC presided over a marked decline in crime in the country with the rural unrest of the early nineteenth century (characterised by secret organizations and crimes such as unlawful armed assembly) being replaced by relative misdemeanours such as public drunkenness and minor property crimes.
An exception to this trend was the Land War of 1879-82. Belfast, which had its own separate police force, was marked with sectarian tensions as its population grew fivefold in fifty years, there were serious riots in 1857, 1864, 1872 and 1886. As a result the Belfast Town Police was disbanded and responsibility for policing the city passed to the RIC.
Due to their ubiquity from the 1850s the RIC were tasked with a range of civil and local government duties together with their existing ones, closely tying the constables to their local communities. By 1901 there were around 1,600 barracks and some 11,000 constables. The majority of the lower ranks in rural areas were of the same social class, religion and general background as their neighbours. Through their enforcement of evictions in rural Ireland and their approach to Land league leaders, the RIC had attracted widespread opprobrium among the Irish Catholic population during the nineteenth century. However, during the relative calm of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, the RIC won general acceptance as an efficient organisation which served as a model for similar forces elsewhere in the British Empire and was no more unpopular at home than effective police forces generally are. The military ethos of the RIC with its "barracks" (usually simply rented houses), carbines and emphasis on army style drill and smartness distinguished the force from civil police in Great Britain and Dublin. Throughout its history the RIC wore a distinctive dark green uniform with black buttons and insignia, derived in style from the Rifle Brigade of the British army.
The comparative ease of the RIC's existence was however increasingly troubled by the rise of the Home Rule campaign in the period prior to World War I. Sir Neville Chamberlain was appointed Inspector-General in 1900. His years in the RIC coincided with the rise of a number of political, cultural and sporting organizations with the common aim of asserting Ireland's separateness from England.
By the December 1920, 'Government of Ireland Act' which created the two states on the island, and the 1921 truce, 418 RIC personnel had been killed in two years. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was the cause of the Irish Civil War. In January 1922, it was agreed to disband the RIC, replacing it with the Garda Síochána in the Free State and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland
Thank you for visiting www.royalirishconstabulary.com
This website is dedicated to the memory of the men of the Irish & later Royal Irish Constabulary (1814-1922) & their families.
The website was established to remember the RIC & in doing so to, in some small way - promote a greater understanding of a previously much maligned force.
Information on the force includes, illustrations of equipment, medals, photographs & documents etc.
The RIC was an eighty percent irish catholic force, & was widely regarded as the finest police force in the world in the late 19th & early 20thC period. By the 1918 - 1922 era policing in ireland was probably the most dangerous & difficult work anywhere - certainly in the then United Kingdom. .
This public forum is a memorial to all RIC personel regardless of religious denomination or political allegiance.
As is mentioned above, Between the years 1919 - 1921 some 400 + RIC men were killed, often dreadful killings such as the soloheadbeag murders of Constables O'Connell & McDonnell in 1919.
The unacknowledged supreme sacrifice made (in the line of duty) by so many of these men is a gaping wound in irish history.
Many thanks & much appreciation for all your communications during the year.
Note: George Gerard Dunbar, RIC const 48302 enlisted 2/5/1881 - 7/4/1882.
New Books listed: 'The Wexford War Dead' A History of The Co Wexford Casualties of
World War One
Similar Casualty books for Counites: Waterford, Tipperary & Carlow Also available.
Forward The Rifles' The War Diaries of An Irish Soldier, 1914 - 1918 Click Here
Hyde Park Flute Band, Belfast Photograph Circa 1910 with RIC Constables-
New Book Title: The Tenth (Irish) Division At Gallipoli Bryan Cooper
Interesting RIC Photographs: 684 Constable Henry Collins & 396 Constable William Douglas VIEW IMAGES PAGE
DUBLIN METROPOLITAN POLICE A Beautiful Gold Watch & Chain presented
to Band Sergt T. McManus D.M.P. on his retirement August 1915.
New Military Book Title: 'A Coward if I Return, A Hero If I Fail' Stories of Irishmen
RIC Constable Stan Haslem (Served in South Kilkenny) See Image Also Const Haslem (who was born in England) as an old man in his garden in kilkenny - circa 1940 See Image. RIC Constable John Lynch, Athenry Co Galway, See Image Also His Wife Shiela Heneghan
RARE Irish Constabulary 1850s - 1860s Tunic Buttons - (Dublin Maker) , Found in farmland,
Newly listed Title in The Books Section:
'The Irish Policeman 1822 - 1922 A life' - Elizabeth Malcolm H/B edition.
'An Garda Siochana & The Scott Medal' H/B
Webley Revolvers - An information section with illustrations
A very interesting 1880s Cabinet Photograph of two Royal Irish Rifles officers (named)
Very similiar uniforms to the RIC issue of the period.
The Dublin Metropolitan Police, A Short History & Genealogical Guide
Now available here in hardback - limited numbers available of this popular title available here at a VERY competitive Price. Click Here to view>
A Fine 1880s Cabinet Photograph young RIC Constable
Eoin O'Duffy, A Self Made Hero' Now added to the books section.
Many thanks for the many RIC images & correspondence regularly recieved. Please continue
to send these + any associated information.
RIC Constable & Sgt photographs. Two Fine images recieved from Tipperary.Click Here To View
RARE 1956 Photograph of an Oliver J Flanagan TD political event - (unveilling of an Irish
volunteer monument) The Long since demolished Stradbally RIC Barrack in the background (Left)
A Fine 1880s - 1890s Group portrait of RIC personel - Taken by The Studios of J Rosbotham,
Royal Irish Constabulary - Transport Division
Group portrait of RIC personel - Taken in 1921. includes
An interesting 1875 Victorian Penny Red cover sent to the Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks, Pheonix Park Dublin Click Here to view
Station wall plaque from Kilkenny City
(Parliament St Barracks) Cast-iron wall plaque Click Here
William J. Cully Royal Irish Constabulary & Royal Irish Rifles - WWI
Constable Daniel McCarthy Shot Dead in an IRA ambush - April 1920
Lord Kitchener of Khartoum 1850 - 1916 Profile & Military Career Click here
Insignia of The Royal Irish Constabulary & Webley Royal Irish Constabulary Revolver Cal 450 CF
RIC uniforms, medals, badges & equipment are Now HIGHLY sought after in the antiques & collectables trade & salesrooms.
New Book Titles for Sale, Irish Policing & History
View the various book titles currently available. Contents include Irish Police, Military & General History titles. Competitive Prices & Fast dispatch times on all purchases. Click on the book image to view >>>
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Research & future expansion of this site.
World War I Memorial Plaque
1914 - 1918
These beautifully designed & engraved plaques, are often refered to as 'The Widow's Penny' & are a grim reminder of the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty by so many.
More than seven hundred Royal Irish Constabulary
(RIC) members fought in The Great War
158 were killed in action.