Samuel Waters 1844-1936 was an RIC Officer and both his father and grandfather had been policemen. He started on £125 per annum and perpetually in scrapes due to his inadequate income. He was posted to Castletown in 1874 at the time a quiet district and enjoyed hunting and fishing.
He was interested in amateur dramatics and in the capacity met the then 17 year old Tim Harrington later to become a Home Ruler MP. Although on opposite sides politically they became friends he was also friendly with Tim’s brother Edward who was a newspaper editor ‘The Sentinel’, in Tralee.
His memoir is in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Gore-Booth Papers D/4051/14), on Lisaddell House he recounts the pastime of him and fellow officers in the evening of rat catching in the kitchen as a member of the Pig and Whistle Club.
The memoir has been edited by Stephen Ball and published under the Irish Narrativve Series 1999 by Cork University Press
Various corps of volunteers were raised in Cork City and County to oppose the United Irishmen. These are listed in the Rev. Gibson’s History of Cork Vol 2, 1861
BANTRY VOLUNTEERS. Enrolled 1779. Force: 1 company. Uniform: scarlet, faced white. Officers in 1782 – Colonel, Hamilton White; Captain, Richard Blair; Lieutenant, David Melefont; Ensigns, Henry Galway and John Young; Adjutant, Henry Galway; Secretary, Francis Hoskin.
Hamilton White, 1789, Bantry, probably married Lucinda Heaphy, two sons Kings Inns, 1st son Richard 1823, 2nd son John Hamilton 1826, both TCD. BANTRY VOLUNTEERS. Enrolled 1779. Force: 1 company. Uniform: scarlet, faced white. Officers in 1782 – Colonel, Hamilton White; Captain, Richard Blair; Lieutenant, David Melefont; Ensigns, Henry Galway and John Young; Adjutant, Henry Galway; Secretary, Francis Hoskin.
In the article relating to Samuel Townsend 1768-1836 of Whitehall, Aughadown there is a piece on the post 1798 situation.
The British Government employed Sir John Moore to disarm Co. Cork. He used a scorched earth policy designed to intimidate people to hand in their arms. In Caheragh 800 pikes were located as well as 3,400 stands of arms. The soldiers were billeted on the local population and literally ate them out of house and home. One exception to this was in Aughadown where the joint efforts of the Catholic Parish Priest Father Timothy O’Sullivan and the Church of Ireland Vicar Joseph Wright ensured that the local commanding officer Samuel Townsend did not billet the soldiers on the local population.
The RIC has enjoyed a bad press in Ireland as a quasi military force oppressing the Irish People. In fact most of the force rarely carried firearms and apart from recruit training had no contact with arms. Until the time of the troubles 1916-1922 most of the RIC’s duties apart from ordinary policing took in such tasks as agricultural statistics, census collection and weights and measures. Going on memoirs for most of its history it enjoyed a reasonable relationship with the local population where it was based. It had a well deserved reputation for honesty and lack of corruption and was used as a template for police forces in many jurisdictions.
A career in the RIC was attractive, the pay was regarded as low but a constable could retire after 30 years. Discipline was strict and even extended to the choice of wife. For many young men from a farming background who were not going to inherit the farm it was an attractive prospect. Many people prominent in Irish public life had a grandparent or great great parent who was in the RIC.
The force was around 75% Catholic the balance the various Protestant denominations. In South West Cork there were not many from a Catholic background who joined compared to parts of Beara or Kerry. It may be that emigration was so ingrained in these districts that for a young man the first port of call was America. There was however a fair amount of enlistment from the sons of small to middling Church of Ireland farmers who were deemed not to inherit the land. Of those who did not marry many on reaching 30 years service at the comparatively early age of 48 would return home and resume farming at the home place or a purchased farm. Most of the recruits remained as constables the odd person such as Robert Warner, Reendesert, Bantry reached the rank of Chief Constable the equivalent to a Senior NCO in the Army. The Officer corp in the RIC was distinct and there was minimal movement from the ranks.
From the establishment of the Garda there has been a fair amount of recruitment from West Cork among Catholics but little from the Church of Ireland/Methodist community, understandable in ways gived the ethos and origin of the new state but nontheless a loss of the services of the personnel who were used to policing throughout Ireland.
Foe some West Cork personnel, the records are in the National Archives in microfilmMFA 24 very tedious to extract;
there is reference to Robert Townsend 1801-1872. He was of the Whitehall, Aughadown Townsends and served in the West Carbery Armed Association probably with his father before joining the RIC in 1823 where he served variously in Mayo. Clare and Donegal as County Inspector until 1866.