Jim Herlihy was a neighbor of mine in Cork, he recently retired from the Garda Siochána. He is well known as the historian of the RIC and has done extraordinary work in this regard. This is a lecture he gave in September 2013, it is over an hour but fascination. He has have listed all of the RIC men who volunteered for service in WW1 for publication later this year to coincide with the WWI Commemorations.

Among the nuggets:

Over 85,000 men passed through the force
You had to be 5’9” and 19 to join, but if your father was in the force this was reduced by an inch and a year.
You were not allowed marry until you had 7 years service you could give notice after 5 years. In the early years many were dismissed for breaching this rule. There was a tradition of marriage within the force i.e. constables marrying the daughters of other men.
The overwhelming majority of the men were catholic with some in the Officer Corps
It was regarded as the best police force in the world and was the model for Colonial Police Forces. Many from these forces trained in the Depot in the Phoenix Park and attended the 4 Courts in their exotic colonial uniforms.
One of the Forces modeled on them is the Newfoundland Police. Their buttons are in Irish and the Police band is known as ‘Siochána’.
On disbandment in 1922 a man with 12 years service was given an extra 10 years of added service to retire.
The Dublin Metropolitan Police was unarmed and subsumed into the Garda in 1925.
of the 85,000 personnel files only 4 have survived. The files dating from 1815 would contain a birth cert (official registration generally only started in 1865), a sketch of the recruit, his background, letters of recommendation, medical history, his wife’s details and his postings. Post Treaty in 1922 the flies were removed to Ealing outside London and were shredded in 1938.


Included below also are some details of West Corkmen who served in various Police Forces, this is a work in progress and any amendments and additions are welcome at pat25a@gmail.com