Jim Herlihy’s short history of the RIC (Four Courts Press 1997) quotes from two travel accounts of the new force in the 1840s in West Cork.
In 1840 Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Carter Hall toured Ireland and visited the then new barracks at Ballineen (Ballyneen):
The police station we first visited was Ballyneen, a village near Dunmanway which we were merely passing through, and of course as our inspection was quite unlooked for, it was consequentially unprepared for. The sergeant, a remarkably fine and intelligent young man, Alex Hewson, readily complied with our request to be permitted to examine his barrack. It contained five men, strong and active fellows: the rooms were all whitewashed, the little garden was well-cultived and free from weeds. The men slept in iron bed-steads, and the palliasses, blankets, pillows etc., were neatly rolled up and placed at the head of each. The firearms and bayonets, each as polished as a mirror, were hung up over each bed, and the floors were as clean as ‘a new pin’. Each man had his small box at his bed foot. All was in perfect order as if it had been prepared in this little out-of-the-way place for the accustomed call of the inspector. The sub-inspector we learned, visited the station once a month and the inspector once a quarter. In tis barracks the men were all bachelors; but it was usual to assign one married man with his wife to each barrack.-the wife of course, arranged the rooms, and provided the meals of the men who always mess together. We afterwards examined many other stations and invariably found out first impressions borne out.
The German traveller Kohl travelled for Bantry to Kenmare and his account was published in 1844:
Widely distributed as they (The RIC) are, they are proving very effective. The walls of the little inns at which we stop to change horses were generally placarded with numerous government proclamations, offering rewards for the discovery of criminals, those who burnt houses, committ ed murders etc. Going by mai car pver a wild road from Bantry to Kenmare, I passed one of the new police stations which I notices as having a fortified like appearance of the military stations so picturesquely situated in the wild regions of the Austrian frontier. I got off the car to inspect the place and had a talk with the sergeant in charge who provided me with much much interesting information. The sergeant informed me that the county of Kerry was comparatively quiet but that in certain districts, Tipperary for instance, riots, party fights and murders for revenge were the order of the day, and that in these days, there were police stations every three of four miles.