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RIC members

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1822 to 1922
Location: Ireland and Worldwidemap
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This page has been created to support researchers with an interest in members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the police force in Ireland from the early nineteenth century until 1922. Members of the RIC often moved around the country and were sometimes anonymised in the census records and hence they can be difficult to trace.

The Constabulary Act of 1822 created Ireland's first country-wide police force, the County Constabulary. Four provincial police forces were established; in the north with a depot at Armagh, in the west with a depot at Ballinrobe, in the centre of Ireland with a depot at Daingean, and in the south with a depot at Ballincollig. Each force would have sixteen constables appointed by local magistrates under the supervision of the Inspector General based at Dublin Castle. [1]

Success in containing the Fenian Rising of 1867 was rewarded by Queen Victoria who granted the force the prefix 'Royal' in 1867.

Following the Treaty of 1921, the RIC became the predecessor of Garda Síochána in the Irish Free State and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Northern Ireland. It existed at a tumultuous time in Ireland's history and was prominently involved in evictions and later Trade Union unrest. [2]

Tracing Your Ancestors in the Royal Irish Constabulary

This section is based on information in Jim Herlihy's 'The Royal Irish Constabulary':[3]
General Information

  • Members of the RIC were not permitted to be married until they had seven years' service
  • Members had to be 19 to join (18 if their father was a member)
  • Members were not permitted to serve in their home county or wife's home county
  • Members had to be 5' 9" to join (5' 8" for sons of members).

RIC Rank Structures

  • 2nd class Sub-Constable (abolished 1883)
  • 1st class Sub-Constable (abolished 1883)
  • Acting Constable (introduced 1859; retitled Acting Sergeant 1883, abolished 1918)
  • Constable (retitled Sergeant 1883)
  • 2nd class Head Constable
  • 1st class Head Constable (one Head Constable Major in the Depot).

A cadet was promoted to 3rd class sub-inspector on completing training and being allocated to a district.

  • 3rd class Sub-Inspector (retitled District Inspector 3rd class 1883)
  • 2nd class Sub-Inspector (retitled District Inspector 2nd class 1883)
  • 1st class Sub-Inspector (retitled District Inspector 1st class 1883)
  • 2nd class County Inspector
  • 1st class County Inspector
  • Provincial Inspector (retitled Assistant Inspector General 1883)
  • Deputy Inspector General
  • Inspector General.

RIC Service Registers
The registers for 83,500 members and 1,500 officers from 1816 to 1922 are in the National Archives, Kew (HO 184 Series). Microfilm copies are in the National Archives, Dublin (MFA Series) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has also made copies (085 series). The registers contain a host of information about each member's service.
The Registers of Officers also run from 1816 to 1922 and cover 1,500 officers and, similarly, contain a wealth of information. Herlihy's 'Royal Irish Constabularly Officers - A Biographical Dictionary and Genealogical Guide, 1816-1922' (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005) covers all these officers.

The Royal Irish Constabulary Index was compiled from the service registers and lists all members alphabetically with age on enlistment, native county, marital status, year of enlistment, comments and the LDS film number.

The RIC Lists
The RIC Lists were published from 1840 to 1921, twice per year. Full copies are in the British Library and incomplete copies in the National Library of Ireland, the Garda Siochana Museum, Dublin Castle's Record Tower and the RUC Museum. The Lists included:

  • Promotions and retirements
  • Officers in order of seniority, including allocated counties and districts
  • Deaths of superannuated officers
  • Medal awards for all serving members
  • List of stations.

Pension Records
The National Archives, Kew, has details of RIC pensions 1873-1925 (PMG 48) and allowances granted. These records have been digitised and are available on FindMyPast.

Registers of the Auxiliary Division
Records of this force are available in four volumes (50 through 53 of the HO 184 Series). As most members of the Auxiliaries were former British army officers, this information is particularly useful to members of English or Scottish families.

Wikitree Royal Irish Constabulary Category

Profiles can be viewed here.

Existing Wikitree profiles will be added over time. Profiles to be investigated further and/or added to the category include:











  • Robert Willis 1838-1922 (served in Cape Colony & N.Z. Armed Constabulary)
  • Robert Willis 1808-1887 (married before he had 7 years' service in the Constabulary)
  • Hugh Bracken (served in Victoria, Australia)
  • Hugh William Bracken (not RIC: Ireland but a member of the Victorian Constabulary, organized on the RIC model)
























Joining the Project

If you have an interest in working on this project, please leave a comment on the page or related G2G post or contact: Valerie Willis.

Sources and Useful Links

  1. Irish-Police.com : CONSTABULARY OF IRELAND (1822-1836)
  2. Constabulary (Ireland) Act 1922
  3. The Royal Irish Constabulary - A short history and genealogical guide with a select list of medal awards and casualties - Jim Herlihy, published by Open Air (first published 1997; revised and expanded version 2016)

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