Find your ancestors in Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Service Records 1816-1922

Did your Irish ancestor serve in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)? Explore this plethora of RIC records containing general registers, disbandment registers, nominal returns, and more. You can also find records of Royal Irish Constabulary clerical staff.

With each result, you will find an image of the original document held at The National Archives in England and a transcript of the vital details. The transcripts will include a combination of the following details:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Year
  • Appointment date
  • Service number
  • Birth place
  • Religion
  • Address
  • Document description
  • Archive
  • Series and piece number


The information found on each image will vary depending on the subject of the records as well as whether they are registers or recruitment lists. Below are some of the details you will find in the various records.

  • Auxiliary division general register
  • These mostly consist of nominal rolls, which recorded the member’s service number, rank, dispersed date, and company name. You will also find division journals. The journals recorded the names of members as well as their company, dates of appointment and promotion, and details about whether the member stayed in the hospital at any point.

  • Clerical staff: record of service and salaries
  • These records list the names of the clerical staff who worked for the Royal Irish Constabulary. The lists recorded the staff member’s birth date, age at appointment, rank (such as junior or senior clerk), and department. You will also discover the person’s salary.

  • Constabulary Force Funds
  • There are two types of books related to the Constabulary Force Fund. One is the correspondence registers which contain lists of members’ names who paid into the fund with notes regarding whether the person had been pensioned, died, or received any rewards from the fund. The second set of records show the names of constables whose widows or children received monetary awards from the fund.

  • Constabulary lists
  • This list of chief constables was created during the first year of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The lists show the chief constable’s name, county, and station. Any marked with an asterisk are for chief constables of the 2nd class. Those marked with a cross means the constable was a member of the Peace Preservation Force, a peace keeping force which existed before the Royal Irish Constabulary.

  • Disbandment registers
  • The disbandment registers were created in 1922 when the Royal Irish Constabulary was disbanded after the creation of the Free Irish State. Each entry of the register includes a constable’s name, rank, number, birth year, and the number of years the constable spent in the force. They also noted the constable’s pensionable pay and the recommended pension.

  • General registers
  • These register books recorded the constables’ service history. The entries include the individual’s birth date, native county, religion, previous occupation, date of appointment, and promotions, as well as any rewards or punishments received and the date of pension or the date of discharge.

  • Nominal returns, arranged by counties
  • The lists are organised by county and include the names of all the men serving with the Royal Irish Constabulary. The lists recorded the individual’s number, rank, name, religion, date of appointment, marital status, and station location.

  • Officers’ registers
  • The officers’ registers are similar to the general registers. These registers also provide records of transfers and dates, favourable and unfavourable records, and dates of promotions, as well as indicating if the officer served in the army or navy.

  • Pensions and gratuities
  • There are a small number of pension records within this collection. They recorded the member’s name, number, county, rank, and age, as well as the number of years in service in the force. The registers also recorded the constable’s rate of pay and the amount of pension calculated.

  • Recruits: index
  • The index provides names of new recruits, their dates of appointment and arrival, and their company. The remarks column explains if the recruit resigned or was dismissed, as well as where they were stationed.

Other types of records you will find in this collection include

  • Chief of police department: staff and administration, correspondence
  • Conferring of the title `Royal Irish Constabulary': programme of ceremony (incomplete)
  • Constabulary code - revised edition
  • Dublin Metropolitan Police-D division. Superintendents journal and letter book
  • Head constables: list of ‘good’ men
  • Intelligence notes
  • Law opinions
  • Miscellaneous acts
  • Officers' numbers
  • Recovery of old firearms: Ballincollig
  • Recovery of old firearms: Carrickfergus
  • RIC acts (two copies, one with amendments to 1918)
  • Statement on behalf of the officers commenting on Part 1 of the Report of the Committee on the Police Services in England, Wales, and Scotland
  • Transport code: first edition
  • Veterans' division: temporary constables, drivers, fitters

Discover more about these records

The Royal Irish Constabulary service records are held at The National Archives in Kew as part of their HO 184 series, Irish Constabulary records. The collection contains a variety of records related to the administration of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Together, the records will help to provide an overview of your ancestor’s career in the force. The Irish Constabulary was created in 1836 and given its royal title in 1867 by Queen Victoria, becoming the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). Records in this collection show dates from before the creation of the constabulary force. These usually relate to men who served with the Peace Preservation Force, an early peace-keeping force in Ireland. The RIC constables found within these records were employed during contentious years in Irish history. They witnessed the Great Famine, land wars, the Easter Rising, the Irish War of Independence, and the beginning of the Irish Civil War.

Royal Irish Constabulary The Royal Irish Constabulary was established as a peace-keeping force dedicated to the detection and prevention of crime throughout Ireland. They also took over the responsibility of the Revenue Police to enforce the laws of whiskey production. The force trained at Phoenix Park Depot.
During the Irish War of Independence, RIC barracks were the targets of frequent attacks from the Irish Republican Army. Due to a decrease in members for reasons of death, injury, low recruitment, and resignation, the British government dispatched auxiliary forces of ex-servicemen to make up the numbers. This auxiliary force became known as the Black and Tans because of their uniform and were notorious for their brutality. The Anglo-Irish treaty ended the war on 6 December 1921 and the Irish Free State was established in January 1922. The Royal Irish Constabulary was disbanded in August 1922 and a new police force, Garda Síochána, took its place. In Northern Ireland, the police force became the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Search tips

Each record for your Royal Irish Constabulary ancestor recorded his service number. When you find one record for your ancestor, document his service number and use it to search all the records. The service number will help narrow your results and you may discover records you could not find before.

Many records only recorded the constable’s first initial; therefore, if your search is unsuccessful, try searching for only your ancestor’s surname or select the name variants option on the search field.

Did you find your ancestor in the disbandment registers? If so, you should search for your ancestor in the Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions 1826-1925 available in the Useful links and resources section.