The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was Ireland’s armed police force. Some 85,028 men passed through its ranks. It operated alongside the Dublin Metropolitan Police (1836-1925) which had its own forces. Londonderry and Belfast also had their own forces, but they were disbanded by 1870. The RIC assumed their duties. The RIC included both Catholic and Protestant men. The RIC was used as a model in establishing the Canadian North West Mounted Police, the Victoria Police force in Australia, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in Newfoundland, Canada.
It was created in 1816 and consisted of Irish born men. After 1900 they recruited men from England, Scotland, United States and Wales. The original records can be quite detailed including not only recruitment information, but also birth information and emigration data.
An ongoing index to the collection (1816-1921) is being created by Ancestry.com: www.ancestry.com from the microfilm of the records at the Family History Library (FHL). Their database “Ireland, The Royal Irish Constabulary 1816-1921” should be referenced constantly for updates. Without an index, the originals can be difficult to access. The Ancestry index lists the name, age, birthplace, year enlisted, FHL microfilm, and page number. It’s enough to get you into the microfilm of the original record.
This is an important genealogical topic; with no shortage of information online. There is an online “The Royal Irish Constabulary Forum” for descendants of the RIC: www.irishgenealogyqueries.yuku.com Irish genealogy blogger Donna Moughty also has a nice presentation on the RIC on her Monday July 18, 2011: www.moughty.com Other information can be found on the National Archives (KEW) website concerning their collection: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guides/royal-irish-constabulary.htm Also, do not overlook the RIC website: www.royalirishconstabulary.com
The RIC was disbanded in 1922 and replaced in the Irish Free State by the Garda Siochana and in Northern Ireland by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.