The Police in
By Jim Westman
IN 1835 a bill was introduced to
reorganise the police system in Ireland. Its purpose was to
create one force for the country — outside of Dublin — and
so replace the Peace Preservation Force established in 1814.
In 1836, on the 20th of May the bill became law and was
known as the Constabulary (Ireland) Act, 1836.
In the same year, 1836, the
Dublin Police Act was passed, creating a new force for
Dublin City. The bounds of this district were already formed
by an Act of 1786. Thus out of the Dublin Police Act, 1836
and Constabulary (Ireland) Act, 1836 was born the Irish
Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police. Four provincial
depots served the constabulary: Philipstown (Daingean) for
Leinster; Ballincollig, Co. Cork for Munster; Ballinrobe for
Connaught and Armagh for Ulster. Its first Inspector General
was Colonel James Shaw Kennedy. The provincial depots were
afterwards replaced by a central headquarters and training
depot in Phoenix Park, Dublin, this being built in 1846. The
Metropolitan Police had its training depot at Kevin St.,
The strength of the constabulary
was fixed by Act at 10,500 men. However this strength was
subject to change. In the 1850's it was almost 13,000 and in
the early 1880's it reached an all time high of 14,400. It
was spread over the country in about 1500 police barracks
and established on semi military lines.
The strength of the Dublin
Metropolitan Police stood at around 1,200 being divided into
seven districts. Its first recruit, back in 1837 was
Constable Delaney, a native of Durrow, Co. Laois. Up to its
amalgamation with the Garda Siochana in 1925, it had
recruited roughly 12,600 men.
The first police barracks in
Carlow town was in Burrin St., opened in 1840 and formerly
the Yellow Line Inn. At Forge Cross, Graiguecullen, another
police barracks was situated, serving Graiguecullen and
adjoining area. The police moved to the barracks in Tullow
St., now occupied by the Garda, in 1870. County Carlow was
divided into two police districts, that of Carlow and
Muinebeag, Carlow town being county and district
headquarters combined. Other barracks were at Blacklion,
Milford, Tullow, Rathvilly, Hacketstown, Ballon, Borris,
Ballinree, Clonegal, Fenagh, Palatine, Nurney,
Leighlinbridge, Myshall and St. Mullins.
Palatine and Nurney were
discontinued as barracks around the 1890's. Ballinree which
was situated roughly between Muinebeag and Borris was
discontinued in 1905. Strength of the R.I.C. for Carlow
county in 1916 was as follows: — One County Inspector, two
district inspectors, two head-constables, 69 other ranks.
In the period 1903-05 the county
inspector in Carlow town was Co. Inspector Brooke; the
District Inspector was D.I. Samuel Carter who resided at
Otterholt, Kilkenny Road and also had residence at Monavea,
Crettyard, Co. Laois. At the same time the District
Inspector in Muinebeag was D. I. Roberts, later Assistant
Inspector-General of the R.U.C., in Belfast. In line the
succeeding District Inspectors at Carlow were D. I.
Swanzy and D. I. Reid, who in turn was succeeded by
D. I. Townsend who was last D.I. in Carlow town before the disband-ment of
the force in 1922. The last Head-Constable was H. C. James
McGlinchey. The head-constable was actually the member in
charge of the barracks or station. Other head constables to
serve in Carlow town in the early 1900's were head
constables John Reynolds and John McCoy. In Muinebeag the
last District Inspector was D. I. Winder. Constable
Meigan, father of the present family of Meighans in Maryboro
St. and Tullow St. also served in the town from 1913 to
The last of the R.I.C. departed
from Carlow in February, 1922 and on the 28th September,
1922, the first members of the Garda Force, then known as
Civic Guards arrived in Carlow. This force consisted of a
party of three Sergeants and twenty eight Gardai.
The Sergeants were Sergeant
Martin Walsh, Sergeant John McGloin and Sergeant Patrick
Duffy. The Gardai were: Gardai Denis Flynn, Peter Flanagan,
John Rodgers, Martin Walsh, Michael Tuohy, Patrick Mclnerney,
Martin Fennessy, John O'Connor, Joseph Ryan and Jeremiah
Cahill and others whose names are unknown. Denis Flynn, now
retired, resides in Burrin St.
On the 4th December, 1922,
Sergeant McGloin and three men opened Muinebeag Station and
on the same date Tullow Station was opened by Sergeant
Inspector Dan Hallinan was the
first Inspector to arrive on the 15th November, 1922. He was
replaced in June, 1923, by Inspector Harry McGann.
First Superintendent to be
appointed to the town was Supt. Nicholas Murphy. Later
Superintendents were Connolly, Kenny and
Hacketstown and Borris Stations
were opened in early January, 1923. The first Sergeant in
Hacketstown was Sergeant Hudson who later on retirement
resided at Granby Road, Carlow.
The District Courts were
established on a regular basis from 9th July, 1923. Carlow
District Court was on the second Monday of each month at 12
noon. First District Justice for the area was District
Justice Liam Price and the District Court Clerk was D.C.C.
Other Garda arrivals in the
1920's were Gardai Andy Broughall and
John McHugh, both
retired and living at Granby Road and Ballinacarrig
Source: Carloviana Vol 2. No.
27 1978/79. p.7.
Oswald Swanzy was stationed in
the Carlow Barrack as District Inspector of the Royal
Irish Constabulary for 6 years, he lived at No. 33 Athy
Road, Oswald was on his way to Church service with his
mother and sister when he was assassinated by order of
A Plaque erected in Lisburn
Cathedral in memory of Oswald.
The brass Plaque has the
- 'In proud and loving memory
- Oswald Ross Swanzy,
- District Iinspector, Royal
- who gave his life in Lisburn
on Sunday August 22, 1920
- and his gallant comrades
who, like him,
- have been killed in the
unfaltering discharge of their duty
- and in the
service of their country.
- Be thou faithful unto death
and I will give you a crown of life."
Early 1960s.Left to right ~
Garda Pat King, Browne Street. Michael Foley, Barrack
Track. Dinny Flynn, Burrin Street. John Kelly, Barrack
Street. Jim McGrath, Killians Crescent. Sgt O'Neill,
Granby Row, he fought in GPO in 1916. John McHugh, Garda
Station and a new Guard in town Michael Callinan.
Source: Michael Purcell on Facebook May 2016.
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