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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


The Royal Irish Constabulary

The Police in Carlow

Source: Carloviana Vol 2. No. 27 1978/79. p.7.


The Police in Carlow

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., Dublin.

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 John Meigan, father of the present family of Meighans in Maryboro St. and Tullow St. also served in the town from 1913 to 1920.

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 Duffy.

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 Feore.

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. Seamus Leonard.

Other Garda arrivals in the 1920's were Gardai Andy Broughall and John McHugh, both retired and living at Granby Road and Ballinacarrig respectively.

Source: Carloviana Vol 2. No. 27 1978/79. p.7.


Oswald Swanzy

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 Michael Collins.

A Plaque erected in Lisburn Cathedral in memory of Oswald.

The brass Plaque has the following inscription.

MEMORY

'In proud and loving memory of
Oswald Ross Swanzy,
District Iinspector, Royal Irish Constabulary,
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."

INDEX

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