Four Courts Press 
New Catalogue
Spring 2006
45/40/$55 hbk

The Irish policeman, 1822-1922: a life


This book analyzes the working and domestic lives of the nearly 90,000 men who served in the Irish police between the establishment of a national constabulary in 1822 and the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1922. It is constructed as a collective biography, tracing the lives and careers of policemen from birth to death.

The book draws upon a wide range of sources, some never used before. They include the results of the analysis of a random sample of 8,000 officers and men; unpublished police memoirs and other personal documents; and the letters of some 200 descendants of policemen. For over a century the Constabulary was the most powerful arm of British government in Ireland, yet after the Famine its members were overwhelmingly Catholic nationalists. The book considers how such men reconciled their Irish nationalism with their work for the British state and how their children and grandchildren dealt with being the descendants of policemen.

Elizabeth Malcolm is Gerry Higgins Professor of Irish Studies, U Melbourne, Australia, and the author of a number of works on crime, drink and medicine in Ireland.

272pp ills Spring 2006