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The Royal Irish Constabulary
A Complete Alphabetical List of Officers and Men, 1816-1922
Jim Herlihy


 IPA Journal (December 1999)
'If any deficiency could be perceived in Jim Herlihy’s earlier book about the RIC published in 1997 it would be that it provided a selected list of 2,000 names only. This most recent publication is a monumental document to the memory of 85,028 men. Formerly, searching the records of the RIC was laborious but now with an alphabetic listing of all names one can procure information quite easily.

It could be argued that the data published here might best be provided on computer disk, however such a method could not hope to enjoy the affection this book will achieve.  Just to hold the book and flick through the pages is a fascinating invitation to word games. I opened it casually looking for the earliest Registration Numbers:- James Comsty 2817; John Collins 1862; Anthony Collins 385; William Clarke 289; William Evans No.]. In five easy steps I had completed my quest.  You could call it luck but it foes illustrate the facility with which
the record can be scanned.

As I perused the names I noted that those who had three Christian names were usually officers.  William Winslow was a cadet - perhaps the Winslow boy. I would like to know more about James McGillicuddy Eager. I found no names in the Irish language.  Could Lewis and Morse have been the original for the Inspector Morse series?  Parents seeking inspiration for a child's first name might consider Vitringa, Ormston, Casimir, Mordaunt, Tessier or Windrum.  On pages 274/275 I found a large number of surnames in the “mc” or “Mac” series, beginning in lower case.  This did not apply to names prefixed by “O”.  The more I studied the names the more I realised that each person had an interesting history, character and personality.

It is not surprising that genealogical research by the descendants of these men brings visitors to Ireland from around the world to seek information.  Select any name and number and Jim Herlihy can give you date and place of birth; rank; length of service; commendations; military or Garda Siochana service; date of marriage; trade or calling; and in many cases where and when he was wounded or killed.

I have made random tests to check the accuracy of this record and my amazement grows at the painstaking research to provide such an accurate reference. Indeed some of this data has been rested in courts as far away as America.  In many cases where people are seeking family records they have discovered data that was superior to that of other sources.  RIC records predate civil registration here by almost 50 years.

Looking at the list of abbreviations to show the native counties or countries of birth of the RIC, I note that this extends through Africa, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kuala Lumpur, Mauritius, Niagara, New Zealand, Russia, Valparaiso, even County Westmeath.  No doubt discussions in the Orderly Room were often stimulated by the foreign experience of these men.

This book is well bound (the pages lie comfortably for perusal).  It is clearly printed. I commend the publisher for providing a large letter at the outer edge of each page for easy reference' Brendon Colvert, IPA Journal, December 1999

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