Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

The Royal Irish Constabulary
R.I.C Handover
The Civic Guards in Carlow

Source:  Jake Duggan

R.I.C Handover and the Civic Guards in Carlow:

By Jake Duggan

Introduction to Law enforcement in Carlow prior to the handover.

Like every other county in Ireland Carlow had its fair share of Royal Irish Constabulary barracks' and men. The first Barracks to open in Carlow was on Burrin Street. The barracks at Forge Cross would handle Graiguecullen and the surrounding area.

Carlow was divided into two R.I.C districts, Carlow and Muinebeag, with Carlow itself being the County and district Headquarters or H.Q Carlow's R.I.C. Barracks moved to Tullow St. in 1870 (This is the barraks in Carlow that would later be handed over to the Civic Guards).

In 1916 the strength of the Carlow R.I.C was reported to be:

1 County inspector
2 District inspector
2 Head constables
69 Other ranks

Handover of the Barracks' and the actions that followed. The last members of the R.I.C left Carlow in February of 1922 as reported in the nationalist:

“The minister for local government wrote acknowledging receipt of the council’s letter relative to the R.I.C barracks and stated that the matter was having attention. The town clerk said this was in reply to a letter which he had written relative to a suggestion that the barracks would be procured for the purpose of relieving the congestion in housing in the town. Continuing the town clerk said that they had ascertained since the barracks belonged to the Duke of Leinster and immediately on it being vacated by the R.I.C., it fell back into his hands again. It was only leased to the sectary state of war the council decide to await developments.”

On the 28th of September 1922 the Civic guards took over. There were: 3 sergeants and 28 guards in the Carlow Civic guard at this time.

The sergeants were: Martin Walsh, John McGlion and Patrick Duffy. Here is what the Nationalist had to say on the matter:

“About 50 members of the Civic Guard arrived at Carlow on Thursday and took quarters at the former R.I.C. barracks.”

On the 15th of November the first inspector arrived in Carlow, he was Dan Hanlon. On the 4th of December 1922 Sgt. McGlion and three other guards opened Muinebeag station and on the same day Sgt. Duffy opened Tullow station.

The Hacketstown and Borris stations were opened in January of 1923.

Carlow also got its first superintendent around this time, he was Nicholas Murphy.

Here is what the Nationalist reported about the Hacketstown barracks and the events that unfolded at it in the Hacketstown notes 20th January 1923:

“Civic Guards -A Sergeant and four members of the Civic Guard arrived in Hacketstown from the depot on Wednesday and took up their quarters in the barracks that had been prepared for them at Kilconnaught, about a quarter mile from town. On Friday night a party of men numbering about a dozen, armed with rifles and revolvers and having gained admittance ordered the guards to pack up their personal belongings and be ready to quit at the word of command. All government property such as beds , clothing , uniforms etc. were piled in a heap in the yard and drenched with petrol and set alight. Thee Guards were then marched towards town and warned under pain of serious penalties not to be found in possession of the building again.

The burning was subject to vigorous denunciation from the alter on Sunday by Rev. Father Monahan P.P. , who called the civil population to support the civic guards, whom they were all glad to welcome amongst them, and thus show these unarmed, unoffending men that they (the public) had no sympathy with the perpetrator of the outrage.”

The opening week of the Borris station was less eventful.

Source: Jake Duggan Nov 2012

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