Archive for May 18th, 2011

Garda Museum and Archive

18 May 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

Last week I took a guided trip around the Garda Museum and Archive which resides in a two hundred year old Record Tower at Dublin Castle. The safe above is just one of the treasures which the museum holds. It is the safe from which the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen. The jewels were commissioned to be worn by the monarch when bestowing the Knighthood of St Patrick (the Irish equivalent of the Order of the Garter) on Irish figures. They were held in Dublin Castle and in 1903 a new strong room was built to protect.  The door in ths new strong room was too narrow, however, and the safe was too big to get in though the door. New precautions had to be taken by the Officer of Arms of Dublin Castle, Arthur Vicars to protect the jewels. The keys to the safe were held by Vicars and the safe itself was hidden behind 7 locked doors. The precautions were not enough and on 6 July 1907, just four days before a visit from Edward VII to Ireland, the jewels were discovered to have been stolen from the safe- notice the thief proof guarantee on the door!)

The museum is filled with treasures of this kind and nuggets about policing in the capital and the National Police Force at large. Some of the wonderful items on display include full nineteenth-century uniforms for senior and junior ranking police members, early photographs of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, caricatures and sketches of the force, handbooks provided to DMP officers, medals and honours and other police memorabilia. The record tower itself formerly held prisoners which adds a further eerie element to the museum. Read more