Find your ancestors in Ireland, Irish Revenue Police 1830-1857

Every result will provide you with a brief transcript and an image of the Irish Revenue Police document. The nature of each record can vary, so it is important to read the original document to understand why your ancestor has appeared in these records.

  • Name
  • Year
  • Date
  • Station or address
  • County
  • Archive and reference
  • Piece and series content


These excellently captured images of the Irish Revenue Police will give you even further particulars about your ancestor. There are various types of documents available to view. You will find lists of new appointments, which will give you the date of the candidate’s appointment, which corps or party he was assigned to and who appointed him.

The collection holds minutes of appointments, which recorded transfers of privates between stations or parties. They also recorded dismissals of privates. A person could be dismissed for riotous behaviour, being unfit for service or being drunk on duty. For example, Private Richard Seales was found guilty of being drunk on duty and was dismissed from his position on Saturday, 6 December 1845.

The records will also show when privates were appointed to permanent positions at the end of their probation period.

Discover more about these records

The records in this collection are from The National Archives in Kew, England. They are listed as CUST111, along with their boards of customs, excise and HM Revenue records. The Irish Revenue Police were formed to work with the Customs and Excise Service to prohibit illegal distillation or liquors and spirits or poteen (poitín) making. Due to the inherent dangers of their work, such as going up against gangs of resisting distillers, it was an armed force. The privates worked in groups or parties. The first stations were set up in Sligo and Ballina in 1818. The number of stations grew to 500 stations. In 1845, the force was split into two districts, Northern and Southern. Most of the members were stationed on the west coast of Ireland. In 1857, an enquiry commission found that the Irish Revenue Police were so effective in reducing illegal distilling that the force was no longer needed and the Irish Constabulary would take over its responsibilities. Many of the Irish Revenue Police subsequently enlisted in the Irish Constabulary.


Each person joining the Irish Revenue Police could enter as a private or a lieutenant. All private candidates were required to be single with no children and under the age of 24. Once a candidate married, they were dismissed from the service. He needed to be of strong character and able to read and write. Also, every candidate had to be five feet seven inches in height. Privates were on a probation period for one year, and if they showed good conduct in that time period, they would be offered a permanent place. Candidates for lieutenants had similar requirements, but they were allowed to be married with no more than two children and were required to be between the ages of 20 and 25. He also needed to provide two references to his character and respectability.