Image of UL Garda digital archive launch in UL Library
Friday, 10 March 2023

A unique collection of material covering the first 10 years of policing in the State has been digitised by University of Limerick and An Garda Síochána.

The Garda Review Archive, a unique collection of digitised volumes from 1922 to 1933, was launched at an event in UL’s Glucksman Library on Wednesday 8th March 2023.  The Glucksman Library and its Special Collections and Archives has been working with An Garda Síochána to digitise the 10-year run of the Garda Review and make it accessible via the UL Digital Library. It offers a unique, digital, and fully searchable window into policing in Ireland from the Civil War through the early Free State.

The Garda Review was established in 1923, a year after the force originated. It is now the longest established magazine in Ireland. The digitised collection covers 1922-1933, so roughly the first decade of the State and includes early accounts of policing and policing policy, divisional news and movements and transfers of individual Garda, Irish language articles and sporting accounts. The issues include numerous photographs, drawings, and period advertising and the new digital collection is completely searchable, rendering names and place names open to researchers.

The collection was launched by Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon, who has a long association both with UL and the Limerick Garda Division, Provost and Deputy President of UL Professor Shane Kilcommins and Ciara McCaffrey, interim director of the Glucksman Library.

Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon said: “An Garda Síochána are delighted to launch the digitised volumes of the Garda Review from 1922-1932 with the Glucksman Library of University of Limerick. This project, which commenced during our Centenary year, represents a strengthening of our partnership with the University of Limerick, and presented a unique opportunity to preserve should a valuable and historic archive, using the state-of-the-art facilities in the Glucksman Library. 

“The collection will represent a fascinating look at what was the formative years of An Garda Síochána, not only from an organisational perspective, but also a unique look at the social side of An Garda Síochána at that time. It gives a significant insight into the community and sporting history of An Garda Síochána during those formative years, which ensured we remained an organisation embedded in our communities, and of our communities.

“I have no doubt that such a unique archive will not only interest historians, but also the public who will have an opportunity to be reminded of times gone by, and witness the evolution of An Garda Síochána during these formative years.

“This project represented an excellent opportunity for An Garda Síochána, with our colleagues in the Glucksman Library and University of Limerick, to preserve a key piece of history for An Garda Síochána and to build on a strong relationship with the University of Limerick. An Garda Síochána will continue into the future build on this unique archive with University of Limerick to continue to digitise and preserve the history of An Garda Síochána for future generations.”

Provost and Deputy President of UL Professor Shane Kilcommins said: “The digitisation of the first 10 years of the Garda Review by the Glucksman Library deepens the existing strong ties between UL and An Garda Síochána and strengthens the nearly decade long, close relationship between the two bodies.

“This shift to the digital in the deeply collaborative ties between An Garda Síochána and UL marks a new milestone in the relationship between the two organisations. The University is delighted to provide access to these important historical documents of An Garda Síochána.

“The state-of-the-art, high quality photographic scans available on the platform and the long-term preservation features of the system mean that this material will be openly accessible to researchers for many years.

“The connections and collaboration between UL and An Garda Síochána are firmly brought into the digital world with the launch of this collection,” Professor Kilcommins added.

Ciara McCaffrey, interim director of the Glucksman Library, said: The Glucksman Library at UL has worked to unite a state-of-the-art facility with services facilitating digital, open, and impactful scholarship.

“The launch of the UL Digital Library late last year means that UL’s unique and priceless collections are opened to digital interrogation by a global, as well as local, cohort of researchers.

“The inclusion of the Garda Review in the UL Digital Library means that the Irish-facing, early 20th century gems of this publication are now available to a global 21st century audience. This project is a wonderful example of cultural heritage in the digital age and provides researchers with exciting new ways of exploring Ireland's history.”

The digitised Garda Review/Iris an Gárda 1922-1933 is available to view here: