Objects > Tankard from RIC Phoenix Park Training Depot


Tankard from wet canteen at RIC training depot

Date: 1890s

Material: pewter

Dimensions: 12 x 9 cm

Organisation: Royal Irish Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

This Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) pewter pint tankard was used to serve beer in the wet canteen at the Phoenix Park Training Depot. The depot was opened in 1842 to train recruits for the Irish Constabulary. Modelled on an army barracks, the recruits received military-style training in drill, musketry, physical training and cleaning as well as schooling in arithmetic, orthography, geography, grammar and bookkeeping. RIC training was longer and more intensive than that of other British forces, lasting four months by 1870, and six months by 1900. Recruits had to abide by a strict set of rules and follow a rigid regime. A typical day consisted of three hours learning police duties, one hour physical training, two hours drill and two hours musketry.

Officers and men trained separately. Rank and file recruits had to be unmarried, between 19 and 27 years old, be well-built, of a minimum height of 5ft 9in (a son of an RIC man could be 18 years old and 5ft 8in) with a mean chest measurement of 36in. They needed to be in excellent health and have a good primary education. The recruits had to be nominated by a person of standing in the community (priest, school teacher etc.) or recruited directly by a head constable or sergeant and be of "superior moral character for honesty, sobriety, fidelity and activity". The majority of recruits for rank and file were farmer’s sons or labourers whose career options outside the farm were limited to joining the police or army or emigration. These men joined the RIC for the camaraderie, regular wages, allowances, paid leave and retirement pension.