Cumann na mBan
The badge above was worn by women in Cumann na mBan. The design above is usually regarded as the original design but the badges were made to order by several Dublin jewelers and it is just as likely that the design below could be the original design. Cumann na mBan remained in existence long after the Rising and enjoyed several surges in popularity including WW2 and at various time during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. After the Civil War Cumann na mBan were regarded as a hard-line Republican movement.
The badge is still produced and sold as original 1916 badges. Silver and gold versions were produced for women who could afford to have such items made and these were hallmarked.
Founded on the 2nd of April 1914 Cumann na mBan is regarded as the women’s branch of the Irish Volunteers. While it is usually assumed that ‘On 23 April 1916, when the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood finalized arrangements for the Easter Rising, it integrated Cumann na mBan, along with the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army, into the Army of the Irish Republic'. Patrick Pearse was appointed overall Commandant-General and James Connolly Commandant-General of the Dublin Division’ women were not permitted to join the Irish Defence Forces until 1979. There were no women in the Free State Army or The Dublin Brigade.
Original Irish Volunteers belt with buckle.
I have seen these belt buckles offered as 1916 Rising Irish Volunteers buckles, they are Victorian era London Irish Rifle buckles.
Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers cap badge circa 1914. This is an Other Rank’s example in bronze.
Dublin Brigade cap badge officers white metal or silver.
Circa 1914 National Volunteers button
Cap badge of the Dublin Regiment National Volunteers with two lugs to reverse, this example dates from circa 1914.
Oriel House CID
On the 22nd of August 1922 the Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.) was formed, it was separate from any of the existing police forces and under the control of the Minister for Home Affairs. Members for the new force were drawn from the Army and Republican Police and were based in Oriel House, Westland Row, Dublin. The force consisted of over one hundred men and three women, the women were officially employed as secretaries but were in fact employed to deal with women engaged in hostilities against the State.
Oriel House C.I.D. Badge
This badge was allegedly issued to detectives serving with Oriel House. I say allegedly because there are several stories about the issue of the badge and at least two different designs which make me unsure. 150 of the badges were ordered from O’Callaghan’s of Dame Street who were the supplied the Free State Army. O’Callaghan’s gave the order to the Irish Jewellery Company of Kevin Street. During the manufacture of the badges the Anti-Treaty side heard that they were being made and broke into Irish Jewellery Company and stole them. They were allegedly used by the Anti-Treaty side to impersonate Oriel House detectives. The story sort of divides here, one version says the because of the security breach no more badges were made, the other version says more badges of a different design were made.
Both badges are similar in design. An O on top of an H for Oriel House topped with a half sunburst with s e for Saorstát Éireann, on one design the background enamelling on the half sunburst is orange and a more yellow shade on the other. The letters on one design are picked out in green enamelling whereas the other design there is no enamelling. Both design are numbered in the cross-bar of the H, I have obscured the numbers on these two badges because they were sold in Dublin, one about 2 years ago and the other about 11 years ago, as the sellers were kind enough to allow me to take photos of them I do not want to indicate if one or both are genuine or fake because I do not know. The badges sometimes come in a flip-up, rather decorative, leather wallet. The wallet will have a metal number attached to the front, this number should match the number on the badge.
I have seen several mentions of the theft of these badges on the internet which give a reference to an Irish Department of Justice file. I have checked with the Irish Department of Justice and they tell me the reference number given is not the type of referencing system they use but if anyone has a copy of this file I would really appreciate a copy.