Garda Uniform and Badges
First Issue Irish Garda Button
Maker’s mark J. Ireland and Son Ltd. Dublin. J Ireland produced buttons for Poiliní Átha Cliath from 1922 to 1925 and were the first to produce buttons for Garda Siochana. There is a noticeable difference between first and later issues, first issue buttons have a flattened top to the dome.
Decorative buttons were used on the cap of Commissioners and other high-ranking Garda, I have only seen these decorative types on caps from the 1930s and 1940s. The button is smaller than the epaulet button. The epaulet button usually measures 17mm across, the cap button measures 10mm, the buttons were made of low-grade silver and when polished would shine up nicely.
Garda Uniform Button
Garda gold coloured current issue buttons. Larger is for the tunic and the smaller for the tunic epaulets.
Garda letters and Numbers
A combination of one letter followed by a number was used to identify a Garda and which station he served in. From the 1940s up to the early 1960s the letters and numbers were made from silvered brass, well-used letters and numbers have a slight brass look as the silvering has worn away and the brass is showing through. From the early 1960s up to the 1980s white metal was used to make letters and numbers, the white metal version although very similar to the silvered brass does not show the brass sheen after prolonged use. In the 1980s the letters and numbers were made of chrome; the chrome version is shinier and more reflective than the earlier versions.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Dublin Metropolitan Area used the letters A to N to identify each district, each letter could represent two or more stations within a district. The letter I was no used.
A. Kevin Street, Kilmainham
B. Harcourt Terrace, Pearse Street
D. Bridewell, Mountjoy
E. Donnybrook, Irishtown, Rathmines
F. Blackrock, Dalkey, Dun Laoghaire, Kill of the Grange
G. Crumlin, Sundrive
H. Ballymun, Malahide, Santry, Swords, Whitehall
J. Clontarf, Howth, Raheny
K. Blanchardstown, Cabra, Coolock, Finglas
L. Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Lucan
M. Dundrum, Rathfarnham, Tallaght, Terenure
N. Bray, Cabinteely, Enniskerry, Greystones, Shankill, Stepaside
A first pattern Garda Siochana coat. This eight buttoned, high neck coat is the first type of uniform used by An Garda Siochana, and was used while on duty in city locations.
Garda belt buckle.
Garda four panel helmet. The helmet was worn from 1922 up to the 1940s when it was replaced by the six panel in the 1950s. The helmet is referred to as the Ball-Topped helmet because of the distinctive ball finial on the top, the 1940s issue six panel had a rose finial. The first Garda helmet was a four panelled blue cloth, cork helmet, identical in style to the home service other ranks pattern helmet worn by enlisted ranks in the British army.
Garda Cap Badges
First issue Garda cap Badge produced for the Irish police service after independence in 1922 the word “SAIOCÁNA” is spelled with an older Gaelic spelling which included a “T” “SIOTCÁNA” This pattern was used up to about 1940.
Second issue Garda cap “SAIOCÁNA” is spelled without the “T” on the first issue it was spelled with the T as in “SIOTCÁNA” This pattern was used from the 1940s up to the 1960s. The second issue is a dull white metal colour and can also be seen in what looks like a more yellow colour cast on it, the yellow was due to the type of metal used.
Although no strictly speaking a 3rd issue in the 1960s the cap badge was issued in chrome. The chrome issue is more shiny than the 2nd issue badges. The badge was used from the 1960s up to the 1990s and was replaced with the plain gold coloured issue.
Gold coloured (not made of gold) staybrite type issued from about the mid-1990s and was replaced by the gold with enamelled type blue colouring.
Current issue cap badge.
Garda Helmet Badges
Garda 7cm Helmet Day Badge. This style of badge was worn on the Gard four and six panel helmet. In 1925 when the DMP became part of the Garda this style of badge replaced the DMP badge on the 4 panel helmet. The badge measures 7cm across and has three log fixing on the back.
Garda 7cm Helmet night Badge. This style of badge was worn on the Gard four and six panel helmet. In 1925 when the DMP became part of the Garda this style of badge replaced the DMP badge on the 4 panel helmet. The badge measures 7cm across and has three log fixing on the back. Identical in design to the day badge it is blackened to reduce visibility of the badge.
On Garda cap badges produced for the Irish police service after independence in 1922 the word “SAIOCÁNA” is spelled with an older Gaelic spelling which included a “T” ie “SIOTCÁNA” badges without the “T” date from after the mid 1940’s.
Last issue helmet badge (motorcycle badge)
Measures 5.5cm by 5.5cm. Although described as the motor cycle helmet badge, and it was worn by garda motor cyclists, it was introduced in the 1940s early and first worn on the six panel Garda “Bobby” style helmet. It was the last issue of the helmet badge before the helmet was completely replaced by the cap and motor cycle helmets were no longer suitable to attach badges to.
Inspectors Cuff Rank Badge
1st and 2nd issues Inspectors Cuff Rank badge, measures 72mm by 68mm. Second issue pattern issued from the 1940s up to about the 1960s. First issue used silver bullion wire 2nd issues was all thread for the design. 1st issue was used from the foundation of the Guards up to about 1940.
Garda Síochána Rank Insignia
Gold bullion wire on red felt bar and pip used in various combinations to denote rank of Inspector and above.
An Garda Síochána Overseas Service Badge
Worn by members of An Garda Síochána who were on overseas service with the United Nations. The first mission was in 1989 to Namibia, 50 members of An Garda Síochána took part in the first mission. The badge was worn on a brassard with an Irish Defence Forces overseas missions Irish tricolour badge.
There are slight variations in the badge depending on which mission the badges was issued for. As far as I know the first issue had a black backing, 2nd issue had a black backing but was smaller than the first issue, next was a white felt backing then a white felt backing on a bound badge but this information is somewhat circumspect as badges were issued in low numbers and often made for each individual group assigned to a mission.
Garda ID Badge
The Garda ID Badge, metal, used by Garda in an ID wallet with the badge displayed on one side with the details including picture of the Garda on the other.
The Garda badge above left image is being offered on various websites as genuine. Sometimes offered in a wallet sometimes as an individual badge. As you can see in comparison to the genuine badge on the right the text style used is different, note the A's in Síochna and the G on garda.
Garda Male Voice Choir
Measures 78mm by 62mm. Used from the foundation of the Choir in 1972 up to about 1990. The Garda Male Voice Choir was established in 1972 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of An Garda Síochána. Based in Garda Headquarters in Dublin, the choir includes both serving and retired members.
Poiliní Átha Cliath
In 1922 the new Free State Government re-branded the Dublin Metropolitan Police, the new force for Dublin being named Poiliní Átha Cliath. Poiliní Átha Cliath remained in existence until 1925 when it was merged with An Garda Síochána.
Poiliní Átha Cliath