Irish Military Archives

Checkpoint on Inniscarra Bridge, Cork, during World War II
Checkpoint on Inniscarra Bridge, Cork, during World War II

The mission of the Military Archives is to acquire, preserve and make available to the public the documentary heritage of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence.

As such, the Military Archives is the place of deposit for the archives of the Defence Forces, the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board, under the terms of the National Archives Act, 1986. Archives are records with a special significance, records that are deemed to be of enduring value, for a variety of reasons. The term record includes paper documents such as ‘one off’ files, letters and memoranda, as well as pictorial records such as photographs and film. This is unlike the material held in a typical library, which is almost always printed or published material that has been widely disseminated in bound volume (book) format. Archives are therefore absolutely unique and irreplaceable: once lost they can never be recovered. Increasingly, archives today are also acquired in electronic format – whether sound, image or text digital files.

The Military Archives holds a significant volume of material that constitutes an extremely important part of the record for Ireland’s history in the 20th century.  Please note that different collections may be withdrawn from time to time to facilitate archival processing and to ensure preservation.  Major collections include:

  • The Bureau of Military History Collection, 1913-1921
  • The Collins Collection (disparate records relating to the restructuring and reorganisation of the I.R.A, 1919-1922)
  • Evacuation and truce liaison records
  • Maps, plans and drawings Collection (detailing most of the military barracks and posts handed over to the Free State in 1922)
  • Civil War Operations/Intelligence Reports & Prisoners Collection (of the National Army)
  • Railway Protection Corps Collection (Civil War)
  • Army census for every barracks and post in the Free State on 12th/13th November 1922
  • Personal files for officers and enlisted personnel since 1922 (available to next of kin only subject to data protection requirements; some records have not survived)
  • Department of Defence ‘A/’ files from 1922
  • Army Crisis Collection, 1924
  • Army Organisation Board Collection, 1926 and Military Mission Collection (to U.S. Army), 1926
  • Temporary Plans Division Collection, 1928
  • Minutes of GHQ Staff Conferences Collection, 1925-39
  • Department of Defence ‘2/’ files, 1925  to 1947
  • National Emergency files 1939-46: Director of Intelligence; Director of Operations; Construction Corps; Air Raid Precautions; Controller of Censorship; Emergency Defence Plans, Defence Forces Annual Reports; Crashes and forced landings of belligerent aircraft; captured U-boat records; internment camp records
  • Department of Defence ‘3/’ files, 1947  to 1961
  • Records specific to Naval Service and Air Corps
  • United Nations Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Forces from 1958