Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I book an appointment, and what facilities are available in the reading room?

The reading room at Military Archives has eight seats and is located downstairs in the archives building. Prior appointment (by telephone to 00 353 (0)1 804 6457 is necessary to secure a place, due to space limitations. At present, the reading room is open from 1000hrs to 1600hrs, Tuesday to Thursday (inclusive).

Many collections have paper finding aids, but most research will require an orientation with the duty archivist to ascertain which records are most relevant. This can be done on arrival. Power sockets are available for laptop use. Use of cameras may be permitted by prior permission only, provided images are taken for one-time, personal study use only and a legal agreement form is signed.

To facilitate the administration of your appointment in Military Archives you can prepare some of the reading room forms in advance of your visit.

Rules for the Reading Room are available at the front desk or for download at this link, Reading Room Rules.

Those with special needs should indicate this to the duty archivist when making their appointment to ensure the provision of the best possible service.

Before making an application download the following documents:

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How do I gain access to the Bureau of Military History collection?

The Bureau of Military History (BMH) collection is available for research here at the archives (see our introduction to the collection on the BMH page). The collection includes witness statements, contemporary documents (such as pamphlets, photographs, letters, dispatches, etc.), a small separate photograph collection and twelve voice recordings. Duplicate copies of the witness statements are held at the National Archives on Bishop Street, Dublin 2 and in some cases, available through your local archives or library. Staff at Archives are currently working on making the BMH witness statements available on these web pages.

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I have material that may be of interest to Military Archives. How do I make a donation?

Military Archives has over 1,000 named private collections relating to the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence. Depending on the nature and extent of your material, we very much appreciate any donation once it is in line with our collecting policy. If we are not in a position to take your material, we are happy to advise you on other institutions best placed to receive a collection. Given our status and mission as a public service archives, all private material taken as a donation must be available for public research after a specified time period. The Military Archives does not have a purchasing policy.

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How do I get to Military Archives?

Military Archives is located within Cathal Brugha Barracks, just off Military Road in Rathmines, Dublin 6. Cathal Brugha Barracks is a working barracks (compared with Collins Barracks, Dublin) and upon entering the barracks the gate policeman may wish to check your identification and check the visitors list. Please note routine security checks may be carried out. There are several options for getting to the archives:

By public transport: The no.15 buses operated by Dublin Bus from the railings at Trinity College on Pearse Street pass along Rathmines Road, which intersects with Military Road. The stop nearest St. Mary’s School is the one closest to Cathal Brugha Barracks.

The LUAS green line stop at Charlemont Bridge is about a ten minute walk away from the barracks. Simply get off at this stop, follow the canal to Portobello Bridge and turn left onto Rathmines Road. Then take a right turn onto Military Road by St. Mary’s School until you reach the main gates of the barracks. The stop nearest St. Mary’s School is closest to Cathal Brugha Barracks.

On foot/bicycle: Via the main barracks gate off Military Road (near St. Mary’s School).

By car: Parking is provided within barracks for researchers. Please give advance notice of your vehicle’s registration details.

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Can I access information from the archives by writing in?

Because of the volume of queries we receive, we do not normally have the staffing levels available to conduct individual research for members of the public. Like most Archive and library services, we make the material available to members of the public in our reading room so that they can carry out the research for themselves. If you wish to conduct detailed research, you should contact the duty archivist in advance for an appointment at 00 353 (0)1 804 6457.

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I have lost my grandfather’s 1916/War of Independence medal. How do I get another one issued?

Relatives of those who were awarded a 1916 Medal and/or a War of Independence Medal can now apply for a certificate of service. Unfortunately, it is not possible at this time to reissue original medals. The certificate will be issued to the nearest direct next-of-kin. Please write to the following address for this service:

Veterans Administration Section,
Department of Defence,
Renmore,
Galway.

Please provide Veterans Administration Section with as many of the personal details as possible to include full name (and any variations in spelling), date of birth, the address/s resided at during the period in which they may have made the application (1924 to 1949 most likely) and the name of any next of kin at that time.

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An bhfuil seirbíis tré Ghaeilge ar fáil sa Chartlann Mhíleata?

Tá seirbhís Ghaeilge ar fáil más míon leat. Ní mór duit teagmháil a dhéanamh leis an Captaen Mac Eoin, leas-ceannasaí an Chartlann Mhíleata. An seoladh atá again ná:

OIC, An Chartlann Mhíleata,
Dún Chathail Bhrugha,
Ráth Maonais.
Baile Átha Cliath 6,
Éire

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How do I contact Military Archives?

Please see the ‘Contact Us’ page. In order to provide an efficient service, researchers are urged to include the following in all postal correspondence, where possible:

  1. A contact address, telephone number and email address.
  2. If your query relates to the service of a family member or ancestor. Please include details of where and when the person served (including whether Army, Naval Service or Air Corps) and unit, if known, as well as date of birth, service number and contemporary home address.
  3. If your query relates to previously published sources from the Military Archives or those which cite the Military Archives. Please include the exact file reference (if known), date of publication, author and title
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How do I trace my ancestor’s service in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the Royal Munster Fusiliers, the Irish Guards or other named Irish regiments/formations in the British Army in the First/Second World War?

Many researchers confuse the Military Archives as a place of deposit for the records of all Irish people who have served in other armed forces.  In fact, the Military Archives holds only the personnel records of those who served in the military of the Irish Free State from 1922, as well as material pertaining to the Irish Volunteers and the Independence movement, 1913-1921.

 Information about British Army records, including those for the Irish regiments, can be obtained at The National Archives of England, at Kew in London.

For more useful information read our document on the Irish Regiments of the British Army [PDF 247KB]

You could also consult other archive services in Ireland (e.g. The National Library which holds a number of lists of Irish Personnel in the British Army from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, or Dublin City Library and Archive on Pearse Street, which is the point of contact for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association) or log on to the National Archives of England website

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How do I gain access to personal records of an ancestor or relative who served in the Defence Forces or National Army?

Personnel records are currently available to direct next of kin only. In exceptional circumstances, direct next of kin may give permission to a third party researcher to proceed with an enquiry on their behalf. Military Archives requires a signed letter of application for personnel records along with copies of birth cert(s) to establish an applicant’s relationship to personnel of interest. The OIC Military Archives may request a death certificate for the subject and/or a sworn affidavit stating the next of kin relationship. All of this is done simply to ensure privacy for the data subject concerned and in consideration of the Data Protection Act.


If you are direct next of kin, you should apply to see your ancestors’ records as follows:

  1. If the subject left the Defence Forces less than thirty years ago:
    • For officers (i.e. Lieutenants, Captains, Commandants etc.) write to:
      OIC Commissioned Officers’ Management Office
      D COS (Sp),
      DFHQ,
      St. Mobhi Road,
      Coláiste Caoimhíon,
      Glasnevin,
      Dublin 9
    • For enlisted personnel (i.e. Privates, Corporals, Sergeants etc.) write to:
      OIC Enlisted Personnel Management Office,
      D COS (Sp),
      DFHQ,
      St. Mobhi Road,
      Coláiste Caoimhíon,
      Glasnevin,
      Dublin 9
  2. If the subject left the Defence Forces more than thirty years ago:
    • For officers (i.e. Lieutenants, Captains, Commandants etc.) and for enlisted personnel (i.e. privates, corporals, sergeants etc.) – write directly to OIC Military Archives, as per the contact address.
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How do I access pension records from the Army Pensions Board ?

Your ancestors who served during the 1916 Rising or during the War of Independence may have made application for a medal or pension in respect of their service during that time. Pensions were awarded under the 1924 and subsequent Pension Acts. Due to data protection requirements, these pension records are currently available to direct next of kin only. Direct next of kin should write to the following address for information in respect of their relatives’ service during 1916 and the War of Independence:

Veterans Administration Section,
Department of Defence,
Renmore,
Galway.

Please provide Veterans Administration Section with as many personal details as possible to include full name (and any variations in spelling), date of birth, the address/s resided at during the period in which they may have made the application (1924 to 1949 most likely) and the name of any next of kin at that time. Please note that there may be a waiting period for receipt of such records given the increase in interest in this area in recent years.

The Badge Design

The Badge design (common to all Corps and Services and all orders of dress) is derived from the badge of the Irish Volunteers and was designed by Professor Eoin MacNeill, Chairman of the National Executive of the Irish Volunteers. This badge was originally adopted by the Irish Volunteers in October 1914. [Read more]