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1850-1920ContentsIntroductionChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3

Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9

Chapter 10Chapter 11AppendicesBiographyBibliography

[IIreland 1850-1920 Copyright © 2005 by Desmond Keenan. Book available from and]



The Irish Military Forces

Cavalry Regiments

4th        Royal Irish Dragoon Guards

5th        Royal Irish Lancers

6th        Inniskilling Dragoons

8th        King’s Royal Irish Hussars

The Regular Regiments-Infantry

Irish Guards

The Royal Irish Regiment

The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

The Royal Irish Rifles

Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers)

The Royal Irish Rangers

The Connaught Rangers

The Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

The Royal Munster Fusiliers

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers

Yeomanry and Volunteers

The Imperial Yeomanry

The North Irish Horse

The South Irish Horse

London Irish

Tyneside Irish

Liverpool Irish




The Militia Battalions

Militia battalions with associated Line regiments

Connaught  Rangers; depot in Galway ; 1st Battalion  the  88th  foot, 2nd the 94th  foot; affiliated volunteer or  militia  battalions: 3rd the Mayo militia, 4th  the Galway militia, 5th the Roscommon  militia.

The Royal Dublin  Fusiliers; depot Naas; 1st battalion 102d  foot, 2nd  103rd foot; affiliated volunteer or  militia  battalions: 3rd Kildare militia, 4th City of Dublin militia, 5th County of Dublin  militia.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers;  depot Omagh;  1st battalion 27th   foot, 2nd  108th  foot; affiliated volunteer or  militia  battalions: 3rd Fermanagh militia, 4th  Tyrone  militia, 5th Donegal militia.

Royal Irish Fusiliers; depot   Armagh; 1st battalion 87th foot, 2nd 89th  foot; affiliated volunteer or  militia  battalions: 3rd  Armagh militia,  4th Cavan militia, 5th Monaghan militia.

Royal Irish Regiment; depot Clonmel; 1st battalion 18th foot, 2nd 18th foot; affiliated volunteer or militia battalions: 3rd Wexford militia, 4th Tipperary militia, 5th Kilkenny militia.

Royal Irish Rifles; depot Belfast, 1st battalion 83rd foot, 2nd 86th foot; affiliated volunteer or militia battalions: 3rd North Down militia, 5th the South Down militia, 6th Louth militia.

Leinster Regiment; depot Birr; 1st battalion 100th foot, 2nd 109th foot; affiliated volunteer or militia battalions: 3rd King’s County militia, 4th Queen's County militia, 5th Meath militia.

Royal Muster Fusiliers; depot Tralee; 1st battalion 101st foot, 2nd 104th foot; affiliated volunteer or militia battalions: 3rd South Cork Militia, 4th Kerry militia, 5th Limerick  County militia.

King's Royal Rifle Corps; 8th battalion  Carlow militia, 9th was the North Cork militia, depot Mallow.

The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment; 5th (later 8th) battalion Liverpool Irish Volunteers.

Rifle Brigade; 6th battalion Leitrim militia with Longford militia, 9th Westmeath, 16th Middlesex Volunteers or London Irish.

The Irish Guards were based in London though the officers and men were Irish.

Militia battalions with associated Royal Artillery

Royal Regiment of Artillery; militia depots in Antrim, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin  city, Limerick  city, Londonderry city, Mid-Ulster, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Wicklow.

Affiliated volunteer or militia  battalions:

Antrim militia, Clare militia, Cork City militia, Limerick City militia, Londonderry militia, Sligo militia, Waterford militia, Wicklow militia

Note: these arrangements were not fixed in stone and the status of a particular battalion could be changed at any time. Nor does the list include the ‘service battalions’ composed of volunteers from 1914-1918 which raised the total of Irish battalions during the First World War to 82. These battalions were added to the existing regiments and by 1918 the Royal Irish Rifles had 20 battalions.

Sources Whitaker’s Almanac 1903, Harris, The Irish Regiment, Colles, History of Ulster.




Table of Administrations

(Conservative shaded)


Prime Minister

Home Secretary

Lord Lieutenant

Chief Secretary

Under Secretary

Lord John Russell

June 1846

Sir George Grey July 1846

Earl of Clarendon May 1847

Sir W. Somerville July 1847

Thomas Redington July 1846

Earl of Derby Feb 1852

Spencer Walpole Feb 1852

Earl of Eglinton  March 1852

Lord Naas 

 March 1852

John Arthur Wynne Mar 1852

Earl of Aberdeen Dec 1852

Lord Palmerston Dec 1852

Earl of St Germans  Jan 1853

Sir John Young

Jan 1853

Thomas Larcom

 Jan 1853

Lord Palmerston Feb 1855

Sir George Grey Feb 1855

Earl of Carlisle 

March 1855

Edward Horsman Mar 1855





Henry Herbert

May 1857


Earl of Derby

Feb 1858

Spencer Walpole Feb 1858

Earl of Eglinton  March 1858

Lord Naas 

March 1858



Thomas Escourt Mar 1859




Lord Palmerston June 1859

Sir G. Cornewall Lewis June 1859

Earl of Carlisle

July 1859

Edward Cardwell June 1859



Sir George Grey July 1861

Baron Wodehouse Nov 1864

Sir Robert Peel 

July 1861


Earl Russell October 1865



Chichester Fortescue Dec 1865


Earl of Derby June 1866

Spencer Walpole July 1866

Duke of Abercorn July 1866

Lord Naas 

July 1866



Gathorne Hardy May 1867


John Wilson-Patten Sept 1868

Sir Edward Wetherall Dec 1868

Benjamin Disraeli  Feb 1868





William Gladstone  Dec 1868

Henry Bruce

 Dec 1868

Earl Spencer

 Dec 1868

Chichester Fortescue Dec 1868

 Thomas Burke

 May 1869


Robert Lowe

 Aug 1873


Marquis of Hartington Jan 1871


Benjamin Disraeli Feb 1874

Sir Richard Crosse Feb 1874

Duke of Abercorn Mar 1874

Michael Hicks Beach Feb 1874




D. of Marlborough Dec 1876

James Lowther

Feb 1878


William Gladstone April 1880

Sir William Harcourt Apr 1880

Earl Cowper 

May 1880

William Forster April 1880




Earl Spencer 

May 1882

Lord Frederick Cavendish

6 May 1882

Robert Hamilton May 1882




George Trevelyan              9 May 1882





Henry Campbell-Bannerman

 Oct 1884


Marquis of Salisbury 

June 1885

Sir Richard Crosse June 1885

Earl of Carnarvon June 1885

Sir William Dyke June 1885





William Smith

Jan 1886


William Gladstone Feb 1886

Hugh Childers

 Feb 1886

Earl of Aberdeen Feb 1886

John Morley 

 Feb 1886


Marquis of Salisbury 

July 1886

Henry Matthews Aug 1886

Marquis of Londonderry 

Aug 1886

Sir Michael Hicks Beach Aug 1886

Sir Redvers Buller 

Dec 1886



Earl of Zetland 

Oct 1889

Arthur Balfour March 1887

Sir Joseph Ridgeway Oct 1887




William Jackson Nov 1891


William Gladstone Aug 1892

Herbert Asquith Aug 1892

Baron Houghton Aug 1892

John Morley

August 1892

David Harrell

 Jan 1893

Earl of Rosebery Mar 1894










Marquis of Salisbury 

June 1895

Sir Matthew Ridley June 1895

Earl Cadogan 

July 1895

Gerald Balfour 

July 1895



Charles Ritchie

Nov 1900


George Wyndham Nov 1900


Arthur Balfour July 1902

A. Akers-Douglas

 Aug 1902

Earl of Dudley

 Aug 1902

                                                                                 Walter Long

March 1905

Sir A. MacDonnell 

Nov 1902

Henry Campbell-Bannerman

 Dec 1905

Herbert Gladstone Dec 1905

Earl of Aberdeen Dec 1905

James Bryce 

Dec 1905





Augustine Birrell Jan 1907


Herbert Asquith April 1908

Winston Churchill Feb 1910



Sir James Dougherty 

July 1908


Reginald McKenna Oct 1911



Sir Matthew Nathan Oct 1914



Baron Wimborne Feb 1915



(war coalition)

Sir John Simon

May 1915





Herbert Samuel

 Jan 1916


Henry Duke

August 1916

Sir Robert Chalmers May 1916

Sir William Byrne Oct 1916

David Lloyd George Dec 1916

Sir George Cave Dec 1916






Lord French 

May 1918

Edward Shortt

May 1918

James MacMahon July 1918


Edward Shortt

Jan 1919

Lord Fitzalan

 May 1921

James Macpherson Jan 1919





Sir Hamar Greenwood April 1920

Sir John Anderson, Alfred Cope, Mark Sturgis May 1920 (additional secs.)

Andrew Bonar Law Oct 1922

Walter Bridgeman Oct 1922

Timothy Healy (Governor General) 1922-28








Dark Gray Conservative



Light grey

Coalition or mixed

After 1853 the post of Under Secretary was non-political, as was the office of governor general of the Irish Free State from 1922.




Dates of Lords Lieutenant are of swearing in, not appointment, which was generally some weeks earlier




Copyright Desmond J. Keenan, B.S.Sc.; Ph.D. ;.London, U.K.