Constabulary Medal (1842-1872)
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The Constabulary Medal was established by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1842 and published in the Constabulary Circular on April 15, 1842. The Silver Medal was amended a number of times before it was permanently discontinued in 1922 when the Royal Irish Constabulary was dissolved and replaced by the Garda Síochána.
The Medal was originally awarded to members of the Irish Constabulary in recognition of meritorious service and acts of gallantry during service. The award was initially set up in a peculiar fashion, whereby the Medal was only conferred after receiving five lace chevron decorations, although more than one chevron or, in some cases, the Medal could be conferred under the most exceptional circumstances. In 1872, the chevrons were abolished, however, only one Medal awarded prior to this date was awarded in the chevron sequence. From 1872-1922 the Medal was only awarded in recognition of acts of gallantry during service.
There are a number of different versions of the medal that differ in the obverse engraving, inscription, and type of suspension. There does not appear to be an official timeline of the changes, although it is known that the second inscription was instituted sometime after the Constabulary received the “Royal” prefix in 1867. Early versions feature a harp with a female figure with a wreath of oak and shamrock while later versions feature a Gaelic harp with a wreath entirely of shamrock and a swivel suspension.
There may be additional versions that differ in size.
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