Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question in relation to access to Military Archives or types of records we may hold, please consult the FAQ below:

Since 1990, the Military Archives has been designated as the official place of
deposit for the records of the Defence Forces, Department of Defence, and
Army Pensions Board, as defined by the National Archives Act, 1986. This
means that, whereas most other Departments of State are required to
deposit their records with the National Archives of Ireland for public
inspection once they become more than 30 years old, the Military Archives
fulfils this function for both Departmental and Military records.

No, there is no charge to conduct research at the Military Archives.

Military Archives is the official place of deposit for government records on Defence and the Defence Forces under the terms of the National Archives Act, 1986. The records held in Military Archives are therefore protected under Copyright law. 

Due reference must be given where sources from Military Archives are used in the production of a publication, blog, website or any analogue or electronic medium whatsoever.  If any material held in Military Archives is to be used in a publication of any kind, in particular images from this website, from online collections or from digital photography taken in the Military Archives reading room or at a Military Archives exhibition, written permission must be sought in advance from the Officer in Charge, Military Archives.  

The Commandant Peter Young Reading Room at Military Archives is located on the ground floor in the archives building, through the sliding door entrance at the gable end of the building.  

Prior appointment is necessary to secure a place, due to space limitations. You can make an appointment by emailing us at or else by phoning us at 00353 (0)1 8046457. At present, the reading room is open from 10.00-12.30 and 13.30-16.00, Tuesday to Thursday.

Please note that if more than one person wishes to attend your appointment you may need to reserve extra seats, or else you can use the smaller room to the rear. Staff Members are unable to facilitate researchers without prior notice, so any people who come with you should book in separately if they wish to undertake their own research while visiting. 

Many collections have either digital or paper finding aids, but, in a number of cases, research will require an orientation with the duty archivist to ascertain which records are most relevant.

Our digital resources (digital finding aids not available on our website yet, sets of photographs, scanned documents, etc.), along with limited internet access to certain newspaper and genealogical sites are available in the room behind the main reading room (please ask the duty archivist or duty storeman to log you in).

A small research library is also available in this room, along with a large screen for the viewing of large maps and plans. 

Power sockets are available for laptops, while the use of cameras is by prior permission only, provided images are taken for one-time, personal study use only and a legal agreement form is signed.

Rules for the Reading Room are available to read at the table beside the locker area, or for download at this link, Reading Room Rules [PDF].

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

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

Military Archives has in its custody over 1,000 private collections, donated by individuals and families, relating to the Irish Volunteers, Old IRA, Defence Forces and the Department of Defence. Depending on the nature and extent of your material, we very much appreciate donations once they align with the Military Archives Acquisition 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 the collection. Given our status and mission as a public service archive, all private material taken as a donation is usually available for public research once it has been processed.

Donors are required to sign a deposit agreement, transferring custody of the material to the Military Archives. In most cases, we do NOT take material on loan, or a reproduction of the original.

The Military Archives does not have a purchasing policy.

Military Archives is located within Cathal Brugha Barracks, to the left of the main gate, just off Military Road in Rathmines, Dublin 6. Cathal Brugha Barracks is a working barracks 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 Dublin Bus passes along Rathmines Road from the city centre, which intersects with Military Road. The stop nearest the Church of Mary Immaculate Refuge of Sinners (big green dome on the left), and Saint Mary's School (red brick school behind black railings on the right) 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. 

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. Please note, taxis may not enter the Barracks, but can leave you just outside.

Because of the volume of queries we receive, we do not 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, or else by email:

Tá seirbhís Ghaeilge ar fáil más míon leat. Ná­ már duit teagmháil a dhéanamh leis an Chartlann Mhí­leata. An seoladh atá againn ná:

An Chartlann Mhí­leata,
Dún Chathail Bhrugha,
Ráth Maonais.
Baile átha Cliath 6,

Ná email:

Please see the Contact Us page. In order to provide an efficient service, researchers are urged to include the following in all postal and email 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.

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. You can view information about tracing military ancestors in the British Army on their website and you can also refer to useful information concerning the Irish Regiments and how to access service details for World War I veterans in the following document:

Information Document on the Irish Regiments of the British Army [PDF 280KB]

Personnel records of soldiers that are deceased 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 the birth certificate(s) of the applicant to establish their relationship to personnel of interest.

For example: the son or daughter would need to send a copy (either scanned and attached on an email, or a photocopy posted to us) of the long version of their birth certificate, while a grandson or granddaughter would need, in addition, a signed note of permission to view the file from the direct next of kin.

If the direct next of kin has died, then the grandson or granddaughter would need to send on copies of both their own birth certificate and the birth certificate of their father or mother, to show their relationship to the soldier over the two generations. 

The OIC Military Archives may request a death certificate for the subject and/or a sworn affidavit stating the next of kin relationship.

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:
A. For officers (i.e. Lieutenants, Captains, Commandants etc.) write to:
OIC Commissioned Officers’ Management Office
Station Rd,
Co. Kildare.

B. For enlisted personnel (i.e. Privates, Corporals, Sergeants etc.) write to: 
OIC Enlisted Personnel Management Office,
Station Rd,
Co. Kildare.
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. Please include details such as service number and rank (if known), date of birth and home address(es) of personnel during their service).