Northern Ireland Police Museum – Belfast, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura
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Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Police Museum

This hidden museum examines the complex history of the country's law enforcement. 

This little-publicized museum was set up in the 1980s to explain and illustrate Northern Ireland’s unique, challenging, and often contentious policing history. The small-but-interesting collection includes uniforms, medals, posters, and archives from the early 1800s to the present day, and over 1,000 visitors per year venture to the museum. Inside, you’ll spot eye-catching items like bullet-proof clipboards, riot shields, grenades, and improvised car bombs that were used by and against officers over the decades.

The low-key building itself is in a former sergeant’s married quarters, and on your visit, you will be personally shown around by one of the two curators, a process that takes about 40 minutes.

The staff can also be helpful with genealogical research regarding former incarnations as the Royal Irish Constabulary and early Royal Ulster Constabulary, and they also have some police records from the 1830s onwards.

Know Before You Go

Having a curatorial escort can be a little disconcerting, but they are helpful and keen to talk. The museum's opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Booking in advance is advisable and you will need ID when you arrive.

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