Find your ancestors in Ireland, Licences to Keep Arms 1832-1836

What can these records tell me?

Parliamentary report giving the names and addresses of those given license to have firearms or swords by the county magistrates across Ireland from 1832-1836.

Each record includes the following details about the individual receiving a license:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Residence
  • County
  • Weapon licensed (guns, pistols, blunderbusses, swords, bayonets)

Many county returns also include:

  • Name of Magistrate(s)
  • Address of Magistrate(s)
  • Barony

Be sure to check the image for each return, as there may be more detail. If you don’t find your ancestor in this Return, it doesn’t mean they did not have a licensed weapon. This list only includes those who were granted a license in the years 1832 to 1836, so is just a fraction of those who received a license.

Discover more about these records

Possession of a firearm (a gun, pistol or blunderbuss) or a sword/bayonet was carefully controlled in Ireland, particularly considering the 1798 rebellion which had seen such widespread violence that threatened the survival of the British presence in the country. For this reason, individuals needed a license from the county magistrates to hold any type of gun or sword.

The Parliamentary Return published here was produced following a parliamentary debate on arms control in Ireland in 1836 and lists all those granted a license to have a weapon by the magistrates in the county Quarter Sessions from 1832 to 1836, as detailed in the long title of the Return delivered to the House of Commons in Westminster on 18 February 1836: A return of the name and residence of each person in Ireland, to whom licenses have been granted to keep arms, by the magistrates at Quarter Session; together with the names and residences of the magistrates by whom granted, and the number and description of arms registered by each, since 1st August 1832. This return was printed on 11 May 1836.

Many of the individuals listed here are likely to be recorded in the county and national directories of the time.