Royal Hibernian Military School, awarded to T McMahon, 1924.


Medal, blue ribbon, silver. Obverse: motif of the Royal Hibernian Military School, with a harp with a crown above, surrounded by shamrocks and the legend Fear God, Honour The King; reverse engraved with Presented by Col. R H Carr-Ellison CMG to T McMahon who was selected by his comrades, as the most deserving of this prize during the year 1924. Pin intact.

The foundation of the Royal Hibernian Military School came about in 1769 when King George III granted a Charter of Incorporation on 15 July, the School Governors holding their inaugural meeting on 6 November in Dublin Castle. The buildings housing the school were erected in 1771 in the Phoenix Park, overlooking the village of Chapelizod in the Liffey valley. The chapel was designed by Thomas Cooley, while thirty years later Francis Johnston designed the extensions to the buildings.

t first took in 90 boys and 50 girls as pupils (in the charge of an Inspector and Inspectress, assisted by the Chaplain and an assistant mistress) in March 1770. The site originally occupied 3 acres (12,000 m2) but by 1922 its boundary walls enclosed thirty three acres. By 1808 the system and organisation of the school followed closely that of its sister school, the Duke of York’s Royal Military School (then at Chelsea, London, England).

By 1816, when Thomas Le Fanu (father of Sheridan Le Fanu) took over as chaplain, there were 600 children at the school.

In 1853 the school’s first “stand of colours” were presented by the then Prince of Wales and, in the same year, the girls at the school left to join their own separate establishment, the Drummond School, which was founded for them at Chapelizod.

The school acted as a feeder to the British Army, where In the mid-19th century, children as young as 12 could enlist in the Army but generally enlistment began at 14. By the 1900s 50 per cent of pupils were going straight into the army. By this stage the school was not only an orphanage; for instance, the Army Non-Commissioned Officer father of Liam Mellows entered him there to get a good basic military training which he hoped would lead to an army career, instead it was used during the Easter Rising and the Irish War of Independence, both in fighting and in training the flying columns in guerrilla warfare.

In 1922 the Royal Hibernian Military School moved to Shorncliffe, in Folkestone, Kent, and in 1924 it was merged with the Duke of York’s Royal Military School which last, by then, was in its current location atop ‘Lone Tree Hill’ above Dover Castle. [Wiki] 347 Boy Thomas McMahon was present at the last roll call of the RHMS boys at Shorncliffe, Kent, July 16th, 1924.

Collection: De Valera Museum

Category: Medallion/Badge

2019.0155 (5516)