On Friday 16 January a History Ireland ‘Hedge School’ took place at the National Museum of Ireland Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar, Co. Mayo to accompany the museum’s current exhibition Preserving the peace: policing on the island of Ireland, 1814-2014. Ireland’s first police force, the Peace Preservation Force, is a little over two centuries old. What went before? Why was it established? In what ways did the later Royal Irish Constabulary diverge from other police forces in the United Kingdom? How was it possible, in the midst of a civil war, for the Irish Free State to set up an unarmed ‘civic guard’? To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham conducted a discussion with a panel of experts—Jim Herlihy (Garda Siochána Historical Society), John Cunningham (NUI Galway), Sarah-Anne Buckley (NUI Galway) and Conor McNamara (Notre Dame).