Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Irish Blue Berets

Ireland as we know it declared itself a republic in 1948 after more than two decades as the Irish Free State– with much of that still as a British Dominion.

The country joined the UN in 1955 and since 1958 the Irish Army has maintained a continuous presence in peacekeeping missions around the world, something of an accomplishment when you consider the force typically numbers fewer than 8,000 regulars.

Irish Defence Forces personnel boarding a US Globemaster transport aircraft for the Congo in the early 1960s armed with the Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk 2, Bren and Swedish Carl Gustaf m/45 SMGs.

This has included service in the Congo (where the famed Siege of Jadotville occurred), Cyprus, the Sinai, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Liberia (7 battalions on rotation from 2003-07), Chad and Syria.

The force has suffered 85 killed on UNPROFOR missions, including 46 in Lebanon and 26 in the Congo.

St. Patrick surely weeps

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