Between The Wars 1923 - 1939

In the autumn of 1923 it was decided to reduce the strength of the army and to reorganise it for peacetime. This entailed a reduction of 30,000 personnel. A small group of officers, led mainly by former members of Collins’ intelligence unit, attempted to resist the efforts to demobilise officers. This evolved into what has been called the “Army Mutiny” of March 1924.

Its importance is not in what actually happened but that when it was resolved the supremacy of democratic control was established over the Defence Forces.

At the end of the Civil War the new state set about providing a legal status for its armed forces. Under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923 the Executive Council formally established Óglaigh na hÉireann on 1 October 1924.

A Military Mission was sent to the USA in 1926 to study organisation and training methods. As a result training was placed on a proper footing with the establishment of a Military College, Corps and Service Schools.

The Eucharistic Congress, held in Dublin in 1932, saw a heavy ceremonial and administrative commitment by the Defence Forces. The Mounted Escort (popularly known as the Blue Hussars) first appeared in public at the Congress.

As the Permanent Defence Force was being reduced, a policy of building up Reserves was pursued which culminated with the formation of the Volunteer Force in 1934.


Read More about The Emergency 1939 - 1946

The Badge Design

The Badge design (common to all Corps and Services and all orders of dress) is derived from the badge of the Irish Volunteers and was designed by Professor Eoin MacNeill, Chairman of the National Executive of the Irish Volunteers. This badge was originally adopted by the Irish Volunteers in October 1914. [Read more]