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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Irish Eyes
Here's what St. Patrick's Day looks like to Irish soldiers in war-torn hotspots
Irish troops have been mixing duty and celebration across the globe today

16635386327_b7a5f8a484_k Defence Forces Defence Forces in Mali at dawn this morning Defence Forces

NOT ALL ST. Patrick’s Day celebrations take place in the Irish rain.

Some 431 Irish soldiers from our defence forces are currently deployed on peace support missions across the globe, from Lebanon to the Golan Heights, Mali to Syria.

The 181 Irish troops of the 47th Infantry Group stationed in South Lebanon (as part of UN peace-keeping duties) celebrated the day that was in it with a blessing of shamrock by their unit chaplain before the shamrock was officially presented at parade by Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Conor O’Boyle.

16656183900_398342be40_k Defence Forces Sgt Maj Fintan Lambe from Galway at the 47th Infantry Group shamrock parade in South Lebanon Defence Forces

Most of these soldiers are from the south and west of the country, particularly Cork and Galway.

16842482661_e18ac12859_k (1) Defence Forces Vinny Murray and Séamus McLoughlain of the 47th Infantry Group, with Fijian colleagues Defence Forces

O’Boyle also laid a wreath at the the Defence Forces Monument in Tibnin to honour the Irish soldiers who have died whilst keeping the peace in Lebanon.

16843553965_4de3edbcca_k Defence Forces Defence Forces Chief of Staff Conor O'Boyle presents shamrock to Lieutenant Mark Cullagh in South Lebanon Defence Forces

Meanwhile, in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights region 138 Irish troops received the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) Medal from Major General Ralph James.

16846027511_ae989933c2_h Defence Forces The UNDOF medals and a bowl of Shamrock Defence Forces

16821271956_754cf9de37_h Defence Forces Irish troops on parade in the Golan Heights today Defence Forces


16655506390_f561b7b554_k Defence Forces Lieutenant Cl. John Whittaker presents shamrock to Cl. Sevilla in Kolukoro Training Camp, Mali today Defence Forces

In the Congo, Western Sahara, Mali, Bosnia and Kosovo the day was celebrated with a mixture of formality and fun.

16816827476_23d0dfa403_k Defence Forces Lieutenant Cl. Andy Hart of the Royal Irish Regiment (second from left) with Irish Defence Forces personnel in Koulikoro Training Camp, Mali, today Defence Forces

16841530791_94d5848a7e_k Defence Forces Commandant David Duff presents shamrock to EUTM Mali Chief of Staff, Germany's Colonel Schirra Defence Forces

In Sierra Leone, a country recently ravaged by the Ebola outbreak, five Irish medical personnel were presented with their shamrock by the Irish Ambassador to the country Sinéad Walsh.

16845027415_2aa2f653db_k Defence Forces Sierra Leone Ambassador Sinéad Walsh with the Irish Defence Forces medical corps deployment to the country Defence Forces

And closer to home, Captain Andrew O’Shaughnessy and Private Colin Fennelly posed for a photo before hitting a far more Irish warzone – Croke Park for the final of the All Ireland Club Hurling championship.

16222567973_82927f53a1_k Defence Forces Andrew O'Shaughnessy (left) and Colin Fennelly at Collins Barracks, Cork Defence Forces

Limerick’s O’Shaughnessy will have ended up as the more crestfallen of the two unfortunately – Fennelly’s Kilkenny club Ballyhale Shamrocks triumphed over Kilmallock by 12 points.

To all the men and women of the Irish Army serving abroad, a very happy St. Patrick’s Day from

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