Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Guns Of The Irish Army (VIDEOS)
By Chris Eger
Just 7,000-strong, today’s Irish Army has an interesting array of hardware on tap. (Photo: Irish Army)
Enough with the green beer, leprechaun jokes, and Armalite memes, here is the hardware of the modern Irish Army. An outgrowth of the “Old” IRA that fought in the Irish War of Independence, the current Army of the Republic of Ireland traces its origins to 1922 when the country broke with London.
The original arms of the force, supplied in an agreement with the British to the Irish Free State, included Commonwealth-standard Lee-Enfield .303 rifles, Lewis light machine guns, and an assortment of pieces left over from the IRA days to include Thompson submachine guns.
From 1922 through WWII, the Irish Army carried Enfield .303s, Webley revolvers, and the occasional Tommy gun as well as Lewis and Vickers machine guns. Their steel helmets, looking very German, were actually made by Vickers.
They later picked up some P.14 sniper rifle variants made by BSA, one of which recently came up at auction.
The below 1933 film shows the Irish Army, looking very out of place with their German-style helmets, tooling around in Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars and generally mucking about with their Enfields, Vickers heavy machine guns, and other odds and ends.