Last year I was chatting to an old friend online and he pointed out that as I now had a Steyr Aug and already had a set of olive green PLCE I was well on the way to having an Irish Defence Force impression, just needing a uniform and headress to finish it off. Whilst a little outside my usual scope, Eire was part of Great Britain for many centuries and I have objects with far more tenuous justifications so I quickly got myself a uniform in the camouflage used by the Irish Defence Forces, known in Gaelic as Ogliaigh na hEireann. The shirt is made in the distinctive Irish camouflage that was introduced in 1999 to replace the plain olive green uniform that had been in service up to that point:
The design of the shirt is clearly heavily influenced by contemporary British CS95 patterns of uniform, but in the Irish pattern, known colloquialy by collectors as ‘paddyflage’. The shirt has two patch breast pockets, each slightly angled and secured by a single button:
The national title above the pocket is secured by Velcro and can be removed for laundering:
Other examples of the shirt can be found with a second national title over the other pocket, this time in Gaelic. Like contemporary British practice, rank is worn on a single, chest mounted, rank slide:
A small pocket is sewn to the upper left sleeve, with a national tricolour flag sewn above this:
The cuff of each sleeve is secured with a tab and several different buttons to offer a range of fitting:
Although this was the first widespread camouflage offered to the Irish Defence Forces, limited use had been made of British DPM before this point, but this new pattern offered a distinctly Irish look and the colours were well suited to the terrain in Eire and Northern Europe. Ironically most of the initial batches of the camouflage uniforms were issued to troops on UN deployments so they ended up beoiing paired with UN blue berets and neckerchiefs that rather spoiled the camouflage properties of the uniform!