Irish Defence Forces cap badge

Irish Defence Forces cap badge

The Irish Defence Forces Cap Badge (or "FF badge" as it is sometimes called) is – in distinction to the practice in British, Commonwealth, and many other militaries around the world – common to all services and corps. Although principally associated with the Irish Army (Defence Force regulations in fact describe it as "the Army Badge") it is also worn by and appears in elements of the insignia of the Naval Service and Air Corps.

Origin and early usage

Unicode|ṫa CliaUnicode|ṫ" ("Drong Átha Cliath" in modern orthography), Irish for 'Dublin Brigade', a variant name for the Dublin Volunteer Brigade.
The badge was designed in 1913 by Eoin MacNeill, a founding member and chairman of the Irish Volunteers. Variations existed for territorial commands, but the majority of volunteers wore the Óglaigh na hÉireann badge. It was worn by republicans in the 1916 Easter Rising. It was rarely worn by the Irish Republican Army in the War of Independence as doing so could lead to a prison term. Eventually the Free State Army adopted the badge for their new uniforms before the Irish Civil War.


The design of the Army Badge which is prescribed in Defence Force Regulations as follows:

"...As a component of rank insignia and which is specified in the Third Schedule as the form of the cap badge, shall be comprised of a sunburst - "An Gal Gréine", surmounted by an 8-pointed star, a point of the star being uppermost, bearing the letters "FF" (in Gaelic characters) encircled by a representation of an ancient warrior's sword belt on which the words "Óglaigh na hÉireann" are inscribed."


*"FF" - Fianna Fáil - "Soldiers of Ireland" [cite book|last=Ó Dónaill|first=Niall|editor=(advisory ed. Tomás de Bhaldraithe)|year=1977|title=Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla|publisher=An Gúm|location=Dublin|language=Irish|id=ISBN 1-85791-037-0|pages=pp. 512, 540] (not named after the political party, Fianna Fáil)
*"Óglaiġ na h-Éireann" - "Volunteers/Warriors of Ireland" [Ibid, pp. 489, 921.]

Current usage and variations

Irish Army

In the Army, the badge is worn by all ranks on all head-dress. Enlisted and non-commissioned ranks wear a "Stay-Brite" anodised aluminium brass replica. Some enlisted ranks, particularly older soldiers, wear the original Brass Badge which, although no longer official issue, is considered a symbol of lengthy service. Commissioned Officers and Senior NCOs, such as Sergeant Major and Battalion/Regimental Quartermaster, wear a larger dark bronze version. This tradition is assumed to have begun on the death of Michael Collins during the Irish Civil War when officers dulled their badges with boot polish in Commemoration of the General.Fact|date=February 2007 The bronze badge was introduced in 1924.

These two variations are worn by all ranks. However, on the Service Dress Uniform, the ranks of Colonel, Brigadier, Major and Lieutenant General and the Head Chaplain have a gold bullion version on a red cloth backing. The same version is worn on the Mess Dress Uniform peaked cap by all officers.

Irish Naval Service

In the Naval Service, the "Stay-Brite" version of the badge is worn by Seamen and Leading Seaman on their cap, while all ranks wear the Stay-Brite and Brass versions on the operational beret.

Irish Air Corps

The Air Corps previously wore army uniforms. On the introduction of a distinct blue Air Corps uniform in 1994, cloth cap badges were introduced for the forage caps and peaked caps; these have a smaller less detailed version of the badge embroidered into the design, which incorporates an eagle.

ee also

*Irish Army officer rank insignia
*Irish Army enlisted rank insignia

External links

* [ Irish Military Insignia]


*Irish Defence Force Regulation A9. Dress (1962) (unrestricted)
*A Pictorial History of Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Defence Forces of Ireland. DFPP (2006)

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