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Regimental colours

The Royal Irish Regiment, until 1881 the 18th regiment of Foot, was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, first raised in 1684. It was one of eight Irish regiments raised and garrisoned in Ireland. It saw service for two and a half centuries before being disbanded in 1922 with the Partition of Ireland under the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Also known as the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot and the 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot



The regiment was formed in 1684 by the Earl of Granard from independent companies in Ireland. In 1695, the regiment became known as the Royal Regiment of Ireland due to its performance at Namur under the direction of King William III. The regiment also won the right to display the King's arms on their colours along with the harp and crown. The regiment served throughout the turn of the 18th century in continental battles before being sent to Gibraltar. In 1751, the regiment was officially ranked as the 18th Regiment of Foot - although it was older than all but six other line regiments, it had not been placed on the English establishment until 1689, lowering its precedence.

Seven Years War

The regiment was in Ireland during the majority of the Seven Years War and was ordered to America on 1 January 1767. The regiment arrived at Philadelphia on 11 July 1767 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Wilkins. The majority of the regiment under Wilkins was ordered to Illinois in early 1768 and remained in Illinois until April 1772 when Fort Chartres was abandoned. A small detachment under Captain Hugh Lord, remained at Ft. Gage, Illinois until May 1776 when it was ordered to Detroit in anticipation of an American attack. The rest of the regiment was present in Boston, where the grenadier company participated in the Battle of Lexington and Battle of Concord and Bunker Hill, its first formal combat in more than 50 years. The regiment was drafted into other regiments in Boston in December 1775 and at Detroit in July 1776.

French Revolutionary Wars

The Royal Irish returned to Gibraltar in 1783, where they remained until the Siege of Toulon in 1793.

New Zealand Wars

The regiment's second battalion, formed mainly from volunteers from the Irish Militia, began to arrive in New Zealand from 4 July 1863. It served in the Waikato and Taranaki Campaigns. Captain H. Shaw won the V.C. when a supply convoy he was part of the escort for was attacked by Maori in the Hunua Forest south of Auckland. The battalion was the last British Army unit to leave New Zealand in February 1870.


In 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms the regiment became the Royal Irish Regiment, and served as the county regiment of Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. Its garrison depot was at Clonmel. Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command within the United Kingdom with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park) Dublin, directly under the War Office in London[1].

World War One

In the First World War, 7 further battalions were raised 5th (Service) Battalion [1914-1919]; three including a mounted unit, the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion, for the front and three Garrison Battalions.

The Fifth (Service) Battalion and the regular army First Bn and were part of the 10th (Irish) Division.

The 6th (Service) Battalion, volunteers following Kitcheners New Army appeal, was part of the 16th (Irish) Division.

The regiment was one of the five disbanded under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty after the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Easter Rising 1916

The Royal Irish Regiment, made up in the vast majority of local Dubliners were the first British army troops to respond to the Easter 1916 Rising in Dublin.

Battle honours

Namur 1695, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Egypt, China, Pegu, Sevastopol, New Zealand, Afghanistan (1879-80), Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882, Nile (1884-85), South Africa (1900-02) The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, La Bassée 1914, Ypres 1915 '17 '18, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916 '18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Guillemont, Ginchy, Messines 1917, Pilckem, Langemarck 1917, St. Quentin, Rosières, Arras 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Cambrai 1918, Courtrai, France and Flanders 1914-18, Struma, Macedonia 1915-17, Suvla, Landing at Suvla, Gallipoli 1915, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tell 'Asur, Megiddo, Nablus, Palestine 1917-18

Great War Memorials



  1. ^ H.E.D. Harris The Irish Regiments in the First World War (1968) pp. 2-3
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 13627, p. 180, 25 February 1794. Retrieved on 6 December 2009.


  • Geoghegan, General S., C.B.: Royal Irish Regiment, Navy & Military Press (2007), ISBN 1-847347-47-9


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