Series of Articles National Museum

Overview

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The Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks, Dublin increases public awareness of the story of the Irish soldier, one of the principal objectives of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust.

To add to that knowledge and appreciation of the Irish soldier, the Trust arranged for series of articles on selected items in the exhibition to be published in An Cosantóir and in local newspapers around Ireland, both North and South.

Each article concentrates on a particular item in the military museum that caught the author’s attention and imagination, is of 300 to 500 words in length and accompanied by an appropriate photograph.

The Trust now publishes these articles on its website thereby contributing to developing amongst Irish men and women, both at home and abroad, a greater knowledge and appreciation of Ireland’s proud military heritage which is common to the different political and religious traditions of this island.

List of Articles


The Irish Defence Forces Experiences in the UN forces in the Congo 1960 – 1964

by

Siobhán Pierce, Education and Outreach Officer – Archaeology & Natural History, National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology

It is fifty years since the Irish Defence Force went to serve as part of a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Congo in July 1960. The experiences and events of their service there reflect both the inconsistencies and constraints of the original UN mandates and the complex political and military situation extant at that time, but also the determination of the Irish to carry out the work of the UN and keep the peace, and indeed create peace, in the Congo.

Based on the experiences of many of the soldiers who served there, this article gives a quick overview of the four years and primarily concentrates on the initial phase of operations in the Congo and explains some of the routine work involved in peacekeeping.

It deals with an overview of the history of the Congo, the background to the formation of UN Forces, organisation of initial units and preparations for departure, uniforms and health in the early stages, the nature of the deployment areas, negotiating skills and tension reduction tactics, patrols and the lead-up to Niemba, new equipment, operations 1961 to 1963, humanitarian projects and provides a conclusion.

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