Irish Naval Service
Overview
 
The Naval Service is the navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and is one of the three standing branches of the Irish Defence Forces. Its main base is in Haulbowline
Haulbowline
Haulbowline is the name of an island in Cork Harbour off the coast of Ireland. It is the main naval base and headquarters for the Irish Naval Service.-Etymology:...

, County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

.

Naval Service vessels are all named with traditional Irish female names, taken from history and Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

. The ship prefix
Ship prefix
A ship prefix is a combination of letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of the name of a civilian or naval ship.Prefixes for civilian vessels may either identify the type of propulsion, such as "SS" for steamship, or purpose, such as "RV" for research vessel. Civilian prefixes are often...

  stands for Long Éireannach
Long Éireannach
is the designation given to ships in the Irish Naval Service Fleet. In this context it is abbreviated to LÉ, as in LÉ Eithne or LÉ Deirdre....

, "Irish ship" in the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

.
The Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 of 1921 stipulated that Ireland would be given responsibility to police its customs and fishing, while the United Kingdom would remain in control of Irish Waters.
In 1923 the Coastal and Marine Service (CMS) was created, yet merely one year later it was disbanded.

During the Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

, in August 1922, a ship belonging to the British & Irish Steam Packet Company, the Lady Wicklow, led by Captain Patrick Ryan, was used to bring Irish National Army
Irish National Army
The Irish National Army or National Army was the army of the Irish Free State from January 1922-1 October 1924. Michael Collins, its Chief of Staff from June 1921 until his death in August 1922, was the last Chief of Staff of the IRA that had fought the Irish War of Independence...

 troops around the coast to Fenit
Fenit
Fenit is a small village in County Kerry, Ireland, located on north side of Tralee Bay about west of Tralee town, just south of the Shannon Estuary. The bay is enclosed from the Atlantic by the Maharee spit which extends northwards from the Dingle peninsula...

, the port of Tralee in Co.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Naval Service is the navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and is one of the three standing branches of the Irish Defence Forces. Its main base is in Haulbowline
Haulbowline
Haulbowline is the name of an island in Cork Harbour off the coast of Ireland. It is the main naval base and headquarters for the Irish Naval Service.-Etymology:...

, County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

.

Naval Service vessels are all named with traditional Irish female names, taken from history and Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

. The ship prefix
Ship prefix
A ship prefix is a combination of letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of the name of a civilian or naval ship.Prefixes for civilian vessels may either identify the type of propulsion, such as "SS" for steamship, or purpose, such as "RV" for research vessel. Civilian prefixes are often...

  stands for Long Éireannach
Long Éireannach
is the designation given to ships in the Irish Naval Service Fleet. In this context it is abbreviated to LÉ, as in LÉ Eithne or LÉ Deirdre....

, "Irish ship" in the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

.

History

Coastal and Marine Service

The Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 of 1921 stipulated that Ireland would be given responsibility to police its customs and fishing, while the United Kingdom would remain in control of Irish Waters.
In 1923 the Coastal and Marine Service (CMS) was created, yet merely one year later it was disbanded.

During the Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

, in August 1922, a ship belonging to the British & Irish Steam Packet Company, the Lady Wicklow, led by Captain Patrick Ryan, was used to bring Irish National Army
Irish National Army
The Irish National Army or National Army was the army of the Irish Free State from January 1922-1 October 1924. Michael Collins, its Chief of Staff from June 1921 until his death in August 1922, was the last Chief of Staff of the IRA that had fought the Irish War of Independence...

 troops around the coast to Fenit
Fenit
Fenit is a small village in County Kerry, Ireland, located on north side of Tralee Bay about west of Tralee town, just south of the Shannon Estuary. The bay is enclosed from the Atlantic by the Maharee spit which extends northwards from the Dingle peninsula...

, the port of Tralee in Co. Kerry. This was probably the first naval involvement of the Irish State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. Built in 1890 in Dublin Dockyard, the ship measured 262 feet by 34. 450 troops, including officers were landed. Tralee was later successfully captured from local republican forces.

The , formerly the British armed steam yacht Helga, which had been used by the Royal Navy to shell Dublin during the 1916 rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

, was the only CMS ship during this period. The CMS ship "Muirchu" continued to patrol Irish fisheries. Muirchu was re-armed in 1936 and purchased by the Irish government on advice of members of the later named Maritime Institute of Ireland
Maritime Institute of Ireland
The Maritime Institute of Ireland was founded in 1941, at a time when World War II was raging and many seamen were in great peril of either being severely injured or losing their lives. Ireland, being an island nation, was dependent on the sea for all forms of movement external to the island as...

 for fisheries protection.

In 1938 the United Kingdom handed over three "treaty" ports (Cork Harbour, Bere Haven and Lough Swilly). Consequently, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 withdrew from Cork Harbour in July 1938. The "Fort Rannoch" was added to the Irish fleet at that time.

In 1939 the Irish Government ordered two Motor Torpedo Boat
Motor Torpedo Boat
Motor Torpedo Boat was the name given to fast torpedo boats by the Royal Navy, and the Royal Canadian Navy.The capitalised term is generally used for the Royal Navy boats and abbreviated to "MTB"...

s from Vospers UK
Vosper & Company
Vosper & Company, often referred to simply as Vospers, was a British shipbuilding company based in Portsmouth, England.-History:The Company was established in 1871 by Herbert Edward Vosper, concentrating on ship repair and refitting work....

. When World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 began in September 1939 the Marine and Coastwatching Service was set up. In order for Ireland to remain neutral, it became clear that a full naval service would be required. The government consequentially ordered an additional 4 MTBs. By the end of 1940 the Irish Marine and Coastwatching Service consisted of 6 MTB's and 4 other assorted craft.

During the War the Service regulated merchant ships, protected fisheries, and laid mines
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

 off Cork and Waterford. By 1941 the Marine and Coastwatching Service consisted of 10 craft (6 MTBs plus 4 assorted vessels) and about 300 all ranks. In 1942 the Service was renamed the Marine Service.

The Naval Service

In September 1946, the Marine Service was formally disbanded and the Naval Service established as a permanent component of the Irish Defence Forces
Irish Defence Forces
The armed forces of Ireland, known as the Defence Forces encompass the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reserve Defence Force.The current Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence forces is His Excellency Michael D Higgins in his role as President of Ireland...

. The navy purchased three Corvette
Corvette
A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

s from the United Kingdom in 1946 and 1947. The tradition of naming Irish Naval Ships after figures in Celtic Mythology
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

 began, and the ships were named Cliona
LÉ Cliona (03)
LÉ Cliona was a in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Cliodhna, an ancient Irish goddess of love; she was the former Bellwort was built by George Brown & Co, Greenock. After wartime service in the Royal Navy she was handed over to the Naval Service on 3 February 1947 and commissioned...

, Maev
LÉ Maev (02)
LÉ Maev was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Medb, the legendary queen of Connacht....

 and Macha
LÉ Macha (01)
LÉ Macha was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. Built as a of the Royal Navy named , she was transferred on 15 Nov 1946 to the Irish Naval Service and renamed LÉ Macha after Macha, an ancient Irish goddess of war....

. These three ships were to become a key part of the Naval Service in the 1950s and 1960s.
The First formal training of Irish naval cadets took place at the Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England. While Royal Naval officer training has taken place in the town since 1863, the buildings which are seen today were only finished in 1905, and...

, Dartmouth, UK in 1947. In 1970, the Cliona and Macha were withdrawn from service and scrapped, leaving the Maev as the sole ship in the Naval Service. The Maev was withdrawn from service in 1972. In 1971, the Naval Service commissioned three armed minesweeper
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

s: Grainne, Banba and Fola.

In 1971 the Naval Service commissioned Verlome Cork Dockyard to build an offshore patrol ship. Named the Deirdre
LÉ Deirdre (P20)
LÉ Deirdre was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Deirdre, a tragic heroine from Irish mythology who committed suicide after her lover's murder....

, it was the first naval vessel purpose-built in Ireland to patrol its waters. The Economic Exclusion Zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

 of Ireland was increased in 1976 from 12 to 200 miles. The subsequent strain put on the Naval Service prompted funding from the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

 to build seven naval ships, five of which remain in service today; the LÉ Setanta, sold in 1980, and LÉ Deirdre, sold in 2001, having been decommissioned. A Danish stern trawler Helen Basse was leased for a year, serving under the name LÉ Ferdia.

The 50th anniversary of the Naval Service took place in 1996. Celebrations included a fleet review by president Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson
Mary Therese Winifred Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She first rose to prominence as an academic, barrister, campaigner and member of the Irish Senate...

. In 1999, a new ship LÉ Róisin was delivered to the Navy, marking the beginning of a new class of larger patrol vessels. The most recent addition to the fleet has been LÉ Niamh, commissioned in September 2001.

While most missions undertaken by the Naval Service are in Irish waters, on occasion longer missions are undertaken in support of Irish forces serving with the United Nations, representing Ireland, or in support of Irish trade missions. In 2002 LÉ Niamh delivered supplies to Irish troops in Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

, then continued on a trade promotional tour to India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Japan, becoming the first Irish naval vessel to cross the Equator. In 2006 LÉ Eithne traveled to Argentina, attending ceremonies connected with the 149th anniversary of the death of Irish-born Admiral William Brown
William Brown (admiral)
Admiral William Brown was an Irish-born Argentine Admiral. Brown's victories in the Independence War, the Argentina-Brazil War, and the Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata earned the respect and appreciation of the Argentine people, and today he is regarded as one of Argentina's national...

, founder of the Argentine Navy, and also visited ports in Uruguay and Brazil. In 2010, the LÉ Niamh traveled to the Americas, visiting Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the United States.

Current strength

Its current strength is eight offshore patrol vessels:

Deirdre Class Offshore Patrol Vessels

(commissioned 1978) (commissioned 1979) (commissioned 1980)

Other Assets

The Naval Service also operates smaller training vessels and inflatable sea going craft.

Air assets are provided by the Air Corps, such as the 2 CASA CN-235
CASA CN-235
The CASA/IPTN CN-235 is a medium-range twin-engined transport plane that was jointly developed by CASA of Spain and IPTN of Indonesia as a regional airliner and military transport. Its primary military roles include maritime patrol, surveillance, and air transport...

 Maritime patrol aircraft operated from Baldonell Aerodrome in County Dublin.

Search and Rescue helicopters are operated under contract and are crewed and maintained by the Irish Coast Guard
Irish Coast Guard
The Irish Coast Guard is part of the Department of Transport. The Irish Search and Rescue Region, which includes most of the Republic of Ireland and parts of Northern Ireland is the area over which the coast guard has authority. This area is bounded by the UK Search and Rescue Region...

.

Current bases include: Cork Naval Base Headquarters, Reserve stations at Dublin, Limerick, Waterford and Cork Naval HQ. There are currently 1,444 personnel of all ranks in the service (Including aprox 400 Reserves). LÉ Eithne is the current flagship of the Naval Service.

Non-Military training takes place alongside Mercantile Marine Personnel at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy, adjacent to the Haulbowline base.

Naval Service Diving Section

The Naval Service has a specialist diving unit called the Naval Service Diving Section, which was established in the 1960s. They have conducted combat diving training for Ranger candidates
Irish Army Rangers
The Army Ranger Wing is the special forces unit of the Irish Defence Forces.The ARW trains and operates with many international special operations units worldwide, including the US Army Rangers, Delta Force, French GIGN, German GSG 9, Polish GROM, Swedish SSG, Italian COMSUBIN, Australian SAS,...

 after selecting combat diving as a specialty.

Among the tasks mandated to the NSDS include the following:
  • Search and Recovery
  • Underwater Survey
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  • Underwater Engineering
  • Military Diving Training

The future

The Naval Service is reportedly planning on replacing the LÉ Emer
LÉ Emer (P21)
LÉ Emer is a ship in the Irish Naval Service. The ship is named after Emer the principal wife of Cúchulainn and the daughter of a chieftain from Rush, County Dublin....

 with an MRV (Multi Role Vessel) and the rest of the fleet in later years. In 2007 it was reported that the Defence Forces expected to spend the region of €180m on an upgrade - with much of this budget to be spent on a 120 metre "enhanced naval vessel". The selected multi-role vessel would be used for coastal patrols and transport of APCs during peacekeeping deployments. It was speculated that these purchases would be put on hold (due to economic conditions). However the Minister for Defence, Tony Killeen
Tony Killeen
Tony Killeen is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He was a Teachta Dála for the Clare constituency from 1992 to 2011, and also served as Minister of Defence from 2010–11.-Early and personal life:...

, announced in July 2010 that the Department of Defence and Naval Service would be entering into talks with UK shipbuilder Babcock Marine - to complete a deal on two new offshore patrol vessels (OPV) worth €50m each, with an option for a third. The new vessels are expected to enter service 2014 and 2015, with payment expected over a number of years to 2017.

Decommissioned

(1923–1947)
  • Deirdre (P20)
    LÉ Deirdre (P20)
    LÉ Deirdre was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Deirdre, a tragic heroine from Irish mythology who committed suicide after her lover's murder....

      (1972–2000)
  • Grainne (CM10)
    LÉ Grainne (CM10)
    LÉ Grainne was a in the Irish Naval Service. She was the former . She was named after Gráinne, a legendary princess who was promised to Fionn Mac Cumhail but ran away with his young follower Diarmuid....

      (1971–1987)
  • Banba (CM11)
    LÉ Banba (CM11)
    LÉ Banba was a in the Irish Naval Service . She was named after Banba, a legendary queen of the Tuatha Dé Danann and a poetic name for Ireland. The ship was the former ....

      (1971–1984)
  • Fola (CM12)
    LÉ Fola (CM12)
    LÉ Fola was a of the Irish Naval Service.Launched in 1955 as HMS Blaxton for the Royal Navy , the minesweeper was transferred fo the Irish Naval Service on 22 February 1971, and renamed after Fóla, a legendary queen of the Tuatha Dé Danann and a poetic name for Ireland.The minehunter remained in...

      (1971–1987)
  • Macha (01)
    LÉ Macha (01)
    LÉ Macha was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. Built as a of the Royal Navy named , she was transferred on 15 Nov 1946 to the Irish Naval Service and renamed LÉ Macha after Macha, an ancient Irish goddess of war....

      (1946–1970)
  • Maev (02)
    LÉ Maev (02)
    LÉ Maev was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Medb, the legendary queen of Connacht....

      (1946–1970)
  • Cliona (03)
    LÉ Cliona (03)
    LÉ Cliona was a in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Cliodhna, an ancient Irish goddess of love; she was the former Bellwort was built by George Brown & Co, Greenock. After wartime service in the Royal Navy she was handed over to the Naval Service on 3 February 1947 and commissioned...

      (1947–1970)

Commissioned ranks

Insignia
  • Commodore
    Commodore (rank)
    Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

     (single position)
  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

  • Commander
    Commander
    Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

  • Lieutenant Commander
    Lieutenant Commander
    Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

  • Lieutenant
    Lieutenant
    A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

     (Naval Service)
  • Sub Lieutenant
  • Ensign
    Ensign
    An ensign is a national flag when used at sea, in vexillology, or a distinguishing token, emblem, or badge, such as a symbol of office in heraldry...


Non-commissioned ranks

Insignia
Irish Naval Service Enlisted Rank Insignia
A selection of Irish Naval uniforms are on display in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland....

  • Warrant Officer
    Warrant Officer
    A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

  • Senior Chief Petty Officer
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    Petty officer, 1st class, PO1, is a Naval non-commissioned member rank of the Canadian Forces. It is senior to the rank of petty officer 2nd-class and its equivalents, and junior to chief petty officer 2nd-class and its equivalents. Its Army and Air Force equivalent is warrant officer .The French...

  • Chief Petty Officer
    Chief Petty Officer
    A chief petty officer is a senior non-commissioned officer in many navies and coast guards.-Canada:"Chief Petty Officer" refers to two ranks in the Canadian Navy...

  • Senior Petty Officer
  • Petty Officer
    Petty Officer
    A petty officer is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-6. They are equal in rank to sergeant, British Army and Royal Air Force. A Petty Officer is superior in rank to Leading Rate and subordinate to Chief Petty Officer, in the case of the British Armed...

  • Leading Seaman
    Leading Seaman
    Leading seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank or rate in navies, particularly those of the Commonwealth. When it is used by NATO nations, leading seaman has the rank code of OR-4. It is often equivalent to the army and air force rank of corporal and some navies use corporal rather than...

  • Able Seaman
    Able Seaman (rank)
    In the British Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term able seaman referred to a seaman with at least two years' experience at sea...

  • Ordinary Seaman
    Ordinary Seaman (rank)
    In the Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term ordinary seaman was used to refer to a seaman with between one and two years' experience at sea, who showed enough seamanship to be so rated by their captain...


External links

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