Capt. Cormac Brady, ahead of departing for UN duty in Syria: “You are worried about any mission but, at the end of the day, it is definitely harder for your partner . . . Goal-setting is hugely important – the half-way mark, the leave period, the planned holiday.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

When Cormac Brady wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Hazel McDermott, he decided to do it underwater while they were both scuba-diving in Lanzarote.(...)

Members of the Irish Defence Force  prepare weapons for training at Glen of Imaal (Camp Coolmoney). Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

For two weeks last month, rural west Wicklow became upland western Syria as the Defence Forces tested themselves in a mock-up of the buffer zone betwe(...)

“And as the dust clears you see the big white Mowags, emblazoned with a black UN on the side” 16:01

One of the oddest moments during the UN school training for officers of the 48th Infantry Group occurred during a seminar in the school’s Congo Room.T(...)

Lieut Jane O’Neill of the 48th Infantry Group at Finner Camp with members of her family before being deployed to the Golan Heights. Photograph: Thomas Gallagher

At least once during their deployment on the Golan Heights, the men and women of the 48th Infantry Group will trust their lives to Lieut Jane O’Neil(...)

Army personnel prepare live rounds in an exercise involving Mowags. “No deployment plan is going to be generic, you are going to have to have a bespoke solution for everything” 16:01

Military planners have a phrase, “teeth to tail”, which they use to explain what is necessary to put troops on the ground and keep them supplied.Right(...)

President Michael D Higgins: said the first World War was linked to “the outrageous aspirations of empire”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

President Michael D Higgins is to embark on a week-long visit to Turkey and Lebanon to represent Ireland during 100th anniversary commemorations of t(...)

Irish members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights: August 28th was when the “shit hit the fan”, as the officer puts it. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images 16:01

Two months before the men and women of the 48th Infantry Group travel to the Golan Heights, an officer who served there last year tells them of one of(...)

A Royal Irish Fusilier at Gallipoli  attempts to draw the fire of a Turkish sniper to reveal his position. Photograph: Lt Ernest Brooks/ IWM via Getty Images 8:26

The soldiers selected to make the landing on V Beach at Cape Helles, the southern-most tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, were from the Royal Dublin Fusi(...)

 Sgt-Maj Noel Callagha training at Glen of Imaal (Camp Coolmoney) before departing for UN duty in Syria. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times 16:01

At 57, Sgt Maj Noel O’Callaghan is the oldest soldier serving with the 48th Infantry Group on the Golan Heights. He is 40 years in the Defence Forces (...)

Capt Deirdre Carbery of the UN Training School Ireland: ‘The more women you have in your unit, the more women you have out on patrol – mixed teams of men and women – the greater access you have to the local population.’ 16:01

Capt Deirdre Carbery of the United Nations Training School Ireland faces her audience. Before her are 21 fellow Defence Forces officers ranging in ran(...)