Ireland became a member of the United Nations in 1955. Since 1958 the Defence Forces have had a continuous presence on peace support operations. This work began in June 1958 when fifty Irish officers were sent to serve as Observers with UNOGIL (United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon). ONUC (the Congo), UNFICYP (Cyprus), and UNIFIL (the Lebanon) are amongst the most recognisable missions with which the Defence Forces have been associated. Ireland has provided military personnel to the United Nations (UN), to the European Community (EC) now the European Union (EU) and to the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE).

Between 1960 and 2007, 86 Irish soldiers have died in service overseas.

Commandant Walsh recalls his journey to Rwanda and Nairobi and eventually Goma, where he worked for the charity GOAL. He recalls flying in an eight seater plane from Nairobi to Goma. He reflects on his feelings on getting closer to Goma and his anxieties about what was facing him. He details his early experience in Goma of seeing refugees dying from cholera and dysentery. He powerfully recalls the smell and the image of bamboo mats containing dead bodies.

In this clip, Regimental Sergeant Major Geraldine Browne speaks about becoming the Company Commander's driver during her tour to the Lebanon with the 73rd Infantry Battalion (May 1993 – Oct 1993). She recalls that the previous driver had become very nervous as a result of regular bombing and states that she was asked to consider taking over the role. She then became the Company Commander's Driver for Commander Mick Verling to all of the posts he had to visit around the Area of Operations.

In this piece of audio taken from an interview on 8th September 2016, Commandant Anthony (Tony) Roe speaks about his first overseas tour to the Lebanon with the 45th Infantry Battalion in 1979. He also discusses briefly the impact of the overseas tour on his family and reflects on the challenges of communicating with home from the Lebanon in 1979.

Commandant Walsh discusses the dynamics of his time in Rwanda and recalls getting to know the various people who were working to relieve the suffering there.

In this piece of audio taken from an interview on 8th September 2016, Commandant Anthony (Tony) Roe tells a story about Captain Liam McNamee (Son of Hugh McNamee, who retired in 1977) who was involved in an incident at a check point in the Lebanon. McNamee was involved in a fist fight with a Lebanese man but Comdt Roe was not able to clarify which side the Lebanese man was involved with. Liam McNamee (later Col. McNamee) wrote 'A Helping Hand', An Cosantóir Review, October 1995, p. 21.

Commandant Walsh recalls a fist fight between him and other Irish soldiers with Hezbollah fighters in the Lebanon with the 57th Infantry Battalion – May 1985 – October 1985. He explains that the Hezbollah members who were trying to take an old man out of the village they were based in, on the allegation the man was a spy. He also outlines the importance of the policy of non-escalation.

Refers to Father Willie Cummins in Rwanda and his efforts to offer spiritual respect to the hundreds of bodies being buried in Goma. He explains how Father Cummins nightly said the prayers for the dead and powerfully recalls the scene of the mass grave.

Commandant Walsh reflects on his early experiences in Rwanda and the reality of dealing with burying thousands of bodies in mass graves in Goma town. Refers to Paul Keyes and Tom Boyce (Irish army Officers) and recalls their early induction into the reality of the crisis. Keyes and Boyce had already handled 2,000 bodies that day and buried them in mass graves with local boy scouts and (French) legionnaires. He speaks about the challenges of dealing with a humanitarian crisis. Commandant Walsh explains the work involved in 'trying to put order on the place', including supporting medical staff and learning how to put a butterfly drip into a dying child. He discusses the logistic and operational challenges involved in their work. He refers to the dangers associated with the work and affirms that it was impossible to work in the camps at night, declaring 'these guys would kill you', referring to the Congolese soldiers. Refers to some of the team including Kieran Spollan (Sanitation and Water), Tony White (building and fencing). He refers to John Ging who set up the systems of supplies. John Ging was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Director of the Operational Division at OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) in February 2011. He oversees the day-to-day management of all OCHA field operations worldwide and on behalf of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and is the day-to-day focal point for supporting Humanitarian Coordinators. Mr. Ging is also the lead adviser to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs on operational decision-making

Commandant Walsh reflects on some dangerous experiences in the Lebanon and underlines the importance of communications and attention to detail in operations with the Defence Forces.

Commandant Michael Walsh is a native of Galway who joined the Defence Forces in 1976 and retired in 2012 with the rank of Commandant. In this clip, Commandant Walsh recalls an incident in the Lebanon when on 29th June 1985 he and some of his colleagues came under fire at a checkpoint. Michael recalls his fear during this incident and reveals powerfully that he believed he was going to die. Poignantly, he notes that this was also the date of his son's first birthday.

In this clip, Company Sergeant Joe Mallon, a native of Ballysax in County Kildare speaks about his tour to the Lebanon with the 51st Infantry Battalion – May 1982 – Oct 1982. He discusses 'Operation Rubicon', which he states happened during this time. He recalls an incident when an Israeli officer attempted to take over his unit and outlines how he managed the situation. This seems to refer to the second major invasion of the Lebanon by Israel, which occurred in 1982 but was called by the Israelis as 'Operation Peace for Galilee'.

Here, Regimental Sergeant Major Geraldine Browne recalls her first trip overseas with the 73rd Infantry Battalion to the Lebanon (May 1993 – Oct 1993). She speaks about the worry of her family while she was in South Lebanon and reflects on her own feelings at the time.

In this piece of audio taken from an interview on 8th September 2016, Commandant Anthony (Tony) Roe speaks about the South Lebanon Army and recalls meeting some of them near 'The Cuckoo's Nest'. Refers to the importance of cultural habits when dealing with other cultures and recalls shaking hands with the left hand. Recalls his broader memories of the South Lebanese Army. Major Saad Haddad was the founder and head of the South Lebanon Army, who collaborated with Israel against Lebanese government forces and Hezbollah.

In this clip, taken from an interview on 8th September 2016, Commandant Anthony (Tony) Roe speaks about the condition of Beirut airport when they arrived there in 1979 (with the 45th Infantry Battalion). Tony remembers a section of Nigerian soldiers who were living in the corner of a hanger at Beirut airport. He explains that they were left behind because the plane they were to leave on was full and they were not prepared to leave behind provisions.

Commandant Michael Walsh speaks about his first overseas mission with the 57th Battalion in 1985 to the Lebanon at the rank of Captain. He reflects on the excitement of an overseas tour and his feelings on leaving home. He also discusses the sense of pride of representing Ireland overseas and also reflects on the dangers involved in such tours.

Commandant Walsh speaks about working in Kosovo in 2009 with the ICTYU International Crime Tribunal. He speaks about having to watch videos of mass murders to help identify war crimes and war criminals. He speaks about how at a conference in Butmir, he got a female officer to dress up in order to get photos taken with men who the Special Projects Cell felt were involved in war crimes. International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.

In this piece of audio taken from an interview on 8th September 2016, Commandant Anthony (Tony) Roe recalls his tour to the Lebanon in 1979 with the 45th Infantry Battalion describes Naqoura in Lebanon and its importance to the tour, given its proximity to Israel. He also refers to the spiritual resonance of the route which went through Tyre, Sidon and Galilee given the connection with Jesus Christ and the Bible.

In this clip, Father Jerry Carroll, the Chaplain to the Air Corps, speaks passionately about the role of Irish peacekeepers which he describes as 'the greatest missionary force to ever leave the shores of Ireland'.

Father Jerry Carroll, a native of Carrickmacross, county Monaghan is the Chaplain to the Irish Air Corps. In this clip, Father Jerry describes vividly his recollections of a serious incident in Chad in 2008. There Irish troops on patrol near the eastern Chadian town of Goz Beida came under fire, while troops in a Djabal refugee camp were also confronted by the Janjaweed, a militia that operate in western Sudan and eastern Chad. Father Jerry recalls moving from position to position offering support to the Irish soldiers who were ready to defend the refugee camp and forcefully conveys the emotion and tension of the incident.