Soldiers presented with a shamrock at Thiepval St Patrick’s Day parade

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Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, reverberated to the skirl of pipes as over 250 Reservist from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, assembled for their annual Shamrock Presentation parade for St. Patrick’s Day.

The Soldiers were accompanied on parade by a large Guard of old Comrades representing most of the antecedent Irish Regiments and a more youthful cohort of Royal Irish and Irish Guards Army Cadets, with music provided by the Regimental Band and the Battalion’s Bugles, Pipes and Drums.

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE, inspected the parade and assisted with the presentation of the shamrocks to soldiers and their families.

Brigadier Joe O’Sullivan presented various pendants awards to a number of soldiers who have excelled during the year. Warrant Officer 2 Timmy Clarke from Belfast received both an Eagle Award in recognition of his support to Regimental Football as well as his 22 year service pendant while Captain ‘Rocky’ Mallon received his Regimental Colours for his support to Infantry Skiing. A number other soldiers also received their Volunteer Reserve Service Medal from the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Christie.

“The presentation of the shamrock embodies the spirit and gallantry of the Irish soldier,” said Mrs Christie. “Of course since the South African War at the turn of the 20th century, the loyal service and courage of the Irish soldier has been called on numerous times – from the Great War to World War 2, to Korea, to the Balkans and to Northern Ireland, as well as a myriad of smaller conflicts in between.”

“The soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Royal Irish Regiment have being adding to a proud tradition, especially during the last decade of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”