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Defence Forces Cap Badge

The Badge design (common to all Corps and Services and all orders of dress) is derived from the badge of the Irish Volunteers and was designed by Professor Eoin MacNeill, Chairman of the National Executive of the Irish Volunteers.

This badge was originally adopted by the Irish Volunteers in October 1914 as the official badge of the organisation. The Centrepiece is formed of the letters ‘FF’. These letters signify ‘Fianna Fáil’. The word ‘Fianna’ is the name of the ancient military organisation (circa 3rd Century A.D.) forming what then corresponded to the standing Army of the country. The word ‘Fáil’ means ‘Destiny’.

One of the ancient names of Ireland was ‘Inishfáil’ (the Isle of Destiny) and ‘Fianna Fáil’ thus signifies the ‘Fianna (or Army) of Ireland’. The two letters are surrounded by a representation of an ancient warriors sword belt and a circle of flames which represent the ‘Sunburst’ - the traditional battle symbol of the Fianna.

The words ‘Óglaigh na h-Éireann’ inscribed around the sword belt mean ‘Soldiers of Ireland’. No particular significance is attached to the representation of the star which was included to balance the design.

Fianna and Fáil (FF)


The word 'Fianna' to the Irish mind is symbolic of the valour, manly prowess and chivalry of our race, while 'Fáil' is bound up with the very earliest political and religious systems of the Ancient God.

The name Fianna was first applied to the great military organisation founded in the 3rd century by celebrated Fionn Mac Cumhaill himself, and has been used for more than seventeen hundred years as a synonym for the Gael Militant. At various periods also it has been used to designate the advocates and defenders of Ireland's rights and liberties. The Fianna were revered and honoured almost as gods by the hero-worshipping Gael, and were looked upon by him as the embodiment of all that was brave, noble and generous. The poets and bards of the Gael have sung their praises in countless songs; the great bulk of our national literature is founded on the exploits of the heroes and chiefs of the Fianna, and their names are forever enshrined in the topography of the country. Aspirants for its ranks were obliged to undergo searching tests as to their mental as well as their physical qualifications. Fionn, Ossian, Oscar, Diarmuid and many other celebrated leaders of the organisation were poets as well as warriors.

This old semi-military organisation was John O'Mahony's ideal for an Irish Army, and Padraig Pearse dreamed of an Irish Army combining, like the Fiann of old, Gaelic culture with all the Gaelic reverence for magnanimous courage, justice and honour.


The enumerable legends and traditions associated with the magic word 'Fál' transport us back to the remote, prehistoric period of the De Dannan occupation of the country. The celebrated Lia Fáil was brought hither by them when they first decided on the conquest of Erin. This 'Stone of Destiny' was one of their most jealously guarded treasures. It was worshipped and revered, not only by the De Dannans, but also by their Milesian successors to the sovereignty of Ireland, as a gift of the gods.

For centuries the coronation ceremonies of the Gaelic monarchs were performed on this Lia Fáil, and the Gaels had implicit faith in all the extra-ordinary powers attributed to their magic Stone of Destiny. It was credited with the power of emitting sounds when the rightful heir to the throne was crowned, and thus assured that none but the legitimate successor could attain to the Kingship.

When the sons of Earc, having established an Irish colony in Scotland, found themselves sufficiently strong to assert their rights to the sovereignty of that country, Fergus, the first of the Kings thus selected, applied to his brother, who was then Ard RÁ of Ireland, for a loan of the Lia Fáil so that the ceremony of the coronation might be performed with all the religious solemnity and with all the rites and pomp with which such ceremonies had been, for thousands of years, performed by his ancestors.

The Lia Fáil was thus transported to Scotland, and there it remained, in the monastery of Scone until the reign of Edward I of England. This monarch, in one of his incursions into the territory of his northern neighbours, had the Lia Fáil seized and carried off to England. It is believed by many excellent authorities that the large stone in the coronation chair at Westminster was the original Lia Fáil. From this Lia Fáil Ireland received one of its ancient names, Innis Fáil. This is the origin of the well-known 'Innisfail' the anglicised form popularised by Moore.