This example of a Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers cap badge is cast in bronze, and features two lugs on the back for the badge to be attached to a cap or hat. Professor Eoin MacNeill, the Chairman of the National Executive of the Irish Volunteers, designed the Irish Volunteer cap badge. The Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers adopted this cap badge design after the formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. Members of the Dublin Brigade would have worn this badge when in full uniform. Volunteers wore the badge more prominently until the Easter Rising in 1916. After the Rising, the continuation of the movement necessitated that those working to reform the Volunteers and continue the fight take their activities underground. Volunteers were rarely seen in uniform as the fight progressed. One of the rare large-scale instances that Volunteers appeared in uniform after the Rising was Thomas Ashe’s funeral. During the truce period after the War of Independence, Volunteers began wearing uniforms again and would have begun wearing these badges on their caps. However, as members of the Volunteers joined the new national army and the Irish Civil War began, they ceased wearing this badge.
The badge was designed with multiple symbols that recall early Irish history. The center of the badge features an “FF,” which represents Fianna Fáil. Fianna was the name of an ancient warrior group in Ireland. Fianna Fáil translates roughly to “ancient warriors of destiny.” The inner circle of the badge is surrounded by a warrior’s sword belt that has the words “Drong Áta Cliath” stamped on it, which translates roughly to “Dublin Brigade.” The outer portion of the badge features a sunburst, which was a traditional symbol the Fianna used in battle. It also features an eight-point star, which has no particular base in Irish History, but was included to provide balance to the design
- For more info on the history and symbolism of the current defense forces cap badge see: http://www.military.ie/info-centre/defence-forces-history/defence-forces-cap-badge/