Galway Defence Force members to  take part in ceremonial changing of the guard

Defence Forces personnel based in Galway will take part in a ceremonial changing of the guard on Saturday at the National Memorial to Members of the Defence Forces who died in the service of the State.

Members of An Chead Cathalann Cois (1st Infantry Battalion ) of the Irish Defence Forces based at Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa Barracks, will be led by Galway’s Officer Commanding, Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll, who will lay a wreath at the National Memorial  in memory of the four members of An Chéad Chath who died in the service of the State.

Lt Ryan Van Haeften (27 ) , who is the Officer in Charge of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, was commissioned to Galway in January 2015, while other members of An Chéad Chath involved in the ceremony include Sergeant Oliver Foudy, Privates Shane Black, Jamie Whelan, Darren Hession, Liam Sinnott, Jason Mannix, Padraig Hall, Darren Carroll, Joseph Dillon, Stephen Ryan, James McKernan and Ian Finley.

This will be the fifth of six ceremonies taking place at the National Memorial at Merrion Square, Dublin - each Saturday at midday until  August 22. Each Changing of the Guard ceremony is being conducted by different units of the Defence Forces.

The National Memorial was unveiled by President Mary McAleese in November 2008 and is the National Memorial to members of the Defence Forces who died in the service of the State. Since the establishment of An Chéad Chath, four of its members have died in the service of the State. It is a place of contemplation and remembrance, where families, relatives and members of the public can reflect on the nature of voluntary military service and the ultimate price paid by soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen of the State. 

The pyramid shape of the memorial, which was designed by Brian King, captures references to burial and is a standing testament to the dead. Within the pyramid, four bronze figures, representing all elements of the Defence Forces, stand guard over the eternal flame that emanates from the Defence Forces emblem, Óglaigh na hÉireann. The flame burns in perpetual memory of those members of the Defence Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the State.

During this ceremony two bugle calls will be heard - ‘Last Post’ followed by the raising of the National Flag in turn followed by ‘Reveille’. These two calls are customarily used within the Irish Defence Forces during commemoration ceremonies, wreath laying ceremonies and military funerals.

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