‘Fit for immediate service’: Reassessing the Irish Military Establishment of the Eighteenth Century through the 1770 Townshend Augmentation

  • Andrew Dorman Dublin City University


The Irish Military Establishment (IME) of the eighteenth century was established in 1699 to protect Ireland from invasion and to secure the Hiberno-Protestant interest from Catholic insurrection. Regiments were rotated to and from Ireland as required, and Ireland played a major part in British strategy as a barracks for its Empire. Despite this crucial role, the Establishment endures considerable historical criticism and is often described as an ill-disciplined rabble. This paper will reassess this negative perception through a case study of the Townshend Augmentation and material held in the returns of regiments in Ireland from 1767-1771.