Naval Service Reserve
Irish: Cúltaca na Seirbhíse Cabhlaigh
Crest of the Naval Service Reserve
Active1 October 2005–present
Country Ireland
BranchNaval Service
TypeNaval Reserve
Size115 active personnel (May 2018)[1]
300 establishment strength
Part of
Irish Defence Forces
Cúltaca shoulder insignia

The Naval Service Reserve (NSR) (Irish: Cúltaca na Seirbhíse Cabhlaigh) is the reserve force of the Irish Naval Service. It is one of two elements of the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) of the Irish Defence Forces, the other element being the Army Reserve (AR). The NSR was established on 1 October 2005 to replace and reorganise the previous naval reserve organisation, An Slua Muirí, which in turn replaced the fore-runner Maritime Inscription founded in 1940 to act as a Port Control authority during The Emergency (WWII). Originally formed at Dublin's Alexandra Basin, its headquarters was in Portobello barracks, now known as Cathal Brugha Barracks.[2]


Organised in five units, one each in Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Limerick, and another specialist unit, the Technical Support Unit. As of May 2018 the NSR had a strength of 115 personnel of all ranks.[1] The reserve supplements the crew of vessels of the Irish Naval Service during patrols of territorial waters and overseas visits, as well as conducting stand-alone operations within their respective ports, such as security duties, sighting reports and intelligence gathering.[3][4] All Naval Service Reserve members fall under the Naval Service Executive Division (Seaman's Division).

Enlistment is open to EU citizens between the ages of 18 and 35, provided they are ordinarily resident in Ireland, can pass fitness tests, an interview, medical examination, are of good character and obtain a security clearance, and also to non-EU citizens who have been continuously legally resident in the Republic for at least three years.

The NSR is a part-time voluntary organisation, and trains members in aspects of nautical and military disciplines to supplement and aid the permanent Naval Service. Periods of enlistment vary and is initially for four years. Progression through the ranks is possible including a commission and promotion to the rank of Lt/Cdr (see Irish Naval Service#Personnel and ranks).

Up to 6 weeks paid training may be undertaken by a reservist each year (further sea training possible when demand arises).[4] Reservists are liable to be called up on permanent service by ministerial order in times of emergency.

NSR personnel formed part of the crew of the LÉ Eithne which was deployed to Cork as a testing centre in support of the HSE, as part of Ireland's response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in early 2020.[5][6]


Prior to 2002 ranks for NCOs in the Naval Reserve were in blue instead of gold.[7] Since 2002 naval reserve personnel have worn the same rank insignia as their non-reserve counterparts.

NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Ireland Irish Naval
Service Reserve

No insignia
Senior chief petty officer
Ard-mhion-oifigeach sinsearach
Chief petty officer
Senior petty officer
Mion-oifigeach sinsearach
Petty officer
Leading seaman
Mairnéalach ceannais
Able seaman
Mairnéalach inniúil
Ordinary seaman
Seaman recruit


Main article: Irish Naval Service § Weapons

Name Origin Type Caliber Photo Notes
Assault Rifle
Steyr AUG  Austria Assault Rifle 5.56×45mm
Standard service rifle since 1989
Heckler & Koch USP  Germany Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm
Standard service pistol[8]
Battle Rifle
FN FAL  Belgium Battle Rifle 7.62×51mm
Only used for line throwing
Machine gun
FN MAG  Belgium Machine gun 7.62×51mm
Fitted onboard Naval Service ships for close range weapons support and anti-air point defence. Can also be mounted on RHIB's
M2 Browning .5 Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)  Belgium Machine gun 12.7×99mm (.50)
Fitted onboard Naval Service ships for close range weapons support and anti-air point defence

See also


  1. ^ a b "Defence Forces Reserve Strength - Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 12 July 2018 - Written Answers (Question to Defence)". Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Hansard). 12 July 2018. As of 31 May 2018 [..] the effective strength of the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve was as follows [..] Army Reserve (AR) .. 1,663 [..] Naval Service Reserve (NSR) .. 115
  2. ^ "Ship called after a sea goddess to the fore in naval reserve". Irish Times. Retrieved 11 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "White Paper on Defence: Reserve Defence Forces Representative Association". Houses of the Oireachtas Service. Retrieved 25 July 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "The Naval Service Reserve". Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 16 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "21 March 2020 - DF Internal Announcement". Óglaigh na hÉireann. Retrieved 21 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ O'Riordan, Sean (21 March 2020). "Navy returning LÉ Eithne to service as Cork Covid-19 testing centre". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 21 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Irish Military Insignia". Archived from the original on 14 August 2007.
  8. ^ Don Lavery – 2 September 2006 (2 September 2006). "Defence Forces to turn 'tomb raiders'". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)