Every week we shine a light on a different object from our collections that you may not have seen before. This week we have a Connaught Rangers dress helmet. The Connaught Rangers was an infantry regiment of the British Army that mainly recruited in the west of Ireland, formally established in 1881 with the amalgamation of the 88th Regiment of Foot (known as the Connaught Rangers) and the 94th Regiment of Foot (formerly the ‘Scotch’ Brigade). With their headquarters located at King House, Boyle, Co Roscommon, they had a training depot located at Renmore Barracks, Galway, later Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa.
Photos of Connaught Rangers dress helmet from the Galway City Museum collection.
The design of the helmet was influenced by the pickelhaube helmet (from the German ‘pickel’ meaning ‘point’ and ‘haube’ meaning ‘bonnet’) worn by the Prussian army from 1842 – the spike was originally used to hold a plume of horsehair. The helmet was worn as part of full formal dress, the curb chain being worn at the chin whilst on official duty but then draped over the peak and suspended from the spike base on unofficial engagements.
The badge features the Irish harp to represent Ireland and the Crown to represent Britain. The inscription around the harp reads ‘HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE‘ from the French meaning ‘shame on him who thinks evil of it’.
Nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Own‘ their motto was ‘Quis Separabit’ meaning ‘Who Shall Separate Us’. Over 2,500 Connaught Rangers were killed in action or died from their wounds during World War 1 (1914-18). The Connaught Rangers were disbanded in 1922 under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty following the formation of the new Irish Free State.
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