LÉ Eithne (P31)

Eithne during the 2013 IDF naval exercises. Irish Defense Force photo.

Ship Class
Laid Down

This last vessel of the Irish Naval Forces to be built in Ireland to date, LÉ Eithne (P31) is also the flagship of the INF. Commissioning 7 December, 1984, she is the only ship in the fleet to carry a flight deck, but the Dauphin helicopter that she carried has been decommissioned, and replaced with maritime patrol aircraft. Her crew of eighty-five have one 57mm gun and two 20mm cannons, plus an unspecified number of 7.62mm machine guns. Admitted top speed is 20 knots, but her cruise range is quite good, allowing her to visit Argentina in 2006, which was the first deployment of an Irish ship to the southern hemisphere. She was also deployed to the Mediterranean in 2015, as part of the European Union naval forces rescuing migrants heading for Europe. She was taken out of service in 2019 due to a shortage of personnel, but reactivated in 2020 to support the Irish COVID response in Cork.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: LÉ stands for Long Éireannach; Irish Ship.