The Regiment dates back to the reign of George III, when in 1793 to meet the commitments of war with France, the 83rd and the 86th Regiments of Foot were raised. At about the same time Regiments of Militia were raised in counties Antrim, Down and Louth. All were eventually to be part of The Royal Irish Rifles which later became The Royal Ulster Rifles. The 83rd Regiment was raised in Dublin by Colonel William Fitch and soon saw active service in the West Indies. The 86th Regiment was originally raised in Shropshire by General Cornelius Cuyler and was known as "Cuyler's Shropshire Volunteers". However there was some difficulty in recruiting sufficient numbers and on the regiment's move to Ireland they changed their main recruiting area to Leinster and became known as the "Irish Giants". The regiments saw active service in Egypt in the early 1800s and later in the Napoleonic Wars, where they were awarded many honours for their actions and bravery. The outbreak of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 found both Regiments in India and honours were again bestowed on members of the regiments. The next main event in the Regiment's history was the formation in 1881 of The Royal Irish Rifles. Many changes of dress, of title, of organisation and equipment followed, but the greatest of all was the conversion to a Rifle Regiment, which was regarded as a signal honour. It was in 1921 that the decision was made to change the name from The Royal Irish Rifles to The Royal Ulster Rifles. Finally in 1968 The Royal Ulster Rifles amalgamated with The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and The Royal Irish Fusiliers to form The Royal Irish Rangers, thus preserving the future of the Irish Regiments.
Regimental Museum with Library & Archive