The first uniformed troops of the National Army appeared on the streets of Dublin in February 1922 as the IRA fractured along the fault lines of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Forged in the crucible of the Civil War, hastily expanded to over 50,000 men, the Army’s formation was the outcome of a situation in which its very existence and the state for which it struggled were at stake. But building a professional and disciplined army from scratch and immediate and rapid recruitment are incompatible goals. Ill-discipline was rife and the force was not underpinned with a formal legislative basis until August 1923. While the Judge Advocate General took the first step by issuing the General Regulations as to Discipline in November 1922, the patriarchs of the National Army wanted to ensure that not just the disciplinary standards but also the moral character of its men reflected those expected of ‘pioneers in a new State.’ Moral Formations charts the (sometimes competing) attempts during Ireland’s first decade of independence, of military, church, government, medical and legal authorities, to create an Army that embodied the ideal of Irish manhood; one that would be both a scion of the old Gaelic traditions and the vanguard of the new state.