This paper argues that Ireland has been a consistent contributor to peacekeeping since 1958 and examines how the nature of Irish participation has evolved. The maintenance of an effective UN forms a key objective of Irish foreign policy within which peacekeeping and a policy of military neutrality have come to play a central role. In 1993, Ireland revised the legal basis for participation. This brought about a fundamental change in policy, after which participation in peacekeeping not specifically of a police nature was permitted. Ireland displays evidence of both self-interest and altruism in relation to peacekeeping. Unlike many other European countries, it did not withdraw' from engagement during the 1990s. Despite greater clarity around decision-making processes in recent years, it is still difficult to discern a clear Irish policy strategy. Challenges identified for the future include the changing nature of UN peacekeeping, budget limitations and downsizing of the Defence Forces, legal obstacles to participation in non-UN approved missions, risk assessment, national caveats and a lack of clear doctrine.