The Irish Army is preparing to withdraw from the war-ravaged state of Liberia on Thursday, after nearly four years of keeping a fragile peace.
The tiny west African republic saw some of the most savage violence in the continent's recent history.
Irish troops on patrol in Monrovia
Following a ceasefire in August 2003, the Irish Defence Forces were tasked with restoring order as part of UNMIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force.
Lt Col Michael Kennedy, joint commander of UNMIL, said the Irish arrived in a volatile war zone, still awash with arms.
"When we came in a couple of years ago it was the norm to see people carrying rocket launchers and automatic weapons. There'd be an AK47 in almost every household," he said.
"But now we've reached the stage where people know if we see them carrying a weapon on the streets, it's no laughing matter."
Irish forces have carried out hundreds of patrols, often deep into remote jungle areas and former rebel strongholds, bringing schoolbooks, food and clothes to villagers.
Their regular, heavily-armed presence has been aimed at undermining the authority of the country's warring factions.
But although they have helped restore stability, almost four years on from the end of the fighting the capital Monrovia is still without electricity or clean water, and unemployment is estimated at more than 80%.
"Believe it or not, this is massive progress," said Lt Col Kennedy.
"Three years ago people were worrying about whether they'd be alive the next day. It's moved from that to people worrying whether they'll have a job the next day."
The Irish army was also in charge of the rendition of Charles Taylor, Liberia's former president, now awaiting trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
Irish troops are leaving after keeping the fragile peace for four years
The success of the deployment is in stark contrast to Ireland's last African intervention - the disastrous mission to the Congo in 1960, when poor planning led to the deaths of 26 Irish soldiers.
The only death of an Irish soldier during the Liberian mission was of 33-year-old Ranger Derek Mooney from Blackrock, Dublin, who died in a road accident south of Monrovia in 2003.
More than 200,000 people are thought to have been killed during Liberia's 15-year conflict, and at one stage almost three-quarters of the population were forced to flee their homes.
"There was a sense of relief to see us arrive, I think. Most people were just fought out," Comdt Mairtin Coffey said.
"You'd be on patrol and see 18 to 20-year-olds with limbs torn off, and it's pretty obvious most were child soldiers. They need to be taught new skills to help get them past the trauma."
Comdt Shane Rockett, in charge of the battalion's charity fundraising, said: "The Paddy factor has certainly helped - we've just seemed to take naturally to interacting with the locals.
"Many of the troops have volunteered at an Aids hospice in their spare time, and we hold poker nights to try and raise cash whenever we can."
He said: "We're happy to have achieved something, and it will be sad to go. But I don't think anyone would turn down the prospect of a pub and a cold pint of Guinness right now."
The 96th Infantry Battalion, drawn mostly from the west of Ireland, will be replaced by Pakistani troops while the new Liberian National Army completes its training.