650 personnel are serving in 13 countries around the world

Members of the Defence Forces spending Christmas serving overseas have being sending message to family and friends ahead of the big day.

There's currently 650 personnel serving in 13 countries around the world.

More than 460 personnel are serving with UNIFIL in South Lebanon, while 130 are stationed in the Golan Heights.

Small numbers of troops are also deployed in countries such as Mali, Kosovo, Bosnia, The Democratic Republic of Congo & Western Sahara.

The Defence Forces say: "Our personnel can only do the important work of peace because of the support they receive from their families and friends at home when they deploy.

"Of course, this separation is most acutely felt over the Christmas period."

You can see some of the Christmas messages below, and more can be found on the Defence Forces Flickr page.

Captain Steve Keane from Kildare send greeting home to his family and friends

Cpl Eanna Moriarity, Athlone, Private Aaron Watts, Athlone, Cpl Dave O Brien, Dublin, Lt Dempsey, Dublin, Pte Thomas O Neill, Dublin & Cpl Kevin Conlon WIcklow wish their families and friends a very happy Christmas from Golan Heights

Private Sinead O Leary – Douglas, Co Cork, serving with UNIFIL in Lebanon.
“I’m Pte Sinead O Leary. At home I serve with the 12th Infantry Battalion in Limerick and I’m from Douglas in Cork. I’d like to wish my Mum and Dad, my partner Paul, and all my friends and family a very happy Christmas."

From Carlow, Comdt Tony Bolger is a Military Staff Officer in the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) in the Force Headquarters of MONUSCO in Congo
Christmas Message: "I would like to wish my family and friends at home a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. I especially want to say hello to my wife, Elaine and my children, Tom and Katie, I miss you all and love you very much."