Since 1949, the Notre Dame Band has been led by a distinct section known as the Irish Guard. They have a certain presence and spectators stand up and take notice of the guard as they lead the band on the field. The Guard wears uniforms based on the pattern of a traditional Scottish kilt incorporating the unique tartan of Notre Dame, along with a giant hat with a plume, and a requirement that existed that members be at least 6’2” tall. Even though it has only 10 members, the Irish Guard stands out at any game at Notre Dame.
.The Irish Guard began as a group of students who played bagpipes with the band, according to the band website. The unit accompanies the band to road games, and leads the band onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium. They have a few other duties, such as performing the Victory Clog “Damhsa Bua” after every Fighting Irish victory.
For this coming football season, there are several changes coming to the Irish Guard. First, it will not be a stand alone unit, members will come from the Notre Dame Band. Guard members will need to have demonstrated at least one year of service and leadership as a musician or manager. The height requirement will also be eliminated, and the term of service will be for only one year. The idea is not to have four-year Irish Guard members or three-year Irish Guard members. The changes are somewhat controversial, a link follows to read more.
Read more about the changes coming: http://ndsmcobserver.com/2014/05/band-restructures-irish-guard/