This article examines the treatment of physical drill as a curricular subject in primary schools in the Irish Free State in the period from 1922 to 1937. In particular, it assesses the reasons why its status as an obligatory subject was reduced in the mid 1920s. It will show that the availability of facilities, resources and teaching staff with suitable qualifications were all considerations, while some teachers were not physically capable of teaching the subject in the early years of the Irish Free State. In addition, a strong emphasis on the Irish language and the view that a reduced curriculum was more beneficial to learning meant that some subjects, including physical drill, were deemed optional. However, the decision to reduce the subject's status had not been supported by everyone and it was mainly the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation which was behind the move. Following its reduction from an obligatory subject to an optional one as a result of a decision taken at the Second National Programme Conference in 1926, a lack of a clear policy on the subject became evident. By the early 1930s, the subject was receiving more attention from the Irish government, which made some efforts made to integrate the Czechoslovakian Sokol system into Irish schools. In examining conflicting views on how to implement the Sokol system, and the work of Lieutenant Joseph Tichy, the man recruited to develop it within the Irish army, this article also identifies the reasons why this method of physical training was not a success in Irish schools.