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National Archives: Treaty Exhibition Embarks on Regional Tour of Ireland

An exhibition presented by the National Archives – The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives – will tour Ireland following a four month stint at Dublin Castle, where the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921 went on public display for the first time in the history of the State. Following the success of the exhibition, the National Archives, in association with the Royal Irish Academy have also launched a limited edition commemorative book also named ‘The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives’.

The exhibition marks the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (6 December 1921) and will tour Wicklow, Tipperary, Donegal, Wexford, Limerick and Cork from April until July 2022. The exhibition is presented by the National Archives in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Royal Irish Academy, the National Library of Ireland with records from the collections of the Military Archives and University College Dublin Archives.

The  limited edition illustrated book ‘The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives‘ has been launched in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy to commemorate this significant period in our history as well as the announcement of a national tour of the exhibition over the coming months.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 is one of the most important documents in modern Irish history. How was it negotiated? Who signed it? What was life like for the Irish delegation that went to London to conclude it? A lavishly illustrated book, published by the Royal Irish Academy in partnership with the National Archives explores the world that the delegates lived in for seven fateful weeks in 1921, and how the Treaty that they negotiated came into being.

Co-edited by Dr. John Gibney (Royal Irish Academy) and Zoe Reid (National Archives), this book takes as its primary source records from the National Archives which chronicle the day-to-day life in London for the men and women who made up the Irish delegation from parties attended, dinners hosted and appearances at theatre and gala performances, to minutes, memo’s, drafts and letters between Dublin and London to the tense final days and hours leading to the signing of the Treaty just after 2am on 6 December 1921.

A learning resource for schools has also been developed and will be available for secondary school teachers and pupils from next month.

Speaking in advance of the launch, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said:

“As Minister with responsibility for the State’s Commemorations Programme, I am committed to ensuring that this complex period in our history is remembered appropriately and meaningfully.  I am delighted therefore that this book, commemorating the Treaty negotiations and the ultimate signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, will contribute further to our understanding of this period in our history and with original records held in the collections of the National Archives will allow us to better reflect and appreciate the difficult decisions that were made at that time”.

 

At the launch of the book and the announcement of The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives regional tour, Orlaith McBride, Director of the National Archives said:

“We are delighted to launch this exquisite publication. This illustrated book, based on the original exhibition, explores the negotiation and signing of the Treaty by the Irish delegation that travelled to London in October 1921, and their day-to-day experience of life in London as the negotiations moved towards their conclusion. It does so through the documentary record that they left behind, much of it retained by the National Archives in Dublin and other archives in Ireland. The exhibition on which this book is based will close this week in Dublin and will then tour to six counties across Ireland over the coming months.  I am delighted that, together with the virtual tour, this important exhibition will be accessible to people across the country and further afield.”

Written in conjunction with the Royal Irish Academy, ‘The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives’ is a collection of all of the records from 1921 that featured in the exhibition and is available from the Royal Irish Academy and book shops across the country.

A virtual exhibition is also available online at www.nationalarchives.ie.

This exhibition and book are presented as part of the Government of Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 National Programme.

 

About the Exhibition

Using the Treaty as a centrepiece, the National Archives presents an exhibition that marks its role as the official repository of the records of the State, one hundred years since its formation. The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives opens up significant historical records, official documents and private papers for the first time, including the first public presentation of both the Irish and British copies of the Treaty document.

Using contemporary reportage, images and footage, The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives locates the Treaty negotiations in the political context of the Irish revolution and a world turned upside down by the First World War. Beginning with the exploratory talks between Éamon de Valera, President of Dáil Éireann, and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George during the summer of 1921, it details the work of the Irish plenipotentiaries and their secretariat, by presenting the documentary record that they left behind.

The exhibition also chronicles day-to-day life in London for the men and women who made up the Irish delegation, from parties attended, dinners hosted and appearances at theatre and gala performances, to the tense final days and hours leading to the signing of the Treaty just after 2am on 6 December 1921. Finally, it documents the delegation’s return to Dublin, and the Dáil Éireann cabinet meeting that pointed to the split in the independence movement that emerged over the terms of the Treaty, and the divisions that would lead to Civil War.

The National Archives was established to collect, manage and preserve Ireland’s public record, ensuring their availability as a resource for all. These records relate to the social, cultural, economic and political history of the island of Ireland from the Middle Ages through to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 and into the modern era.

Amongst its collections is perhaps the most famous document in Irish history: the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. It was appropriate that the National Archives should mark the centenary of the signing of the Treaty by presenting a major exhibition of records in its possession relating to the negotiation and signing of the Treaty by the Irish delegation that travelled to London in October 1921. Using the Treaty itself as the centrepiece, this exhibition placed significant documents from the collections of the National Archives on public display for the first time.

Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais faoi na dátaí agus na háiteanna a mbeidh an taispeántas réigiúnach ar siúl, féach ar www.nationalarchives.ie .

 

See Regional Tour Information – Dates and Venues below:
Wicklow County Council
Wicklow Library & Archives, Wicklow Town
25 April – 17 May 2022

Tipperary County Council
Source Arts Centre, Cathedral Road, Thurles
3 – 31 May 2022

Donegal County Council
Donegal County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny
5 – 31 May 2022

Wexford County Council
Wexford County Council, County Hall, Carricklawn, Wexford
23 May – 10 June 2022

Cork City Council
St. Peter’s Church, North Main St, Cork
9 June – 5 July 2022

Limerick City and County Council
Limerick City and County Council buildings, Merchants Quay (Istabraq Hall)
9 – 30 June 2022

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