Truce of 100 years ago, which ended War of Independence, marked at Mansion House

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland lays wreath to mark centenary

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland laid a wreath at the Mansion House with Brian O’Neill, the chairman of the 1916 Relatives Association. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland laid a wreath at the Mansion House with Brian O’Neill, the chairman of the 1916 Relatives Association. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

 

On July 9th, 1921 an announcement came from the Mansion House that a Truce had been agreed between the British and Irish in the War of Independence.

The announcement was made at 3pm by the lord mayor of Dublin Lawrence O’Neill who had brokered talks.

Though many thought it would be temporary, it ended official hostilities between Britain and Ireland.

Thousands turned up to the Mansion House to witness the two sides agree to peace terms.

General Nevil Macready, who has been in command of the British forces in Ireland, drew up to the Mansion House in an open-top car. He did not know what to expect and carried a pistol in his jacket pocket, but he need not have bothered.

In his autobiography, Annals of an Active Life, Macready remembered: “The crowd began to shout and cheer, one excited and unwashed old dame seized my hand and kissed it, others commending me to their favourite saints.

“It was a vivid picture of the unstable excitability of a populace who, with tears running down their cheeks, could cheer the echo a man who a few hours before, and indeed afterwards, they would have rejoiced to hear had met his death at the hands of the gunmen.”

The centenary of the Truce was marked in a much more low key fashion outside the Mansion House on Friday.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland, in one of her first official engagements in the role, laid a wreath on the steps of the Mansion House with Brian O’Neill, the chairman of the 1916 Relatives Association.

The event included a piper, a colour party in period costume and an honour guard.

A number of specially commissioned posters will be erected around Dublin City Centre by the 1916 Relatives Association to mark the Centenary of the Truce.

Ms Guilland said it was “really important to remember the fight for people who fought for Irish independence and their relatives and that we also acknowledge our soldiers that went to the UN.”

Cllr Nial Ring, who organised the event, said the centenary of the Truce was a major event which, like many centenary events could not be marked properly because of Covid-19.

He hoped that as the country emerges from the Covid crisis, events such as the burning of the Custom House and the Truce will be examined between now and the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December.

The last fatalities of the War of Independence were in Killarney, Co Kerry when two British soldiers and a civilian, Hannah Carey (48), were shot dead just 15 minutes before the Truce came into operation at midday on July 11th, 1921.

A commemoration to mark the Truce in Co Kerry will be held at the Gardens of Remembrance in Killarney on Saturday evening. The event is not open to the public due to Covid-19.

The centenary of the Truce had been earmarked as the only occasion for State commemoration for the War of Independence, but no event has been scheduled.