Irish state ceremony will mark 100 years since British ‘surrender’ of Dublin Castle this Sunday

Details have been unveiled of a service to mark 100 years since UK forces formally handed power to a newly-independent Irish state.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 3:23 pm
The lowering of the Union Flag in Dublin Castle in January 1922, as depicted in the Liam Neeson film 'Michael Collins'

January 16 (this Sunday) marks the date when Dublin Castle – the de facto base of British government over the island – was given over to Michael Collins, who had helped lead the IRA in the War of Independence, and then became chairman of the provisional government.

The day will be marked by a ceremony including the president Michael D Higgins and the Irish military at the castle, alongside a number of other major events.

In a statement today, the Irish government called the handover “one of the most significant in modern Irish history”.

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It was followed in summer 1922 by the Irish Civil War, pitting those ready to accept partition (at least temporarily) against those resisting it; the leader of the former was Collins himself, who was killed that August.

Legend has it that when Collins arrived at the castle to take control, the commander of the British forces complained he was seven minutes late.

His response (recorded in Oxford Essential Quotations) was: “We’ve been waiting 700 years. You can have the seven minutes.”

A state commemoration will take place in the Upper Castle Yard on Sunday, and will be broadcast on RTE1 from 1.35pm to 2.40pm.

In addition there will be a two-day conference beginning today at the Printworks in the castle, including an address by president Micheal Martin (details here: www.histories-humanities.tcd.ie/research/handover)

Original records describing the handover go on display this week at the Irish National Archives for the first time in 100 years (admission free), including a set of minutes stating that “members of the Provisional Government received the surrender of Dublin Castle at 1.45pm to-day; it is now in the hands of the Irish nation”.

Today stamps commemorating the handover went on sale too, and a further programme of events surrounding the milestone can be found here: www.dublincastle.ie Mr Martin hailed it as “a day that helped shape our journey towards sovereignty and self-determination”, making the 26-county state “one of the oldest continuous democracies” in the world.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar praised the “revolutionary generation” of 1922, and added: “Ireland is far from perfect, we have many problems still to solve, but we should not lose sight of the fact that our State has been successful and all that has been achieved in a hundred years of independence.”

The nation, he said, “enjoys peace and prosperity and has among the highest living standards in the world; we are at the heart of the EU and sit on the UN Security Council – this would have been unimaginable a century ago”.

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