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Dublin Castle Ceremony Marks 100 Years Since British Handover of Power

President Michael D Higgins has unveiled a plaque at the ceremony marking 100 years to the day since Dublin Castle was handed over by the British administration to the Provisional Irish Government.

The plaque, in Irish and English, is located over the archway between the lower and upper yards of Dublin Castle, where the handover ceremony took place.

The inscription reads: “In a room above this archway, Dublin Castle was formally handed over by the last Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Viscount FitzAlan of Derwant to the Provisional Government of Ireland led by its chairman Michael Collins.”

The handover of power 100 years ago was recalled in a reconstruction of the events of that day by actor Phelim Drew.

The original ceremony, on January 16th, 1922, was to have taken place at midday, but was delayed because Michael Collins was not in Dublin.

When he arrived in the city, he went to the Mansion House and was duly elected chairman of the Provisional Government.

At 1.20pm, the Provisional Government telephoned Dublin Castle and told the British there that they were on their way.

At 1.40pm, eight members of that government arrived in three taxi cabs and made their way to the Privy Counsel suite above the archway in Dublin Castle to meet FitzAlan.

One anecdote – that FitzAlan had chastised Collins for being seven minutes late, to which Collins allegedly responded that the British had kept the Irish waiting for seven centuries – was most likely apocryphal, Drew told the assembled crowd.

The original day of the handover was described as a “cold, raw January day”, but the centenary ceremony, the first State commemoration held since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, was conducted in beautiful winter sunshine.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, members of the Government, members of the Council of State and relatives of those who had negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 were present.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Labour leader Alan Kelly and Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy were guests, as were former taoisigh Enda Kenny and Bertie Ahern. Former presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson also attended the ceremony, which was broadcast live on RTÉ.

The event, which was held at the same time as the events of 100 years ago, was also attended by UK ambassador in Ireland Paul Johnston.

Taoiseach Martin said it was appropriate to honour the achievements of the revolutionary generation, and “we do so with pride that the State they helped to create is entering its second century of independent, democratic government”.

Source: Irish Times


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