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Commemoration to mark the 100th anniversary of Dublin Castle handover taking place today

On 16 January 1922 at 1.45pm, the Viceroy of Ireland formally handed over power.

Dublin Castle which was the seat of British power in Dublin from 1171 to 1922.
Dublin Castle which was the seat of British power in Dublin from 1171 to 1922.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN will today lead a commemoration ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the handover of Dublin Castle.

On 16 January 1922 at 1.45pm, the last Lord Lieutenant, or Viceroy, of Ireland formally handed over power and Dublin Castle itself, to the new Provisional Government.

The ceremony was concluded within a brief 45 minutes.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of this historic event – one of the most significant in modern Irish history and a key centenary moment in the Decade of Centenaries Programme.

Six months after the handover, a civil war broke out, with the subsequent events of 1922 profoundly shaping the political landscape of the State.

A State commemoration, set to feature members of the Defence Forces, will take place in the Upper Castle Yard of Dublin Castle today to mark the historic handover by the British army

President Michael D Higgins, the Taoiseach and other politicians will all be in attendance – as will prepresentatives of the diplomatic corps and the judiciary. 

The event, organised by the Department of the Taoiseach, will be broadcast live on RTÉ One from 1.35pm.

‘A day that shaped our journey’

Speaking ahead of today’s event, the Taoiseach the 16 January 1922 is a significant date in Ireland’s history as it is a “day that helped shape our journey towards sovereignty and self-determination”.

“This weekend’s Decade of Centenaries Programme provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on the principles that have buttressed one hundred years of parliamentary democracy, and our place in the world as one of the oldest continuous democracies,” he said.

historic-dublin-scenes-provisional-government-of-southern-ireland-takes-over-control-of-dublin-castle-general-boyd-the-officer-commanding-the-dublin-district-addressing-f-division-of-the-a General Boyd, the officer commanding the Dublin district, addressing ' F ' Division of the Auxiliaries before they left for their quarters at the castle. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar added:

The handover of Dublin Castle by the British to the Provisional Government led by Michael Collins, is a seminal moment in Irish history and marked a major stepping stone towards independence and the creation of the Irish Free State later that year. 

“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.”

“We owe so much to the revolutionary generation of a hundred years ago. It is fitting that we honour them today,” he added.

historic-dublin-scenes-provisional-government-of-southern-ireland-takes-over-control-of-dublin-castle-the-car-containing-mr-michael-collins-passing-through-the-arch-connecting-the-lower-castle-yar The car containing Michael Collins passing through the arch connecting the Lower Castle Yard with the Upper Castle Yard. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

‘Hugely symbolic event’

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said the castle was a symbol of British power in Ireland for almost 700 years and its handover to the forces of the Free State was a pivotal as well as a hugely symbolic event. 

In addition to the ceremonial event at Dublin Castle today, a number of other events will take place in the coming days, such as a two day conference hosted by Trinity College from 14-15 January, at The Printworks in Dublin Castle.

The conference will explore the implications of this dramatic shift in the centre of power, the immediate reactions, and anticipated consequences, with experts from Ireland and abroad discussing the historical significance of that day and responses in Ireland, Britain, and around the globe.

The programme includes an address by the Taoiseach and Minister Catherine Martin.

The online event is free to the public and will be live streamed here.  

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historic-dublin-scenes-provisional-government-of-southern-ireland-take-over-control-of-dublin-castle-the-main-gate-at-the-castle-armoured-and-loopholed-showing-an-english-sentry-on-guard-he An English sentry on guard at Dublin Castle watching for the arrival of the cars containing the members of the Irish Free State Provisional Government. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Original records describing the handover of Dublin Castle by British Administration to the Irish Provisional Government have also gone on display at the National Archives for the first time in 100 years. 

These documents cast some light on what happened that day, and on its implications for the formation of an independent Irish state.

Among the records on display are minutes of the first meeting of the Irish Provisional Government in the Mansion House on the morning 16 January 1922. The handwriting appears to be that of Michael Collins. Access to the National Archives is open to the public.

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