Irish administration before and after independence

Hundreds of letters in the Letters 1916-1923 collection give a unique insight into administrative procedures on a national and local level both before and after the Irish independence. The correspondence of the Chief Secretary of Ireland (formerly kept at Dublin Castle, now held by the National Archives of Ireland) is particularly concerned with peace-keeping after the Easter Rising of 1916. One of our digital treasure hunts can help you explore those letters and learn more about the Dublin Castle administration.
County Council records (e.g. from the Longford Archives), on the other hand, describe infrastructural and social challenges of the time, such as sub-standard housing conditions, polluted water, and a shortage of supplies during the First World War. We also hold several public records referring to the early days of the Irish Republic.

Featured Letter by Louise Tobin:

Letter from Edward O’Farrell to the Controller, Foreign Trade Department, 29 February 1916 (National Archives of Ireland).

Dublin police report on the illegal importation of glass from Belgium by a Mr. H. Wigoder in Feb. 1916 | Image: National Archives of Ireland
Dublin police report on the illegal importation of glass from Belgium by a Mr. H. Wigoder in Feb. 1916 | Image: National Archives of Ireland
This feature deals with a letter which highlights the problems faced by Irish businesses during these turbulent times. The letter in question is from Sir Edward O’Farrell, the assistant under-secretary for Ireland, to the Controller of the British Foreign Trade Department in London. O’Farrell encloses a report by a sergeant at ‘G’ Division, the detective branch of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, which deals with the illegal importation of glass from Belgium by a Mr. H. Wigoder in Feb. 1916.

Read more here.

Featured Letter by Sean Driver:

Letter from Joseph Michael Stanley to George Bernard Shaw, 28 March 1916 (Military Archives of Ireland).

Letter from Joseph Michael Stanley to George Bernard Shaw, 28 March 1916 | Image: Military Archives of Ireland
Letter from Joseph Michael Stanley to George Bernard Shaw, 28 March 1916 | Image: Military Archives of Ireland
The feature deals with a letter which was written by Joseph Michael Stanley to George Bernard Shaw, dated 28 March 1916. The letter details a sequence of events commencing with the raid of the offices of the Gaelic Press on Friday the 24th of March. The raid and seizure described occur less than a month before the Easter Rising and show that the authorities were undertaking a concerted attempt to break up the small presses.

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Featured Letter by Dr Brian Hughes:

Letter from James Stephens to John MacDonagh, 24 August 1916 (National Library of Ireland)

Letter from James Stephens to John MacDonagh, 24 August 1916 | Image: National Library of Ireland
Letter from James Stephens to John MacDonagh, 24 August 1916 | Image: National Library of Ireland
On 3 May 1916, Thomas MacDonagh was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Born in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, in 1878, MacDonagh was a teacher, poet and writer. By 1916, he was a member of the secret revolutionary organisation responsible for the planning of the Easter Rising.

Read more here.

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