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The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives

by  John GibneyZoë Reid
€ 25.00

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

March 2022


Number of pages: 184

ISBN: 9781911479611


PDF icon Advance Information

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 led to the creation of an independent Irish state, but also a devastating Civil War that defined Irish politics for decades. Divisive as it proved to be, the signing of the Treaty on 6 December 1921 is a key milestone in modern Irish history. The original Irish copy of the Treaty is retained in the collections of the National Archives in Dublin, which marked the centenary of its signing with the landmark exhibition The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives, presented in partnership with the Office of Public Works, the National Library of Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy, whose Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) project played a central role as a partner in the exhibition, developing the exhibition text and co-curating the structure and content with the National Archives. With the Treaty as the centrepiece, the exhibition placed significant documents from the collections of the National Archives on public display for the first time, along with material from the collections of the Military Archives, Dublin, and UCD Archives.

The Treaty of 1921 is perhaps the most famous and important document in modern Irish history. How was it negotiated? Who signed it? What was life like for the Irish delegation that went to London to conclude it? Using the documentary record that they left behind, much of it published here for the first time, this lavishly illustrated book, based on the original exhibition, explores the world that the Irish delegation lived in for seven fateful weeks in 1921, and how the Treaty that they negotiated came into being.

This book is also available on JSTOR. For more information, institutions can visit Books at JSTOR or contact

You can buy the eBook here.

Please note: this book has Swiss binding. The front cover is not glued to the spine and this type of binding allows the book to lay flat when opened. The cover is glued to the book at the back. The spine and binding threads are visible when the front cover is open.

The exhibition will tour Wicklow, Tipperary, Donegal, Wexford, Limerick and Cork from April until July 2022. The exhibition is presented by the National Archives in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Royal Irish Academy, the National Library of Ireland with records from the collections of the Military Archives and University College Dublin Archives.

25 April–17 May 2022: Wicklow Library & Archives, Wicklow Town
3–31 May 2022: Source Arts Centre, Cathedral Road, Thurles
5–31 May 2022: Donegal County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny
23 May–10 June 2022: Wexford County Council, County Hall, Carricklawn, Wexford
9 June–5 July 2022: St. Peter’s Church, North Main St, Cork
9–30 June 2022: Limerick City and County Council buildings, Merchants Quay (Istabraq Hall)

About the authors

John Gibney

John Gibney is Assistant Editor with the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series. His books include The shadow of a year: the 1641 rebellion in Irish history and memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) and A short history of Ireland, 1500–2000 (Yale University Press, 2017). He is the co-author, with Michael Kennedy and Kate O’Malley, of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019), and, with Kate O’Malley, of The Handover: Dublin Castle and the British withdrawal from Ireland, 1922 (Royal Irish Academy, 2022).


Zoë Reid

Zoë Reid is Keeper of Public Services and Collections at the National Archives. She is an accredited conservator and established the Conservation Department in the National Archives (Ireland) in 2002. She has been responsible for safeguarding the long-term preservation of the national collection and ensuring safe public access to the archives. Over the past 20 years she has presented her work at international conferences and been published widely in conservation journals.