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RIA author John Gibney at Milwaukee Irish Festival

02 August 2022

If you are in Milwaukee this August, join historian and RIA author John Gibney for three talks as part of the Festival's Hedge School.

This year we are delighted to be back, in person, at the Milwaukee Irish Festival. The Festival runs from 18 to 21 August with a very busy schedule. Our author John Gibney will be there to deliver three lectures on key events in modern Irish history.

Friday, 19 August, 5.30–6.20 p.m.
The creation of the Anglo-Treaty Treaty of 1921

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. This lecture, based on the Irish National Archive’s landmark centenary exhibition on the negotiation of the Treaty, explores how it came into being, what it created, and the legacies it left behind.

Read more on this topic in The Treaty, edited by John Gibney and Zoë Reid. This lavishly illustrated book 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. The book is published in partnership with the National Archives.

Saturday, 20 August, 1.00–1.50 p.m.
The handover of power and the British withdrawal from Ireland, 1922

In January 1922 the British handed over power to a new Irish government and prepared to leave 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties. The handover and British withdrawal fell between the Treaty split of January 1922 and the outbreak of the Irish Civil War in June 1922 and is usually overshadowed by both. This lecture explores how a British military presence that had lasted for over 700 years came to a swift but uncertain, end.

Read more on this topic in The Handover, by John Gibney and Kate O'Malley. This book illustrates the 1922 handover of power by the outgoing British administration to the Provisional Government of Ireland led by Michael Collins in early 1922. 

Sunday, 21 August, 12.30–1.20 p.m.
The occupation of the Irish consulate, New York, 1922

In December 1922 supporters and opponent of the new Irish Free State faced off against each other in the Irish consulate on Nassau St in New York. At stake were the huge sums of money raised in the US to fund the Irish independence struggle. By focusing on an almost trivial offshoot of the Irish Civil War, this lecture will explore how the Irish revolution resonated across the globe, and how the story of the funds raised by the revolutionaries eventually became a struggle over who were the rightful heirs of the revolution itself.

Read more on this topic in Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry. This book provides a snapshot of a year of turmoil, tragedy and, amidst it all, state-building as the Irish revolution drew to a close.

About the speaker

John Gibney is Assistant Editor with the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series. He was formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame and NUI Galway, and is the author of A short history of Ireland, 1500-2000 (Yale University Press, 2017) co-author, with Kate O’Malley, of The Handover: Dublin Castle and the British withdrawal from Ireland, 1922 (Royal Irish Academy, 2022), and co-editor, with Zoë Reid, of The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives (Royal Irish Academy, 2022), the official catalogue of the National Archives’ centenary exhibition of the same name.

Check out the Festival programme and buy your tickets at

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