Timeline of events, 1919-69
The dates given in this table for the openings of recognised diplomatic missions are the dates when a resident Irish diplomat was first based in the locations concerned. In most cases diplomatic relations had been established many years before resident missions were established and non-resident ministers and ambassadors had been appointed. Particularly from 1946 onwards, ambassadors in the list of missions below were also accredited to other countries and institutions. Prior to 1946 Irish diplomatic missions tended to be either legations or high commissions. Ireland’s first ‘Embassy’ was opened in 1946, when the first ambassador to the Holy See was appointed. Subsequently high commissions became embassies after Ireland left the Commonwealth in 1949. From the 1950s on legations were regularly upgraded to full embassies.
|Year||Major events in Irish foreign relations|
|1919||21 Jan. First Dáil Éireann assembles in Mansion House, Dublin; issues ‘Declaration of Independence’ and ‘Message to the Free Nations of the World’
Feb. Dáil Éireann sends Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh to Paris as envoy to the postwar peace conference, seeking recognition of Irish independence.
1 June. Éamon de Valera, as president of Dáil Éireann, departs Ireland to embark on publicity and fundraising tour of United States.
|1920||Jan. Dáil Éireann external loan launched in United States.
23 Dec. Government of Ireland Act, 1920, establishes two ‘Home Rule’ legislatures in Ireland, thereby partitioning Ireland; Éamon de Valera returns to Ireland from the United States.
|1921||22 June. Northern Ireland parliament officially opened in Belfast by King George V.
11 July. Truce between British Army and IRA comes into effect.
11 Oct. – 6 Dec. Negotiations in London lead to signature of ‘Articles of Agreement’ (Anglo-Irish treaty), creating the Irish Free State with dominion status within British Empire from December 1922 onwards.
14 Dec. Dáil Éireann debate on the Anglo-Irish treaty begins.
|1922||7 Jan. Anglo-Irish treaty approved by the Dáil, which splits over whether to accept or reject its terms.
14 Jan. Provisional Government established under Michael Collins.
28 June. Outbreak of Civil War between anti-treaty and pro-treaty forces.
Aug. Deaths of Arthur Griffith (12 Aug.) and Michael Collins (22 Aug.); W.T. Cosgrave becomes chairman of Provisional Government.
6 Dec. Irish Free State formally comes into being.
|1923||31 Mar. Customs barriers between Irish Free State and United Kingdom come into effect.
27 Apr. Ceasefire by anti-treaty IRA ends Civil War; establishment of Cumann na nGaedhal, led by W.T. Cosgrave as President of the Executive Council.
10 Sept. Irish Free State becomes member of League of Nations.
1 Oct. – 8 Nov. Imperial conference held in London
|1924||3 Apr. First Irish Free State passports issued.
11 July. Anglo-Irish treaty registered as an international agreement with the League of Nations.
7 Oct. T.A. Smiddy officially appointed as first officially accredited diplomatic representative of the Irish Free State.
|1925||7 Nov. Final report of Boundary Commission leaked in press.
3 Dec. Agreement between Irish Free State, UK and Northern Ireland governments to accept existing border between Free State and Northern Ireland.
|1926||16 May. Foundation of Fianna Fáil party by Éamon de Valera.
19 Oct. – 23 Nov. Imperial conference held in London agrees on equal status of the dominions.
|1927||10 July. Assassination of Kevin O’Higgins in Dublin.
8 Aug. Joseph Walshe officially appointed as first Secretary of the Department of External Affairs.
|1928||27 Aug. Irish Free State signs first international treaty in Paris: ‘The international treaty for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy’ (‘Kellogg-Briand pact’).|
|1930||17 Sept Irish Free State begins three-year term on Council of League of Nations.|
|1931||11 Dec. Statute of Westminster confirms legislative supremacy of dominion parliaments over that of Westminster, effectively making the dominions fully autonomous.|
|1932||16 Feb. Following general election Fianna Fáil, founded in 1926 and led by Éamon de Valera, take over from
15 July. Economic War begins with imposition of duties on exports from the Irish Free State to the UK in retaliation for withholding of land annuity payments.
21 July – 20 Aug. Imperial economic conference held in Ottowa; this was the final such conference attended by Irish government ministers.
26 Sept. Éamon de Valera, as chairman of League of Nations, makes inaugural speech to League Assembly.
|1933||2 Sept. Foundation of Fine Gael as successor organisation to Cumann na nGaedhal.
2, 16 Nov. Constitutional amendments introduced to limit role of crown representative (governor-general) in Irish Free State.
|1934||21 Dec. Cattle and coal agreement between Irish Free State and United Kingdom.|
|1936||11 Dec. Executive Authority (External Relations) Act passed in response to abdication of Edward VIII; crown is now only recognised for purposes of external affairs.|
|1937||1 July. New constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, ratified by referendum.|
|1938||25 April. Anglo-Irish agreements on trade, and the handover of remaining ‘Treaty Ports’, bring Economic War to an end.
12 Sept. Éamon de Valera elected as president of assembly of League of Nations.
|1939||2 Sept. Irish neutrality declared on outbreak of Second World War.|
|1941||Jan, May. German bombings of Irish territory.|
|1945||2 May. Éamon de Valera extends official condolences to German legation on death of Adolf Hitler.|
|1946||24 July. Dáil Éireann votes to apply for membership of United Nations.|
|1947||12 July-22 Sept 1947. Irish delegation attends Committee of European Economic Co-operation (CEEC) in Paris, leading to Irish participation in the US-led European Recovery Programme (the ‘Marshall Plan’).|
|1948||4 Feb. General election sees an ‘inter-party’ coalition government come to power; John A. Costello of Fine Gael replaces De Valera as Taoiseach.
7 Sept. Costello announces plan to repeal External Relations Act and leave Commonwealth while on official visit to Canada.
21 Dec. Republic of Ireland Act repeals External Relations Act and confirms description of state as a republic.
|1949||8 Feb. Ireland declines to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) due to concerns over the maintenance of partition.
18 April. Ireland officially leaves Commonwealth and becomes a republic.
5 May. Ireland becomes one of the ten founding members of the Council of Europe.
|1950||20 Dec. Legislation passed by Dáil to establish Industrial Development Authority.|
|1951||30 May. General election returns Fianna Fáil to power, with De Valera as Taoiseach.|
|1952||2 July. Legislation passed by Dáil Éireann to establish Bord Failte.|
|1954||18 May. General election returns a second inter-party coalition to power, again under John A. Costello as Taoiseach.|
|1955||14 Dec. Ireland admitted to membership of United Nations.|
|1956||12 Dec. IRA ‘Border Campaign’ begins.|
|1957||5 Mar. General election returns Fianna Fáil to power, under de Valera as Taoiseach.|
|1958||5 Jun. Irish troops join UN observer mission (UNOGIL) in Lebanon for first time.
11 Nov. Publication of White Paper, Programme for economic expansion.
|1959||17 June. Éamon de Valera steps down as Taoiseach after his election as president, to be replaced by Seán Lemass.|
|1960||27 July. Irish troops deployed to Congo as part of UN peacekeeping mission (ONUC).
20 Sept. Frederick H. Boland, as head of Irish mission to UN, is elected president of UN General Assembly.
|1961||1 Aug. Ireland submits formal application to join European Economic Community (EEC)|
|1963||14 Jan. Veto of British application to join EEC by French President Charles de Gaulle stalls Irish application to join the bloc.
26-29 June. US President John F. Kennedy visits Ireland.
|1964||9 April. Irish troops deployed to Cyprus as part of UN peacekeeping mission (UNFICYP).|
|1965||14 Jan. Lemass and Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O’Neill meet in Belfast for first official meeting of Ireland and Northern Ireland leaders since 1925.
14 Dec. Signing of Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA).
|1966||10 Nov. Jack Lynch become Taoiseach on resignation of Lemass.|
|1967||27 Nov. Second veto of British application to join EEC by French President Charles de Gaulle stalls Irish application to join the bloc.
11 Dec. Lynch meets Terence O’Neill in Belfast.
|1968||8 Jan. Lynch meets Terence O’Neill in Dublin.
13-16 Aug. State visit to Japan by Jack Lynch, who becomes first Taoiseach to visit Asia.
|1969||12-14 Aug. ‘Battle of the Bogside’ in Derry; British troops deployed in Northern Ireland (14 Aug.).
21 Sept. Irish government raises the outbreak of major unrest in Northern Ireland at the UN Security Council in an unsuccessful attempt to secure UN intervention.
|Year||Opening of Irish diplomatic missions||Total|
League of Nations (closed 1940)
|1924||United States of America||3|
|1929||Holy See (closed 2011-2014)
Germany (closed 1945 to 1950)
|1930||New York (Consulate)||8|
San Francisco (Consulate)
|1956||United Nations (New York)||20|
|1962||Hamburg (Consulate) (closed 1982)
|1965||United Nations (Geneva)||25|