[DAIL EIREANN] Commemorative Poster of the First Dail Eireann, 1919. In the centre an illustration of the members, in the Mansion House, surrounded by medallion portraits of them all, within a Celtic border. With the arms of the Four Provinces and the City of Dublin also depicted. Dublin, MacLiam Eartnaill, 1919. 50 x 63cms. Framed and glazed. Fine. Very rare.
The formal opening of the first Dáil Éireann took place in the Mansion House, Dublin, on 21st January
1919. Of the Dáil’s 69 elected deputies, 27 attended the first meeting, while the remaining 42 were
absent, in most cases due to imprisonment. Cathal Brugha was declared acting President in the absence of
Éamon de Valera, President of Sinn Féin, who was in Lincoln Prison. Those present at the opening
session approved the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Democratic Programme.
The total attendance was in the region of 2,000, with a large proportion of the attendees being journalists.
Dáil Éireann was banned by the British government in September 1919, and from that point onward its
ministers and officials suffered increased harassment, with the resulting need to move premises on a
regular basis. As a consequence, there was very little legislative activity, although there were notable
successes in other areas, such as the collection of £370,000 through the Dáil Éireann National Loan.
The opening of Dáil Éireann took place against a background of increasing violence in Ireland between
nationalists and British forces. On the same day as the first meeting of the Dáil, 21st January 1919, nine
Volunteers from the 3rd Tipperary Brigade carried out an ambush at Soloheadbeg, Coounty Tipperary. In
retrospect, the ambush at Soloheadbeg would be seen as the first engagement of the War of
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