1916 War Trophy Returns to Dublin for Centenary Commemorations
As preparations for the centenary commemorations of 1916 intensify, An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh has announced that Dublin City Council has secured the loan of the ‘Gal Gréine’ banner for display during the 1916 Exhibition in City Hall, Dublin.
The flag or banner of Na Fianna Eireann, known as the ‘Gal Gréine’ was seized by the British Army, as a war trophy, from the home of Countess Markievicz as she awaited court martial in May 1916. The banner became the property of the Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle and was loaned to the British Imperial War Museum in 1936. Dublin City Council passed a resolution in 2009 seeking a loan of the banner for the 1916 centenary commemorations.
An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhalaigh commented “I am delighted as First Citizen to receive the news that this important historical artefact will be part of our 1916 Exhibition in City Hall. Countess Markievicz was an exceptional woman, who played a key leadership role in the foundation era of the Irish Republic. The return of the Banner to mark the centenary of 1916 demonstrates the positive relations that have evolved, especially over recent years, between Ireland and its closest neighbour. I look forward to welcoming the Banner home. Táim ag súil le fáilte mhór abhaile a chur roimh an mbratach”.
The Lord Mayor acknowledged the support of the British Ambassador, Dominic Chilcott, and the work of Dublin City Council’s International Relations Office in securing the loan. She observed, “I visited the Imperial War Museum during Ireland Week in London last November. The Director of the Museum was an ally who supported our request to the Royal Collection. I look forward to working with staff of the Royal Collection and our City Archivist in ensuring the Banner is properly received and displayed in City Hall, Dublin”.
It is expected that the banner will be on display and available for viewing, free of charge, from 1st March, 2016 until the end of August 2016 in the Exhibition Centre, City Hall, Dublin.
Photo available on request.
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Notes to the Editor
Countess Markievicz was the founder of Na Fianna Eireann, the Irish Republican Scout organisation. Many members of Na Fianna fought during Easter Week 1916. Countess Markievicz was second in command to Michael Mallin in the Irish Citizens Army detachment in St Stephens Green. Arrested on the surrender, the Countess and Michael Mallin faced a Court Martial. While Michael Mallin was executed the Countess’s sentence was commuted to imprisonment. She was elected an MP in 1918 and became the first Woman Cabinet Minister in Europe when the first Dáil assembled in the Mansion House.
While awaiting Court Martial her home at 49 Leinster Road was raided by the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and the Flag or Banner of Na Fianna Eireann known as the “Gal Greine” was seized as a war trophy. The Banner became the property of the Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle and was loaned to the Imperial War Museum in 1936. It was exhibited as part of the Imperial War Museum WW1 exhibition.