Freedom of the City
The Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin is the highest and most prestigious award Dublin City can bestow.
We refer to recipients of this award as "Freemen" or "Freewomen" of Dublin, and they become Honorary Citizens of our city.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin nominates people for the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin, and a meeting of the City Council must ratify each one.
The Council has conferred this award on only 86 people. The most recent recipients were Ailbhe Smyth, Professor Mary Aiken, and Kellie Harrington, who received the award on Saturday, 11th June 2022.
Ancient Privileges & Duties of a Freeman or Freewoman
While no financial benefits are attached to the award, holders of the Honorary Freedom of Dublin have some ancient privileges and duties not applicable to ordinary citizens, some of which have little more than symbolic meaning in the modern world.
Ancient Privileges include:
- The right to bring goods into Dublin through the city gates, without paying customs duties.
- The right to pasture sheep on common ground within the city boundaries, including modern-day College Green (formerly Hoggen Green) and St. Stephen’s Green.
- The right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.
Ancient Duties include:
- Each Freeman or Freewoman must be ready to defend the city from attack.
- A Freeman or Freewoman can be called on to join a city militia at short notice.
- According to a law passed in 1454, any merchant who becomes a Freeman or Freewoman must possess the following items:
- A coat of mail
- A bow
- A light helmet
- A sword of their own
- Freemen from the other trade guilds must have a bow, arrows and a sword. A law passed in 1465 states that each Freeman or Freewoman has to provide themselves with a longbow (of their length) made of yew, witch-hazel or ash.
- They must also have twelve arrows made of the same wood.
Click here for a complete list of recipients.