The picture below appeared in the Illustrated London News in July 1921. If the photograph had background noise it would have been the low pitched chant of the Rosary, which was in fact recited when it was taken. The prayerful crowd of men, women and children had assembled outside the Mansion House, Dublin to petition the heavens for peace after a long drawn out war which had claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 over its two and a half year duration. Inside the delegates from both sides were deep in negotiation to determine Ireland’s future.
At midday on Monday July 11th 1921 the the Truce between the IRA and the British Crown Forces came into effect. The cease fire had been negotiated a week before on July 4th, between Eamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith on the Irish side and representing the British was the leader of the British Army in Ireland, Neville Mcready. The Truce was officially announced on July 8th, allowing a week for both sides to lay down arms. In its own way the Truce was a small victory for the Irish side as Britain had never acknowledged that they were at war with the country. They viewed the situation more as a series of violent ambushes and killing by the ‘murder gang’ not the official Irish Republican Army. The Truce validated the fact that a war had taken place, which in turn was a minor victory for the IRA, which would have boded very well with Republicans like Emily.
The general public breathed a sigh of relief. For the first time in a long time they could go about their daily business without the specter of violence looming on the streets. The sporadic turned frequent echoes of gunfire on the streets of Dublin and larger urban centres would fall silent replaced by the more natural sound of human traffic and children playing.
When the ceasefire was announced, it was met with great cheer, and just a little superstition. “Friday is a lucky day they say down the country”. More took a more prayerful view; “And they say again down the country God grant it”.
In Dublin there was a air of festivity with the sounding of sirens on the docks, workers given the day off and children were encouraged to celebrate.
“Back in Ireland, midday on 11 July 1921 was also being marked. At Dublin Port, for instance, American and British steamships signalled support for the truce by sounding their sirens, while many workers, including over 300 corporation labourers and 1,600 men at the Inchicore railway works, were let off from their workplaces, released to enjoy a Monday afternoon in the midst of a July heat wave. Some Dublin schoolchildren were similarly indulged.”https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/endgame-1921-towards-truce-and-treaty-in-ireland
Retail and business took advantage of the festive mood in the hopes that the new lease on life would bring in customers. Some shops even offered special ‘Truce’ discounts on clothing. Their advertising campaign suggests that their clothes would be perfect attire to were to Truce celebrations!
A Truce? Ireland’s Own, Centenary Souvenir Edition 1921 2021; by Eoin Swithin Walsh.
Weekly Freeman’s Journal 30 July 1921
Dublin Evening Telegraph 11 July 1921
Irish Times 11 July 1921