The exhibition at St Peter’s Church on North Mains St will make historical records relating to the Anglo-Irish Treaty available to the public for the first time. Photo: Catherine Crowley

Exhibition on Treaty to open in city centre

An exhibition marking the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty will open in Cork city next week.

The exhibition, called The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives, will make significant historical records, official documents and private papers available to the public for the first time. These will include the first public presentation of both the Irish and British copies of the treaty document.

Using contemporary reportage, images and footage, the exhibition locates the treaty negotiations in the political context of the Irish revolution and a world turned upside down by the First World War. It begins with the exploratory talks between Éamon de Valera, the then president of Dáil Éireann, and British prime minister David Lloyd George during the summer of 1921.

It also chronicles day-to-day life in London for the men and women who made up the Irish delegation, from parties attended, dinners hosted and appearances at theatre and gala performances, to the tense final days and hours leading to the signing of the treaty just after 2am on 6 December 1921.

It documents the delegation’s return to Dublin, and the Dáil Éireann cabinet meeting that pointed to the split in the independence movement that emerged over the terms of the treaty, and the divisions that would lead to Civil War.

Speaking in advance of the Cork opening, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “As minister with responsibility for the State’s commemorations programme, I am committed to ensuring that this complex period in our history is remembered appropriately and meaningfully. The exhibition affords all who visit it a chance to better reflect and appreciate the difficult decisions that were made at that time.”

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council, said: “The Treaty was a key moment in the nation’s history and it is important for Cork, which contributed so much to the struggle for national independence, to properly mark its creation and ratification.”

The exhibition is presented by the National Archives in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy, the National Library of Ireland and the Office of Public Works, with records from the collections of the Military Archives and University College Dublin.

It will be open at St Peter’s Church, North Main Street from 9 June-5 July and is free to visit. A virtual exhibition is also available online at

The exhibition is presented as part of the Government of Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 National Programme.