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"Views of Four Presidencies" (2004)


Timeline 1910 – 1974

Year Date Event
1910 6 May Death of Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (the UK). He is succeeded by his son, King George V.
1914 28 June Assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife at Sarajevo, Bosnia, a catalyst in the outbreak of the First World War. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia on 28 July, Germany declares war on France on 3 August and invades Belgium on 4 August and Britain declares war on Germany on 4 August.
1916 24 April Easter Rising in Ireland, which begins with the seizure of the General Post Office and other buildings in Dublin by the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army and the proclamation of the Irish Republic.  The Rising ends in unconditional surrender to the British Army on 29 April.
1918 11 November Armistice between Germany and the Allies (principally France, Britain and the USA), which brings the First World War to an end.
1919 21 January Meeting in Dublin of the Sinn Féin Members of the British Parliament at Westminster, who had been elected at the British General Election of December 1918. They unanimously adopt the provisional constitution of Dáil Éireann (“Irish parliament”).
1919 21 January Ambush by members of the Irish Volunteers at Soloheadbeg, county Tipperary, which is afterwards regarded as the beginning of Ireland’s War of Independence.
1919 1 April Election of Éamonn de Valera as President of Dáil Éireann.
1921 9 July Truce is signed by representatives of the British Army in Ireland and the Irish Republican Army.
1921 6 December Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed by representatives of the British Government and Dáil Éireann, which led to the formal establishment of the Irish Free State exactly a year later.
1922 7 January Dáil Éireann approves the Anglo-Irish Treaty by 64 votes to 57. Éamonn de Valera opposes the Treaty and resigns as President of Dáil Éireann on 9 January. Over time the Sinn Féin party splits into factions and the Pro-Treaty faction forms the Cumann na nGaedheal party.
1922 16 January Transfer of power in Ireland (excluding the 6 counties of Northern Ireland) from the British Government to the Pro-Treaty Provisional Government.
1922 28 June Outbreak of the Irish Civil War which begins when Pro-Treaty military forces attack the headquarters of the Anti-Treaty forces at the Four Courts in Dublin.
1922 25 October Dáil Éireann approves the Constitution of the Irish Free State. The Constitution and the articles of the Anglo-Irish Treaty are ratified by an act of the British Parliament on 5 December.
1922 6 December Dáil Éireann approves the nominations to the first  Executive Council of the Irish Free State, including WT Cosgrave of Cumann na nGaedheal as the first President of the Executive Council (equivalent to Prime Minister). TM Healy takes up office as the first Governor General (the representative of the King in Ireland). Cumann na nGaedheal and Cosgrave win a number of subsequent General Elections and retain power until 1932.
1923 24 May End of the Civil War when de Valera orders the Anti-Treaty forces to call off the armed struggle.
1923 10 September The Irish Free State becomes a member of the League of Nations.
1926 16 May Launch by Éamonn de Valera of the Fianna Fáil party – he had resigned from Sinn Féin two months earlier.
1932 16 February General Election, at which the Fianna Fáil party led by Éamonn de Valera is returned as the largest party and following which de Valera is elected President of the  Executive Council. Fianna Fáil and de Valera win a number of subsequent General Elections and retain power until 1948.
1932 26 November Domhnall Ua Buachalla takes up office as the last Governor General of the Irish Free State.
1936 20 January Death of King George V. He is succeeded by his son King Edward VIII.
1936 11 December Abdication of King Edward VIII. He is succeeded by his brother King George VI. On the same day, Dáil  Éireann passes legislation removing from the Irish Free State Constitution all references to the King, the Crown and the Governor General.
1937 1 July Referendum at which the new Irish Constitution is approved by the people.
1937 29 December The new Constitution comes into effect, the titles “Executive Council” and “President of the Executive Council” are changed to “Government” and “Taoiseach” respectively (the title “Taoiseach” being equivalent to Prime Minister) and the office of President comes into existence.
1938 25 June Douglas Hyde takes up office as the first President of Ireland. Not a member of a political party, he is elected unopposed.
1939 1 September Germany invades Poland triggering the outbreak of the Second World War. Ireland remains neutral throughout the war.
1941 22 June Germany invades Russia.
1941 7 December Japan attacks Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. On the following day, 8 December, the USA and Britain declare war on Japan and on 11 December, Germany and Italy declare war on the USA.
1945 8 May “VE Day” - surrender of Germany and the end of the war in Europe.
1945 16 June Presidential election at which Seán T. O’Kelly of Fianna Fáil is elected President – he takes up office on 25 June.
1945 14 August Surrender of Japan  -  the end of the Second World War.
1948 4 February General Election, as a result of which Fianna Fáil and de Valera lose power. John A. Costello of Fine Gael is elected Taoiseach on 18 February as head of Ireland’s first coalition government, which include members of the Fine Gael, Labour, National Labour, Clann na Poblachta and Clann na Talmhan parties.
1949 18 April Ireland (excluding the 6 counties of Northern Ireland) formally becomes a republic and leaves the British Commonwealth.
1949 12 July Death of Douglas Hyde, President from 1938 to 1945.
1951 30 May General Election as a result of which Fianna Fáil and de Valera are returned to power.
1952 6 February Death of King George VI – he is succeeded by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
1952 25 June Seán T. O’Kelly takes up office as President for the second time, having been re-elected unopposed.
1954 18 May General Election, as a result of which Fianna Fáil and de Valera lose power. John A. Costello is re-elected Taoiseach on 2 June as head of a coalition government, comprising members of the Fine Gael and Labour parties.
1955 14 December Ireland becomes a member of the United Nations.
1957 5 March General Election, as a result of which Fianna Fáil and de Valera are returned to power.
1959 17 June Presidential election at which Éamonn de Valera is elected President of Ireland and takes up office on 25 June.
1959 23 June Dáil Éireann elects Séan Lemass of Fianna Fáil as Taoiseach, in succession to de Valera. Fianna Fáil and Lemass win a number of subsequent General Elections and Fianna Fáil retain power until 1973.
1966 1 June Presidential election at which Éamonn de Valera is re-elected President.
1966 10 November Dáil Éireann elects Jack Lynch of Fianna Fáil as Taoiseach in succession to Séan Lemass who had announced his intention to retire two days earlier.
1966 23 November Death of Seán T. O’Kelly, President from 1945 to 1959.
1969 18 June General Election at which Fianna Fáil and Lynch are returned to power.
1973 1 January Ireland becomes a member of the European Economic Community.
1973 28 February General Election as a result of which Fianna Fáil and Lynch lose power. Dáil Éireann elects Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael as Taoiseach on 14 March as head of a coalition government between the Fine Gael and Labour parties.
1973 30 May Presidential election at which Erskine Childers of Fianna Fáil is elected President of Ireland – he takes up office on 25 June.
1974 17 November Death of President Childers.
1974 3 December Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh takes up office as President – previously Chief Justice, he was not a member of a political party and is elected unopposed.