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Event: League of Nations exhibition and publication to mark the end of the Decade of Centenaries

23.09.06 Stories from the archives  

Exhibition, presented in Dublin, Geneva, and the UN in New York, will mark 100 years since Ireland joined the League of Nations, heralding its arrival on the Global Stage

The League of Nations was the first worldwide state-level political organisation, created in the aftermath of the First World War. Ireland joined the League on 10 September 1923, and did so to emphasise that it was a sovereign state and an autonomous actor in world affairs. League membership was an essential part of independent Ireland’s first steps on the international stage.

Marking the centenary of Ireland’s membership of the League of Nations, the National Archives, in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Irish Academy, has created an exhibition featuring records from its collections relating to Ireland’s membership of the League. The records, which have never been on public display before, feature official documents, photographs, recollections, letters and ephemera, and chart the exciting early adventures of the new State as it began to forge an international position for itself.

From its earliest years in the League of Nations, Ireland advocated a peaceful world order and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. These were the key goals of the League and Ireland knew that, as a small state which lacked great military and economic power, membership of a group of like-minded states such that the young League of Nations offered, was its best chance of surviving, and thriving, on the world stage.

The exhibition, On an equal footing with all, Ireland at the League of Nations 1923-1946, will be presented at both the Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska and the Dublin Festival of History before travelling to the UN in Geneva and New York.

This exhibition is presented as part of the Government of Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries’ 2012-2023 National Programme by the National Archives, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Irish Academy.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the launch of the Book, On an Equal Footing with All, Ireland at the League of Nations 1923-1946 a programme of panel discussions and curated talks to encourage historical enquiry and the understanding of the impact and legacy of the events that helped shape the State.

Exhibition dates:

United Nations Building Geneva

Palais des Nation, 10 Geneva Dr 12533

26 September – 6 October 2023

Ploughing Championships, Ratheniska, Co. Laois

19 – 21 September 2023

Culture Night, National Archives Foyer

22 September

Dublin Festival of History

Print Works, Dublin Castle

29 September – 1 October 2023

United Nations Headquarters, New York

405, Lexington Avenue, 10174 New York

20 November -1 December 2023

Admission free.

Panel Discussions:

An international gift that was never presented – The Geneva Window.

Saturday 30 September, 1pm

Dublin Festival of History, Printworks, Poddle Room

Book here

The Cosgrave administration officially asked renowned stained glass artist Harry Clarke to design a window as Ireland’s present to the International Labour Office building in Geneva in 1927. The window was finished before Clarke passed away in January 1931, but it was never displayed.

Join Dr. John Gibney and Dr. Roisin Kennedy in discussion with Aoife Bhreathach to learn about the work of Harry Clarke, the commissioning of the window and how the censorship of literature impacted on the visual content and the attitudes of the people who commissioned the windows creation.

On an Equal Footing with All, Ireland at the League of Nations 1923-1946

Tuesday 3 October, 7pm

Royal Irish Academy

Book here

Chaired by Rory Montgomery, Former Diplomat, a panel discussion with historians Dr. Michael Kennedy and Dr. John Gibney, Royal Irish Academy, on Ireland’s entry to the League of Nations, its presence in Geneva from its early beginnings to the final years leading up to the League’s dissolution in 1946.