1921 – 1940


History of Ireland 1921 - 1940


  • May 25: Dublin Customs House burned down
  • July 9: Truce between IRA and British Army
  • Dec. 6: Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed; Ireland receives dominion status; partition will create Northern Ireland.
  • Dec. 8: Eamon de Valera publicly repudiates the Treaty.
  • The Boundary Commission is set up the redraw the border between Northern and Southern Ireland.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Limerick (hurling) and Dublin (football)


  • Jan. 7: Dáil Éireann ratifies the Treaty.
  • Jan. 9: Arthur Griffith is elected President of the Dáil but dies later in the year.
    • Michael Collins becomes Chairman of the Provisional Government.
  • April: The Irish Civil War begins.
    • June 16: The pro-Treaty candidates are victorious in the general election.
    • Aug: Free State Army captures Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Waterford.
    • Aug 22: Michael Collins is assassinated.
    • Sept: W. T. Cosgrave is elected head of the Provisional Government.
    • Oct. 15: Leinster House Act made acts of war against Free State illegal
    • Dec 6: The Irish Free State is established.
  • The RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) is formed.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Kilkenny (hurling) and Dublin (football)



  • The Army Mutiny
    • Two government ministers resign after officers object to a reduction of the army.
    • Eoin O'Duffy is appointed Commander-in-Chief.
  • The Free State Aer Corps is founded.
  • Eamon de Valera is released from prison.
  • The Intermediate Education Board for Ireland examinations are replaced by:
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Dublin (hurling) and Kerry (football)


  • The Boundary Commission is scrapped, leaving the Northern Ireland border unchanged.
  • The Garda Síochána become the states only police force as the DMP are absorbed.
  • Northern Ireland General Election
    • Unionists gain almost total control of the parliament
  • Dublin-born George Bernard Shaw is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • The IRA launches the weekly newspaper, An Phoblacht.
  • Legislation allowing divorce is banned in the Irish Free State.
  • Work begins on the Shannon Scheme, or Ardnacrusha, the hydro-electric station.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Tipperary (hurling) and Galway (football)




  • New Irish coinage is issued featuring a harp on one side and animals on the other, the Saorstát Pound ('Free State Pound').
  • Irish becomes a compulsory subject for the Intermediate Certificate.
  • Captain James Fitzmaurice completes the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight from east to west.
  • The first Irish team attends the Olympic Games
    • Dr. Pat O'Callaghan is the first person to win a gold medal for Ireland .
  • John McCormack is appointed a Papal count for his services to music.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Cork (hurling) and Kildare (football)


  • Proportional Representation is abolished in Northern Ireland.
  • The first Irish banknotes are issued.
  • Ardnacrusha Power Station opens on the Shannon Scheme.
  • Ireland 's economy suffers due to the Wall Street Crash.
  • Primary Certificate - introduced, but optional, at end of primary education
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Cork (hurling) and Kerry (football)



  • The Irish delegation, led by Patrick McGilligan, attend the Imperial Conference.
  • The first Irish Sweepstakes draw is held.
  • The Vocational Education Committee ( VEC) system is established.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Tipperary (hurling) and Kerry (football)



  • The Statute of Westminster is passed in Britain; Dominions now have the right to repeal Acts which were passed in Britain.
  • Saor Éire, a republican socialist group, is formed.
  • Eamon de Valera founds The Irish Press newspaper.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Cork (hurling) and Kerry (football)




  • Eoin O'Duffy resigns from Fine Gael.
  • Britain and the Free State signs a Coal-Cattle Pact.
  • Irish becomes a compulsory subject for the Leaving Cert.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Limerick (hurling) and Galway (football)



  • The Irish Free State census shows the population to be 2,969,000.
  • The Irish national airline, Aer Lingus, is founded.
  • Sean MacBride becomes the chief of staff of the IRA.
  • The government declare the IRA an illegal organisation.
  • The Senate of the Irish Free State is abolished.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Limerick (hurling) and Mayo (football)


The Northern Ireland census shows the population to be 1,280,000.

  • Bunreacht na hÉireann is introduced.
    • The head of state is now the President of Ireland.
    • The head of government is the Taoiseach.
    • The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland.
  • The referendum on the constitution is held on the same day as the election.
  • 1937 General Election
    • Fianna Fáil is returned to power and the referendum is carried.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Tipperary (hurling) and Kerry (football)


  • Dr. Douglas Hyde is appointed the first President of Ireland.
  • The government falls unexpectedly this year.
  • 1938 General Election
    • Fianna Fáil and de Valera return with a greater majority.
  • The 'Economic War' with Britain ends.
  • The Traety ports are handed back to the Free State.
  • Clann na Talmhan is founded.
  • The All-Ireland Champions are Dublin (hurling) and Galway (football)