#OTD in 1921 – Just three days after a truce is implemented, Éamon de Valera, President of Dáil Éireann, meets with Lloyd George in London.

Francis Stevenson, Private Secretary to Lloyd George recalled: “I have never seen David so excited as he was before de Valera arrived, at 4.30. He kept walking in and out of my room… As I told him afterwards, he was bringing up all his guns! He had a big map of the British Empire hung up on the wall in the Cabinet room, with its great blotches of red all over it. This was to impress de Valera with the greatness of the British Empire and to get him to recognise it, and the King.” Dev apparently was not impressed. Six days later, Britain made its first formal proposal. The main negotiations would take place in December culminating with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December.

Photo: When Éamon de Valera, Richard Barton and Mr. Art O’Brien arrived at Downing Street, “cheers were raised, Sinn Féin flags were displayed, and the crowd sang Irish airs”. As the meeting went on, a “large crowd of Irish sympathisers knelt in the rain at Whitehall, at the end of Downing Street, recited the rosary, and sang several hymns. Before the prayers started they sang “Ireland a Nation”. The reporter stated that the singing of Irish songs and the praying never ceased.

Three women at the front have rosary beads, there is a small picture of the Sacred heart stitched on to the tricolour.

Photo credit: National Library of Ireland collection, dated Thursday, 14 July 1921 (at approximately 17:30), outside Downing Street as de Valera met Lloyd George, at the first of four meetings held between the two in July 1921.

(The Irish Times, 15 July 1921, p5)

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