#OTD in 1949 – At midnight 26 counties officially leave the British Commonwealth. A 21-gun salute on O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushers in the Republic of Ireland.

The first ceremonies to mark the promulgation of the Republic of Ireland took place in Dublin at midnight, when a salute of 21 guns and a feu de joie were fired from O’Connell Bridge. The main civil, military, and religious ceremonies were at noon at the Pro-Cathedral and at the General Post Office in Dublin.

At 11 45 p.m. it seemed impossible that the guns, riflemen, and band would ever get into position, for the crowd had overflowed rather than forced its way past the police cordon and had occupied all the open space which should have held the ceremonial troops.

In spite of this there was a delay of only two minutes in the start of the ceremony. The guns flashed and boomed, firing across O’Connell Bridge in the direction of Liberty Hall, which in 1916 was shelled by British guns, which were not loaded with blank rounds. After the salute riflemen performed their feu de joie, the band played the national anthem, and the crowd began to disperse, waving flags, cheering, and singing.

At Dun Laoghaire the ceremony was rather more naval than military. A flag was raised at the end of one of the piers and was illuminated by searchlights from craft in the harbour. A naval guard of honour presented arms and the National Anthem was played.

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