Tuesday 25 July 2017

The Church of Ireland and the Irish Convention, 1917

On this day, 100 years ago, the Irish Convention opened in Trinity College Dublin. Taking place just over a year since the Easter Rising, the Convention was an attempt by the British Government to keep nationalist and unionist Ireland together as a single political entity; the objective was to bring Irishmen together to resolve the problem of Home Rule and to draft a political settlement satisfactory to a broad spectrum of interests.

The Church of Ireland Gazette's
“The Week” column, 27th July 1917.
It was a vain hope and ended in failure, and it was the last time that all of Ireland participated in political negotiations to find a solution to the Irish question before Partitition in 1921.

The Government invited the two Church of Ireland archbishops of Armagh and Dublin to attend and engage in the discussions. Additionally the Roman Catholic hierarchy was represented by the Archbishop of Cashel and the bishops of Down, Raphoe and Ross, and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland by its Moderator.

Previously hidden aspects of the Church of Ireland’s input and influence on the Irish Convention have been brought to light in a new online exhibition (link below) from the RCB Library – the Church’s record repository and reference library.

The exhibition draws on the rich resources of the weekly Church of Ireland Gazette for insight to what could be considered as the moderate and middle-ground opinion of the period. Editions of the Gazette published between 1890 and 1923 are freely searchable online.

View the new online exhibition, “Good Wishes for the Great Adventure”: The Church of Ireland & the Irish Convention, 1917.