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Sunday, 31 March 2013

31 March 1966:

The Insurgent Flag that flew over the General Post Office in Dublin in 1916 was handed back by the British Government of Harold Wilson on this day. It was made by Mary Shannon at the headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army in Liberty Hall and brought from there to the GPO where it was proudly hoisted above.

When the building fell to the British it was taken by British Officers who displayed it upside down at the foot of the Parnell Monument in Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin. This was the traditional way to display flags taken from enemy forces. Eventually it passed into the hands of the British museum authorities. On the 50th Aniversary of the Rising in a gesture of conciliation the British Government decided to return the first flag of the Irish Republic to the Irish Government of the day under An Taoiseach Sean Lemass - himself a veteran of the Rising.

It is now on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. [above]