11 July 1921: ‘The Truce’ began at 12 noon on this day. This brought to an end organised military operations between the Irish Republican Army and the British Crown Forces during the Irish War of Independence. The negotiations leading up to the cessation of hostilities had been concluded some days previously at the Mansion House [above] in Dublin between representatives of the Irish President Eamon de Valera and the British Prime Minister Lloyd George.
The terms agreed were that no British reinforcements would enter Ireland, raids and arrests would cease and secret operations end. The Irish in turn agreed to cease attacking the British, not to interfere with private or British owned property and not to disturb the peace that would necessitate military interference. Both sides agreed not to engage in provocative displays of their respective forces, armed or unarmed.
The following day an Irish Delegation consisting of Eamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Austin Stack and Robert Barton departed for London to open negotiations with the British Government. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Count Plunkett and Erskine Childers also accompanied the delegation. It looked like the violence that had wracked Ireland for the last two and a half years was coming to an end.
But while an uneasy Peace settled down upon most of the Country it was a different story in the North, particularly in the city of Belfast. It had always been a volatile place in July – owing to the parades of the Orange Order on 12th July – but this was violence intensified and militarised on a scale not seen before. There sectarian violence resulted in an orgy of murders, burnings and intimidation with the Police & Military openly taking sides against the Nationalist population.
The 11th fell on a Monday that year, and the previous day became known as Belfast's 'Bloody Sunday'. That day 16 people were killed violently, 1 RIC man, 10 Catholic and 5 Protestant civilians. By the end of the week, 23 people had been killed in Belfast, hundreds more wounded, two hundred homes destroyed and a thousand people made homeless.