On this day in 1919, the first Dail Eireann (shown above), a unicameral revolutionary parliament, convened to formally establish the Irish Republic, proclaimed during the Easter Rising of 1916. The Dail's meeting coincided with the outbreak of the Irish War of Independence. The intent of both events was to formally secede from the rule of Great Britain, forming an independent nation consisting of all 32 counties in Ireland. However, the Anglo-Irish Treaty which ended British rule in most of Ireland and recognized the Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland), allowed six northern counties to remain under British rule -- those counties are now known as Northern Ireland.
Ireland's Declaration of Independence is as fervent, clear and stirring as those of Scotland and the United States. An English translation from the original Irish language document may be found here.
The history of Ireland spans many centuries, forming a complex interwoven tale of Viking, Norman and British invasion and Gaelic resistence. The overlays of internecine local and regional kingship rivalries, Catholic vs. Protestant conflict, and the persistence of Celtic language and traditions, create a rich poetic tapestry, riven with all the passion, sorrow and pride that embodies human life.