Published by Authority: The Dublin Gazette

David Brown, Sarah Hendriks, Tim Murtagh, Ciarán Wallace

The Dublin Gazette is the record of official Ireland, published occasionally from the late seventeenth to early eighteenth centuries, and continuously from 1711 to 1922. No single complete run survives, but by combining the holdings of our archival partners, Beyond 2022 can reassemble this unique source for the first time. This selection highlights the different periods of the Gazette’s existence and reflects how Ireland was governed over three centuries. The earliest example was issued while James II was in Ireland, fighting for his crown. An issue from 1775 demonstrates the difficult position of Ireland within the British Empire, reporting on the American Revolution while Ireland had its own parliament and widespread sympathy with the American cause. The example from 1815 was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, when Ireland was part of the United Kingdom and Dublin celebrated the victory in Europe. In 1922, on the other hand, the British regime was under siege, and the Gazette documents a last ditch attempt by the authorities to maintain the union. On the establishment of the Irish Free State the gazette continued as the official government publication, under the new title of Iris Oifigiúil. It still appears each Tuesday and Friday, in print and now online – an example of official records persisting for more than three centuries, and despite the profound constitutional changes of 1800 and 1922.

Beyond 2022, in collaboration with the Oireachtas Library, the Library of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, the Free Library Company of Philadelphia and the National Library of Ireland, has compiled a collection of selected issues of the Gazette to illustrate the broad range of topics dealt with across the centuries of its publication. In between the daily business of government are items on trade, law and order, and moment of historical significance. Across hundreds of years and tens of thousands of issues a range of printers produced the Dublin Gazette, but the format remained remarkably consistent. Even at the end of British rule and the establishment of the Irish Free State – a moment of major constitutional upheaval – the same printer continued to produce the same sort of content in the usual two-column format, simply replacing the royal crest with the new title ‘Iris Oifigiúil’ (Official Gazette, or Magazine) in Gaelic typeface. The subtitle ‘published by authority never changed.

To see our online exhibition of the Gazette, with searchable text, click here:

Wednesday March 12 to Saturday March 29, 1690 : A sole 17th century survivor

The Dublin Gazette, 12-29 March 1690,
The Library Company of Philadelphia

This edition of The Dublin Gazette, 12-29 March 1690, is the only surviving issue from the seventeenth century. It was printed by James Malone in Dublin for James II to publicise the arrival of a French fleet at Kinsale to support James’ struggle against William of Orange.  It is fascinating both as a source of information concerning the movement of shipping around Ireland at that time, and as an early example of ‘fake news’. William’s forces abroad had been roundly defeated and the Prince expelled from his office of Stadholder. Allegedly.

Thursday August 24 to Saturday August 26, 1775 Revolution in the colonies

The Dublin Gazette, 24-26 August 1775
Library & Research Service, Houses of the Oireachtas

This edition captures the breadth of local and international issues commanding the public’s attention in August 1775. Marriages, deaths, crimes, property, debts, horse racing, and even the prohibition of importing infected meat from French Horned Cattle are interspersed with stories of international and historical significance.  Of particular note are accounts from the first months of America’s War of Independence (1775-1783): news of seized ammunitions in Charlestown, an attack in Roxbury, near Boston, and rumours of emancipating slaves in Virginia.  European trade deals are also recorded, alongside reports of French preparations for war, a presage of the Anglo-French War of 1778-1783. 

6 – 9 July 1815 Victory over Napoleon at Waterloo

The Dublin Gazette 6-9 July 1815,
Library of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns

This issue of the Gazette charts an important moment: the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat.  Less than a month before, Bonaparte had met his downfall at Waterloo. As the proclamations in this issue attest, no effort was spared in this final push. The lord lieutenant, Viscount Wentworth, had authorized the calling out of the militia in Ireland for home defence, while a separate proclamation announced an amnesty for army deserters, promising them a pardon if they return to their regiment by the 20th of July. The Gazette also lists the names of British officers killed and wounded at Waterloo, a list that runs to six full pages.

25 November 1919  Suppressing Dáil Éireann

Supplement to The Dublin Gazette No. 21,744, 25 November 1919,
Library & Research Service, Houses of the Oireachtas

Issued by the Field Marshal Sir John French, Lord Lieutenant since the 1916 Rising, this Gazette formally announces the suppression of Dáil Éireann as ‘a dangerous association’ formed to promote the aims of republican groups banned some months earlier. The Gazette lists each individual district where the Dáil and other organisations were banned. Although born in Kent, French considered himself to be Irish, through his paternal grandfather who came from Roscommon. As a senior military officer in the Great War Sir John favoured an ‘iron fist’ policy against political agitators. He believed that the Irish people were mainly docile and peace-loving but were misled by republican radicals.

27 January 1922 ‘Last copy published’

National Library of Ireland: Erskine Childers Papers MS48,084/2

Issue No. 21,977 of the Dublin Gazette was the last published under British rule. A Truce in place since July 1921 had brought peace, and the Gazette returned to announcements about the royal court in London and the law courts in Ireland. Among the landlords in Carlow, Tipperary, Cavan, Cork, Offaly (King’s), Leitrim selling their estates to The Irish Land Commission the name Thomas Brabazon Ponsonby appears as a trustee; a Brabazon ancestor had received land in Ireland from Henry II in the 1170s back at the very start of the English conquest.

31 January 1922 Published by new authority

National Library of Ireland: Erskine Childers Papers MS48,068/12

Issue 1 of Iris Oifigiúil, the continuation of the Dublin Gazette now published under Irish authority. Beneath the title a paragraph lists postage rates ‘within Ireland and Great Britain’ instead of the ‘United Kingdom’ prices previously shown. Despite the war, truce, treaty and constitutional transformation the courts continue ruling on land ownership, as they have done for centuries. Interestingly, a case from Tyrone in Northern Ireland is notified in this first Free State edition. Ignoring all national boundaries, cases of swine fever, parasitic mange and other animal diseases emerge in both new Irish states – unglamorous administration replaces romantic revolution.

 Printer’s notice, The Dublin Gazette, 12-29 March 1690,
The Library Company of Philadelphia