A “humorous” menu prepared for an Irish delegation dinner during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations in London in 1921 has been sold in Dublin for a four-figure sum.
The handwritten document listed dishes such as “Economic Cutlets (Reparation Gravy)” and “‘Minced Ulster (North East Sauce)” and was signed by members of the delegation including the chairman Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins.
The treaty with Britain, which was signed on December 6th, 1921, brought an end to the War of Independence and led to the creation of the Irish Free State the following year.
The Irish plenipotentiaries were in London from October 1921, and the menu was prepared for a dinner on the evening of November 10th, 1921, halfway through the talks. Despite intense pressure on the delegation, and the gravity of the issues under discussion, the menu reflects a lighter side to the State’s founding fathers.
Two soups were offered: “Peace Thick” and “Publicity Clear”.
The main course was a joint, described as “Roast Beef of Old England” served with an “Aide Memoire of Potatoes (Delegates Solution)” and “Formula of Beans (UK Solution)”.
The delegation’s secretaries: “Gerty, Ellie, Alice, Kathleen and Lily” are referred to, jokingly, as a sweet, “Compote de fruits”.
The menu is signed on the back by several members of the Irish delegation including Art O Griobhtha (Arthur Griffith); Caoimhghin O hUiginn (Kevin O’Higgins) and by Micheal O Coileain (Michael Collins) - and his “minders”, Liam Tobin, Joe Dolan and Joe Guilfoyle.
It was sold by a descendent of Kathleen Napoli McKenna who was a typist with the delegation. She left the Irish Civil Service in 1931, married an Italian military officer named General Napoli and went to live in Rome.
The menu is one of hundreds of historical items included in an Eastertime “independence” sale hosted by auctioneers Adam’s and Mealy’s.
Some 29 letters written by Michael Collins to his sister Johanna (“Hannie”), auctioned individually, were also sold for over a hundred thousands euro.
The sword and and hat of Irish revolutionary Roger Casement went on display at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin, yesterday, having been held by the London Metropolitan Police for 95 years.
The items were seized by the police in 1916, after Casement was arrested on Banna Strand, County Kerry, for landing weapons for the Easter Rising. He was hanged for high treason later that year.
Casement wore the ceremonial blunted sword and dress hat when he was knighted in 1911 by King George V for his services to Amazonian Indians.
As a British diplomat, Casement had visited Peru in 1910 and exposed the mistreatment of local rubber plantation workers by a British- registered company.
“1911 is a turning point for him. He was disillusioned at that stage with his job as a diplomat but he hadn’t yet become a fervent nationalist,” said Lar Joye, curator of military history at the museum.
The artefacts do not expose much new historical information but “the idea that Casement wore this hat and sword will hold the public attention the way history on a wall will not”, said Michael Kenny, the museum’s keeper of the art and industry division. “We already have the story of his trial but personal memorabilia gives it a sense of immediacy.”