“Splendid News!”, says the King.

As the Irish Times reports

The original Anglo Irish Treaty document of 1921 has been made available to the public for the first time today in an online exhibition marking 90 years to the day since its signing.

The Treaty was signed in the aftermath of the truce which ended the 1919-1921 War of Independence.

The original document was acquired by the National Archives of Ireland from the Department of the Taoiseach in 2002 and has never before been made available for public consultation, either in its original form or online.

The online Anglo Irish Treaty exhibition is here, and includes a British Pathé newsreel on the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921, and reflections on the Treaty from a variety of contributors.

Here’s the exhibition’s introduction to the Treaty

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, signed by the British and Irish delegations in London in such dramatic circumstances, established the Irish Free State as a self-governing dominion with independence in virtually all matters of practical government, together with complete control of its resources. Acquired by the National Archives from the Department of the Taoiseach in 2002, the Treaty has never before been made available for public consultation, either in its original form or online.

Until now.

A high-quality digital reproduction of this seminal document in Irish history is now available in our Document gallery and for an analysis of its physical format and diplomatic characteristics, please consult our ‘Treating the Treaty’ video

Its British counterpart differs in its typesetting and in the reversal of signatures on the signatories page as can be seen in the Document gallery while a high-quality .pdf version of the Treaty is available to download in the Downloads section.

We hope you enjoy consulting this document which has played such a pivotal role in the foundation of our State.

And at the Irish Times’ Politics Blog, Deaglán de Bréadún adds his thoughts.

The standard view now is that the signing of the Treaty was the right thing to do. With the benefit of hindsight, one finds it hard to quarrel with that view. British/English forces were leaving most of the island’s territory and, as Dev himself ironically proved, the means were there to obtain further degrees of independence later. In a strange way, Dav validated the Treaty he had opposed.

However, there were a lot of intelligent and sincere people who could not live with the compromise. They should not be dismissed out of hand as fools and extremists. There were arguments on both sides and everyone – apart from a few  fanatics  – wanted the best for Ireland.