The Story of The Half Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
A friend sent us an interesting photo of a half of a Proclamation that he had in his collection in New Jersey. We had never seen one before and thought it was the remnants of the full proclamation. But it has a much more interesting history.
The Proclamation of the Irish Republic was famously read by Patrick Pearse outside the GPO in Dublin in 1916 to signify the start of the Easter Rising.
The Proclamation was then printed and postered across Dublin. The posters were printed in two parts as there was a limited typeface. Printing and distributing the Proclamation would have been illegal.
But who printed only half the proclamation???
This from John O'Connor, a noted expert on the 1916 Proclamation, described the half proclamation in his book:
'When the British Army entered the shelled Liberty Hall on Wednesday, 26 April, they discovered the old Wharfdale machine in the printing room, with the lower half of the Proclamation still intact in the machine.
The printer's original intention had been to break up the type (to avoid detection) but owing to the lateness of the hour on Easter Monday morning when the printing was finished this was not done.
The soldiers were puzzled about the whereabouts of the rest of the type and searched unavailingly for it, not knowing of course that the Proclamation had been printed in two halves.
They then proceeded to run off copies of this lower half as souvenirs and distributed some to friends and sightseers. Copies of the half-print are very rare but one such copy is in the Kilmainham Gaol Museum."
There are fewer known copies of the half proclamation than the full which makes it more rare but not more valuable.
Thank you to our friend who shared this story and a photo of his copy of the “Half Proclamation”.