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This article is about the historical Irish Republic (1919–22). For the Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916, see Easter Rising. and British state forces maintained presence across much of the north-east, as well as Cork, Dublin and other major towns.
Its origins date back to the Easter Rising of 1916, when Irish republicans seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic.
On 21 January 1919, 27 of them gathered in the Mansion House in Dublin to establish Dáil Éireann.
Thirty-five other members were recorded as being fé ghlas ag Gallaibh (imprisoned by the foreign enemy) and another four as ar díbirt ag Gallaibh (deported by the foreign enemy).
In The Aftermath, Winston Churchill gives an account of the first meeting of Éamon de Valera with David Lloyd George on 14 July 1921, at which he was present.
Lloyd George was a native speaker of Welsh and a noted Welsh linguist and as such was interested in the literal meaning of 'Saorstát'. Lloyd George asked '..is your Irish word for Republic?
Saorstát was a compound word, based on the Irish words saor ("free") and stát ("state"). The term Poblacht na hÉireann is the one used in the Proclamation of 1916, but the Declaration of Independence and other documents adopted in 1919 used Saorstát Éireann.
Saorstát Éireann was adopted as the official Irish title of the Irish Free State when it was established at the end of the Irish War of Independence, although this Free State was not a republic but a form of constitutional monarchy within the British Empire.
Arthur Griffith's Sinn Féin organisation, which had favoured the establishment of a form of dual monarchy between Ireland and Britain, had not taken part in the Rising.
Because of the Easter Proclamation of 1916, the Dáil retrospectively established the Irish Republic from Easter 1916.
On the same day as the Declaration of Independence was issued, two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) escorting a cartload of gelignite were killed in the Tipperary Soloheadbeg Ambush, carried out by members of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, led by Dan Breen and Seán Treacy.
Two different Irish language titles were used: Poblacht na hÉireann and Saorstát Éireann, based on two alternative Irish translations of the word republic.
The word "poblacht" was a new word, coined by the writers of the Easter Proclamation in 1916.
In 1917, Griffith's Sinn Féin and republicans under Éamon de Valera, came together to form the new Sinn Féin Party.