The choice of location was significant. A venue in central Dublin with sufficient capacity to host the expected crowds was needed, but it also needed to have as few associations as possible with the ancien régime in the country. The old Parliament of Ireland building on College Green, once the site of Grattan’s Parliament but now the property of the Bank of Ireland, was therefore out of the question. So were the buildings in Trinity College Dublin in which the Irish Convention had conducted a number of its sittings in 1917-8. In the end, the Round Room of the Mansion House was deemed fit for purpose.
Publicity for the gathering on 21 January 1919 was essential to its success. There was no attempt at camouflage or subterfuge in order to divert the attention of the authorities in Dublin Castle. On the contrary, every effort was made to attract attention to the proceedings. The needs of journalists, especially those working for foreign newspapers, were given top priority. The dozens of pressmen present were allocated prominent seats for the duration of the sitting and were treated to a free dinner later that evening courtesy of the new assembly.
What is slightly surprising in this context is that the organisers seem to have neglected to make arrangements to have newsreel cameras present to record the proceedings for subsequent showing in cinemas. Thus they missed out on an opportunity to achieve a degree of public awareness of the day’s events that transcended that on offer from even the most popular newspaper. Given that this new medium was used to great effect on the occasions of the landmark funerals of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915 and Thomas Ashe in 1917, it is a little surprising that something similar was not done on this occasion.