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June Document of the Month

Ireland and D-Day

It was no secret in the months leading up to the Normandy Landings on D-Day, 6 June 1944, that the Allies were poised to mount operations to liberate occupied Europe from Nazi control. The question was when and where the Allied expeditionary force would land.

The Allies feared the leaking of plans for ‘Operation Overlord’ via neutral Ireland. Co-operation between Irish, British and United States military intelligence and diplomats ensured that Ireland was in effect ‘locked down’ with Irish agreement, so far as transport and communications were concerned in the weeks leading up to 6 June 1944.

Yet neutral Ireland was also to have an intrinsic role in D-Day. It was on receipt of a coded weather forecast from Blacksod weather station on the Mullet Peninsula in county Mayo that the Supreme Commander of Operation Overlord, US General Dwight D Eisenhower, gave the go-ahead for the liberation of Europe to commence.

Classified for many years, it finally became public in the 1980s that this report, which forecast a brief period of good weather during which landings could take place, was sent as part of neutral Ireland’s covert wartime co-operation with the Allies. German meteorologists later admitted they had not forecast this brief clear spell.

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Memorandum from the Secretary General of the Department of External Affairs to Taoiseach and Minister for External Affairs Éamon de Valera regarding censored wartime communications, 15 April 1944

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Telegram from Irish diplomat in Vichy to the Secretary General of the Department of External Affairs regarding local conditions in the aftermath of D-Day, 8 June 1944

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Telegram from the Irish Chargé d’Affaires in Berlin to the Department of External Affairs regarding the progress of the war for Germany in the aftermath of D-Day, 8 July 1944

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Ireland and D-Day

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