The Freedom of the City of Dublin is awarded by Dublin City Council after approving a person nominated by the Lord Mayor. Eighty-two people have been honoured under the current process introduced in 1876. Most honourees have made a contribution to the life of the city or of Ireland in general, including politicians, public servants, humanitarians, artists and entertainers; others were distinguished members of the Irish diaspora and foreign leaders, honoured visiting Dublin. Honourees sign the roll of freedmen in a ceremony at City Hall or the Mansion House and are presented with an illuminated scroll by the Lord Mayor.
Ancient privileges and duties
In ancient boroughs such as Dublin, a royal charter established the privileges of the "burgesses" (or "citizens" in places like Dublin with city status). Admission as a freeman or citizen was by principally granted to members of the guilds represented on Dublin Corporation and others by "special grace", as well as by marriage or descent from existing citizens. The wealthy could buy freedom by paying a "fine", and some of the penal laws facilitated Protestant immigrants' becoming freemen.
Ancient charters were superseded for municipal governance purposes by the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840 and for all other non-ceremonial purposes by the Local Government Act 2001. Nevertheless, ancient privileges and duties of freemen are sometimes cited in relation to the modern award. Rights included:
- Exemption from octroi charged on goods brought through the city gates.
- Pasturage of sheep on city commons, which included College Green and St Stephen's Green. This right was exercised as a publicity stunt by U2 members the day after their 2000 conferring.
- The right to vote in municipal elections, and in the Irish parliamentary borough of Dublin (after the Acts of Union 1800 in the UK parliamentary borough of Dublin).
Freedmen had a duty to defend the city and could be called into the militia at short notice. In 1454, apprentices to be admitted freemen needed a bow and sword, while merchants additionally needed a coat of mail and helmet.
While the Representation of the People Act 1918 abolished the franchise rights of freemen, the Municipal Privileges Ireland Act 1876 allowed the creation of "Honorary Freemen". This was retained by Local Government Act 1991 and currently the Local Government Act 2001.
|1||Isaac Butt||4 September 1876||16 October 1876||Ireland||Politics|
|2||William Ewart Gladstone||1 November 1877||7 November 1877||England||Politics|
|3||Ulysses S. Grant||30 December 1878||3 January 1879||United States||Politics / Military||Former President and General in the Union Army|
|4||Edward Eells Potter||26 April 1880||4 May 1880||United States||Diplomacy / Military||United States Navy Commander; captained the USS Constellation carrying relief aid for the 1879 Irish famine.|
|5||Charles Stewart Parnell||3 January 1882||16 August 1882||Ireland||Politics|
|6||John Dillon||3 January 1882||16 August 1882||Ireland||Politics|
|7||Kevin Izod O'Doherty||10 August 1885||1 September 1885||Ireland / Australia||Politics||Had just returned from Australia to contest North Meath in the November general election.|
|8||Patrick A. Collins||22 July 1887||2 August 1887||United States||Politics|
|9||William O'Brien||22 July 1887||2 August 1887||Ireland||Politics|
|9a||Timothy Daniel Sullivan||10 December 1887||24 October 1893||Ireland||Politics|
|9b||Thomas Sexton||28 December 1887||Did not sign roll||Ireland||Politics|
|10||George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon||16 January 1888||2 February 1888||England||Politics||For supporting the First Home Rule Bill|
|11||John Morley||16 January 1888||2 February 1888||England||Politics||For supporting the First Home Rule Bill as Chief Secretary for Ireland|
|12||Patrick F. Moran||1 October 1888||4 October 1888||Ireland / Australia||Religion: Catholic||Cardinal, Archbishop of Sydney|
|13||Margaret Sandhurst||19 September 1889||20 September 1889||England||Activism / Politics||Suffragist who had just had her election to London County Council overturned.|
|14||James Stansfeld||19 September 1889||20 September 1889||England||Politics / Activism||Radical MP and suffragist|
|15||George Salmon||14 March 1892||30 June 1892||Ireland||Education / Religion: Church of Ireland||Provost of Trinity College Dublin during its tercentenary|
|16||Stuart Knill||23 December 1892||2 January 1893||England||Politics||Then Lord Mayor of London. of the Knill baronets.|
|17||John Redmond||18 December 1901||3 April 1902||Ireland||Politics|
|18||Patrick Aloysius McHugh||30 October 1901||3 April 1902||Ireland||Politics|
|19||Douglas Hyde||29 June 1906||7 August 1906||Ireland||Culture: Irish language||Under his pen name An Craoibhín Aoibhín|
|20||Emanuel Spencer Harty||2 September 1907||Did not sign roll||Ireland||Public service: civil engineering||Dublin City Engineer|
|20a||Hugh Lane||10 February 1908||Did not sign roll||Ireland (Dublin) / England||Culture: art : collector||Had established the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art|
|21||Richard Croker||1 July 1907||24 August 1908||United States||Politics||Tammany Hall boss|
|22||Edward O'Meagher Condon||28 September 1909||4 October 1909||Ireland||Activism||Co-accused of the Manchester Martyrs|
|23||Charles Cameron||30 September 1910||20 February 1911||Ireland (Dublin)||Public service: medicine|
|24||Kuno Meyer||18 July 1911||22 April 1912||Germany||Culture: Irish language||Expunged 15 March 1915 due to anti-German feeling in World War I; restored 19 April 1920.|
|25||Peadar Ua Laoghaire||18 July 1911||22 April 1912||Ireland||Culture: Irish language||Priest|
|25a||Daniel Mannix||5 August 1920||Did not sign roll||Australia / Ireland||Religion: Catholic||Archbishop of Melbourne|
|26||John McCormack||3 September 1923||6 September 1923||Ireland / United States||Culture: music|
|27||Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld||30 June 1928||3 July 1928||Germany||Aviation||Bremen transatlantic aircraft owner|
|28||Hermann Köhl||30 June 1928||3 July 1928||Germany||Aviation||Bremen transatlantic aircraft pilot|
|29||James Fitzmaurice||30 June 1928||3 July 1928||United States||Aviation||Bremen transatlantic aircraft navigator|
|30||Frank B. Kellogg||25 August 1928||30 August 1928||United States||Politics / Diplomacy||United States Secretary of State who had recently instigated the Kellogg–Briand Pact|
|31||Lorenzo Lauri||2 May 1932||27 June 1932||Italy||Religion: Catholic||Cardinal, papal legate during 1932 Eucharistic Congress in Dublin|
|32||John Lavery||12 August 1935||17 September 1935||Ireland / England||Culture: art : painter|
|33||John Purser Griffith||4 May 1936||8 June 1936||Ireland||Public service: civil engineering|
|34||George Bernard Shaw||4 March 1946||28 August 1946||Ireland / England||Culture: literature / drama|
|35||Richard Cushing||16 September 1949||16 September 1949||United States||Religion: Catholic||Cardinal, Archbishop of Boston|
|36||Paul A. Dever||16 September 1949||16 September 1949||United States||Politics||Governor of Massachusetts|
|37||Seán T. O'Kelly||4 May 1953||2 June 1953||Ireland||Diplomacy||Then President of Ireland|
|38||John D'Alton||4 May 1953||2 June 1953||Ireland||Religion: Catholic||Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh|
|39||Gerald O'Hara||12 July 1954||27 July 1954||United States||Religion: Catholic||Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland|
|44[fn 1]||Chester Beatty||7 November 1955||26 July 1956||United States / Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: art : collector|
|45||John Norton (bishop)||11 August 1958||28 October 1958||Australia||Religion: Catholic||Bishop of Bathurst|
|46||Grégoire-Pierre Agagianian||1 May 1961||22 June 1961||Armenia||Religion: Catholic: Armenian||Cardinal, papal legate for the Patrician Year Congress held at Croke Park.|
|47||Michael Browne||16 July 1962||23 August 1962||Ireland||Religion: Catholic||Cardinal, former Master General of the Dominican Order; received freedom of Limerick and Drogheda on the same trip to Ireland.|
|48||John F. Kennedy||27 May 1963||28 June 1963||United States||Politics / Diplomacy||During state visit to Ireland|
|49||Hilton Edwards||11 June 1973||22 June 1973||England / Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: drama||Co-founder of the Gate Theatre|
|50||Micheál Mac Liammóir||11 June 1973||22 June 1973||England / Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: drama||Co-founder of the Gate Theatre|
|51||Éamon de Valera||3 February 1975||7 March 1975||Ireland||Politics / Diplomacy||Former Taoiseach and President|
|52||John A. Costello||3 February 1975||7 March 1975||Ireland (Dublin)||Politics||Former Taoiseach, alternately with de Valera|
|53||Pope John Paul II||24 September 1979||29 September 1979||Poland / Vatican||Religion: Catholic / Diplomacy||During official visit|
|54||Noel Purcell||22 June 1984||28 June 1984||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: drama||Actor|
|55||Maureen Potter||22 June 1984||28 June 1984||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: drama||Actress|
|56||Akihito||20 February 1985||4 March 1985||Japan||Diplomacy||Then Crown Prince, during official visit|
|57||Michiko||20 February 1985||4 March 1985||Japan||Diplomacy||Then Crown Princess, during official visit|
|58||Stephen Roche||28 September 1987||29 September 1987||Ireland (Dublin)||Sport: cycling||After winning 1987 Tour de France|
|59||Nelson Mandela||18 July 1988||1 July 1990||South Africa||Activism||Awarded on 70th birthday, while in prison; enrolled by proxy by Oliver Tambo on 21 September 1988; signed in person after his release.|
|60||Patrick Hillery||4 March 1991||22 April 1991||Ireland||Diplomacy||Former President of Ireland|
|61||Mother Teresa of Calcutta||1 February 1993||2 June 1993||Albania / India||Religion: Catholic / Activism|
|62||Jack Charlton||11 April 1994||26 May 1994||England||Sport: soccer||Then manager of the Republic of Ireland national team|
|63||Bill Clinton||6 November 1995||1 December 1995||United States||Politics / Diplomacy||During official visit during the Northern Ireland peace process|
|64||Gay Byrne||12 April 1999||11 May 1999||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: broadcasting|
|65||Aung San Suu Kyi||1 November 1999||18 June 2012||Burma||Activism||Granted in 1999 while she was under house arrest, Suu Kyi signed for her award in 2012 during a visit to Ireland. The Council voted 59–2 (with one abstention) to revoke her award on 13 December 2017 over human rights abuses against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.|
|66||Paul McGuinness||1 November 1999||18 March 2000||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: music||U2 manager|
|67||The Edge||1 November 1999||18 March 2000||Ireland (Dublin) / Wales||Culture: music||U2 member|
|68||Larry Mullen Jr.||1 November 1999||18 March 2000||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: music||U2 member|
|69||Adam Clayton||1 November 1999||18 March 2000||Ireland (Dublin) / England||Culture: music||U2 member|
|70||Bono||1 November 1999||18 March 2000||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: music||U2 member|
|71||Mikhail Gorbachev||3 December 2001||9 January 2002||Russia||Politics / Diplomacy / Activism|
|72||Kevin Heffernan||1 March 2004||17 May 2004||Ireland (Dublin)||Sport: Gaelic football||Player and manager of the Dublin intercounty team|
|73||Ronnie Delany||5 September 2005||5 March 2006||Ireland (Dublin)||Sport: athletics||Won the 1956 Olympic 1500 m|
|74||Bob Geldof||5 September 2005||5 March 2006||Ireland (Dublin)||Activist / Culture: music||Live Aid organiser and Boomtown Rats lead singer|
Geldof returned his award in November 2017 in protest over Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi also holding the accolade, stating that he does not "wish to be associated in any way with an individual currently engaged in the mass ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people of north-west Burma." Suu Kyi's award was revoked by the Council about a month later, though Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha denied the decision was influenced by protests by Geldof and members of U2. At the same meeting, the Councillors voted 37–7 (with 5 abstentions) to remove Geldof's name from the Roll of Honorary Freemen.
|75||Thomas Kinsella||5 February 2007||24 May 2007||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: literature : poetry|
|76||Louis le Brocquy||5 February 2007||24 May 2007||Ireland (Dublin)||Culture: art : painter|
|77||Peter McVerry||4 November 2013||22 March 2014||Ireland (Dublin)||Activism / Religion: Catholic||Jesuit homeless campaigner|
|78||Brian O'Driscoll||4 November 2013||22 March 2014||Ireland (Dublin)||Sport: rugby union||Captain of the Ireland national team|
|79||Kevin Crowley||1 September 2014||28 February 2015||Ireland (Dublin)||Activism / Religion: Catholic||Capuchin homeless campaigner|
|80||Johnny Giles||1 September 2014||28 February 2015||Ireland (Dublin)||Sport: soccer||Former captain and manager of the Republic of Ireland national team|
|81||Barack Obama||7 February 2017||TBD||United States||Politics||Former President of the United States of America; for "moderating and progressive" influence on the world stage.|
|82||Michelle Obama||7 February 2017||TBD||United States||Politics||Former First Lady of the United States of America; for work for the education of girls around the world and on behalf of refugees.|
- The missing numbers 40 to 43 correspond to the four earlier non-numeric values, inserted for those who signed the roll late or never. Since 1955, numbering is from resolution rather than signature.
- Those associated with Dublin in particular are noted
- Clark, Mary (Spring 2000). "Freedom of the City of Dublin". Dublin Historical Record. 53 (1): 33–37. JSTOR 30101245.
- Clark (2000) p.34
- Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the municipal corporations in Ireland (1835). First report, appendix: Report on the City of Dublin, Part I. Command papers. Vol.27 No. 23. William Clowes for HMSO. pp. 17–19, §§60–63.
- "Local Government Act, 2001, Section 11 (16)". Irish Statute Book. 21 July 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
Subject to this Act, royal charters and letters patent relating to local authorities shall continue to apply for ceremonial and related purposes in accordance with local civic tradition but shall otherwise cease to have effect.
- "Why are Bono and The Edge grazing sheep in Stephen's Green in 2000? It's their right as Freemen of the City". TheJournal.ie. 7 February 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- AP (20 March 2000). "Bono asserts public sheep-grazing right". Rome News-Tribune. Rome, Georgia. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. (2007-10-09). U2 by U2. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-077674-9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)[page needed]
- Berry, Henry F. (1900). "The Records of the Dublin Gild of Merchants, known as the Gild of the Holy Trinity, 1438-1671". The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 10 (5th ser.) 30 (continuing) (1): 59.
- Gilbert, John T. (1889). "Dublin Assembly Roll, 1454". Calendar of ancient records of Dublin in the possession of the municipal corporation of that city. Vol.1. Joseph Dollard. p. 283.
- "Local Government Act, 1991, Section 48". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- "Local Government Act, 2001, Section 74". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- "Previous Recipients of Keys to the City". Dublin City Council. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Clark (2000) p.37
- "Report of the Commander of the Relief Ship Constellation". Irish Emigration Database. DIPPAM. 15 June 1880. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "The Freedom of Dublin". Chicago Tribune. 4 February 1888. p. 9. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Omond, George William Thomson. "Robinson, George Frederick Samuel, 1st Marquess of Ripon". Dictionary of National Biography. Second Supplement, Vol.2. p. 230.
- Haggard, Robert F. (2001). The Persistence of Victorian Liberalism: The Politics of Social Reform in Britain, 1870-1900. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 134–135. ISBN 9780313313059. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "Harty, Emanuel Spencer". Dictionary of Irish Architects. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Clark (2000) p.36
- "Cardinal Gregory Peter Agagianian, Oak Room, Mansion House". Digital Collections » Freedom of the City. Dublin City Council libraries. 22 June 1961. p. FOC001. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "50 Years Ago: Cardinal to be Freeman of city" (PDF). Limerick Leader. 13 August 2012. p. 19. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Cardinal Browne receives Freedom of Borough of Drogheda". Holdings. National Library of Ireland. 1962-07-31. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Lord Mayor Michael O'Halloran, Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan, Oak Room, Mansion House". zzz. zzz. 4 March 1985. p. FOC019. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- FOC032 Mandela 1990 Archived 2013-12-12 at the Wayback Machine Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive, 2013-01-16.
- Happy memories of asking the Nelson Mandela about his first vote Irish Times, 2013-12-06.
- "Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi leaves Ireland after awards". RTÉ News. 18 June 2012. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- "Councillors vote to revoke award from Aung San Suu Kyi". RTÉ News. 14 December 2017. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- "Aung San Suu Kyi has Freedom of Dublin award revoked". The Guardian. 14 December 2017. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017 – via Agence France-Presse.
- "Minutes of Special Meeting held on 5 March 2006 outside the Mansion House at 4.00 pm" (PDF). Dublin City Council. 5 March 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Bennett, Isabel (13 November 2017). "Bob Geldof renounces honour also held by Aung San Suu Kyi". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 November 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Kilraine, John [@John_Kilraine] (13 December 2017). "Dublin councillors voted 37 in favour with 7 against and 5 abstentions to also remove Bob Geldof's name from the Roll of Honorary Freemen #rtenews" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017 – via Twitter.
-  Irish Independent, 2014-23-03.
- "Dublin grants Obamas Freedom of the City". BBC News. 2017-02-07.
- Freedom of the City 88 photographs from the Dublin City Council public libraries website