Press Photographs from the Papers of Frank Aiken (1898–1983)

Abstract This selection of press images provides a sample of the photographic archive of Frank Aiken throughout his lengthy political career. These important images chronicle the life of a key figure in twentieth century Irish political history.

In collection

41 items
Type of resource
still image
Location of original
Original items located in UCD Archives.
UCD Archives
Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive
Repository reference
Biographical History
Frank Aiken was born in Armagh in 1898. He was politically and militarily active from a young age, joining the Irish Volunteers at sixteen, and within a few years becoming Chairman of the Armagh Comhairle Ceanntair of Sinn Féin and elected onto Armagh County Council. During the War of Independence, he commanded the Fourth Northern Division of the IRA. The split over the Anglo-Irish Treaty left Aiken ultimately aligned with the Anti-Treaty side in spite of personal efforts to prevent division and civil war. He succeeded Liam Lynch as Chief of Staff of the IRA in March 1923 and issued the cease fire and dump arms orders on 24 May 1923 that effectively ended the Civil War.
He was first elected to the Dáil as a Sinn Féin candidate in the Louth constituency in 1923, continuing to be re-elected for Fianna Fáil at every election until his retirement from politics fifty years later. He entered the first Fianna Fáil government as Minister for Defence (1932–9), later becoming Minister for the Coordination of Defensive Measures (1939–45) with responsibility for overseeing Ireland’s national defence and neutral position during the Second World War.
Aiken was Minister for Finance (1945–8) for three years following the war and was involved in economic post–war development, in the industrial, agricultural, educational and other spheres. However, it was as Minister for External Affairs (1951–4, 1957–69) that Aiken fulfilled his enormous political potential. As Foreign Minister he adopted where possible an independent stance for Ireland at the United Nations and other international for a such as the Council of Europe. Despite a great deal of opposition, both at home and abroad, he stubbornly asserted the right of UN members to discuss the representation of communist China at the General Assembly. Unable to bring the issue of the partition of Ireland to the UN, Aiken ensured that Ireland vigorously defended the rights of small nations such as Tibet and Hungary (invaded by China and Russia respectively, in the 1950s), nations whose problems it was felt Ireland could identify with and had a moral obligation to help.
Aiken also supported the right of countries such as Algeria to self-determination and spoke out against apartheid in South Africa. Under Ireland’s policy of promoting the primacy of international law and reducing global tension at the height of the Cold War, Aiken promoted the idea of areas of law, which he believed would free the most tense regions around the world from the threat of nuclear war. Likewise, Aiken sponsored a resolution to prevent the ‘wider dissemination of nuclear weapons’ and proposed peace initiatives for the crisis in the Middle East.
In 1969, Aiken, who was then seventy, stepped down from his positions as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tánaiste [deputy prime minister], at a time when the gradual move towards membership of the European Union and growing tensions in Northern Ireland would soon shift the focus of Foreign Affairs policy from the UN to matters closer to home. Positions and policies nurtured and guarded from the 1950s—neutrality, independence, Ireland as a 'middle power'—would come to change or have different meanings as new alignments were formed in the 1970s. Aiken would watch these changes from the sidelines and at the age of seventy-five, in the midst of the arms crisis of 1973, he decided finally to retire from political life, opting not to stand for re-election in his County Louth constituency. During an incomparable ministerial career he had also held briefly the portfolios of Lands and Fisheries (June–November 1936) and Agriculture (March–May 1957).
Frank Aiken married Maud Davin in October 1934. They had three children, Proinnsias, Lochlann and Aedamar. In 1983 he died peacefully, at the age of eighty-five, his wife having predeceased him by five years.
Custodial History
The Frank Aiken Papers were deposited in University College Dublin Archives Department on 9 July 1991 by Frank and Eileen Aiken.
Scope and Content
This subset of press photographs relates to Aiken's political and personal life. It contains images of official government events and ministerial trips, as well as family members and friends.
Processing Information
The original processing of this material was carried out by Teresa O’Donnell and Niamh Brennan in June 1999.
Edited by the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA), 2009.
Aiken, Frank, 1898-1983
Aiken, Maud
De Valera, Eamonn, 1882-1975

Record source
Finding aid encoded in EAD by the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) - AMD 15 October 2009.

Finding aid author
Teresa O’Donnell and Niamh Brennan
1. [Photograph of Maud Aiken with a friend and her daughter at the Royal Dublin Horse Show.] [View...]
2. [Photographs of Maud Aiken wearing a white evening dress and a black shawl.] [View...]
3. [Group photographs of Frank Aiken, Sinead and Eamon de Valera, [Bob Briscoe], and members of the Executive Committee of the Royal Irish Academy of Music at Maud Aiken’s fellowship award ceremony.] [View...]
4. [Photographs of Sinead de Valera and Maud Aiken, following Maud Aiken's award ceremony as fellow of the Royal Irish Academy of Music.] [View...]
5. [Photographs of Eamon de Valera and Maud Aiken, following Maud Aiken's award ceremony as fellow of the Royal Irish Academy of Music.] [View...]
6. [Photograph of Maud Aiken holding a bouquet of flowers and her certificate following her award ceremony as fellow of the Royal Irish Academy of Music.] [View...]
7. [Photograph of Maud Aiken and Members of the Irish Army observing an outdoor show.] [View...]
8. [Photograph if Maud Davin and Frank Aiken following the announcement of their engagement.] [View...]
9. [Photograph of Frank Aiken, Maud Davin and Mina Davin walking along a railway platform.] [View...]
10. [Photograph of Frank Aiken, Mina Davin, Maud Davin and George Frazer disembarking from a ferry.] [View...]
11. [Photograph of Maud and Frank Aiken walking through the grounds of the Royal Dublin Horse Show.] [View...]
12. [Photographs of Maud and Frank Aiken kneeling at their pews reading the wedding ceremonials.] [View...]
13. [Photographs of Frank and Maud Aiken cutting their wedding cake.] [View...]
14. [Contact sheets of photographs taken at Frank Aiken's funeral ceremony.] [View...]
15. [Group photograph of Colonel Michael Brennan, Frank Aiken, Eamon de Valera and Charles Lindbergh standing infront of Lindbergh’s plane.] [View...]
16. [Photograph of Maud Aiken having her goggles secured by Frank Aiken with Irish Army officials watching, before flying with Charles Lindbergh.] [View...]
17. [Photograph of Maud Aiken being aided into an aircraft by Frank Aiken and directed from the plane by Charles Lindbergh.] [View...]
18. [Photographs of Frank Aiken standing on a podium in the grounds of the Central Bank saluting troops passing by in procession before crowds of onlookers at College Green.] [View...]
19. [Photographs of crowd scenes in College Green, being controlled by police as Sean Lemass and Frank Aiken pass through the streets.] [View...]
20. [Photograph of Frank Aiken amongst a group of young people being presented with sporting trophies and medals.] [View...]
21. [Photograph Eamon de Valera, seated, holding a magazine.] [View...]
22. [Photograph of Maud Aiken and Eamon de Valera at Dublin airport, watching Frank Aiken’s flight to the United States.] [View...]
23. [Photograph of Frank Aiken and Eamon de Valera at Dublin Airport for Aiken's trip to the United States.] [View...]
24. [Photograph of members of the Cabinet, including Eamon de Valera, Frank Aiken, Seán T. O’Kelly and Seán Lemass.] [View...]
25. [Photograph of Frank Aiken making a speech.] [View...]
26. [Photograph of members of the Cabinet, including Eamon de Valera, Seán Lemass, Oscar Traynor, and Frank Aiken.] [View...]
27. [Photograph of delegates at the opening session of the Picao North Atlantic Route Service Conference, held in St. Patrick’s Hall, Dublin Castle.] [View...]
28. [Photograph of Frank Aiken and Eamon de Valera leading a procession of men into a cathedral [for a funeral procession].] [View...]
29. [Photographs of Frank Aiken, wishing his wife, Maud, and his children, Aedamar, Frank and Lochlann, goodbye, from Shannon Airport, before his trip around the world with Eamon de Valera.] [View...]
30. [Photographs of Eamon de Valera and Frank Aiken, mounting the steps to their aeroplane from [London Airport.] [View...]
31. [Photograph of Frank Aiken, wearing a scarf, overcoat and hat.] [View...]
32. [Photographs of Frank Aiken at his desk in [Leinster House].] [View...]
33. [Photograph of Frank Aiken preparing to board a plane.] [View...]
34. [Photographs of Frank Aiken, including passport-sized reproductions for publication.] [View...]
35. [Photograph of Frank Aiken sitting at his desk as Minister for External Affairs.] [View...]
36. [Photograph of Frank Aiken in conversation with George Otto Simms.] [View...]
37. [Photograph of [the Queen of the Belgians] accompanied by her husband, and Maud and Frank Aiken.] [View...]
38. [Photograph of Eamon de Valera being presented with a certificate.] [View...]
39. [Photograph of Frank Aiken in conversation outside the National Museum of Ireland in the grounds of Leinster House.] [View...]
40. [Photograph of Princess Grace of Monaco, in conversation with Frank and Maud Aiken.] [View...]
41. [Photograph of Seán T. O’Ceallaigh, with Fianna Fáil cabinet members, following presentation of seals of office to members of the government.] [View...]

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