Haughey and a UCD group burned UK flag
There was a special Mass for the repose of the soul of Benito Mussolini and a failed effort to do the same for one Adolf Hitler.
For most of Europe it was an occasion of unbridled joy and celebration. But VE Day on May 8, 1945, in Ireland was less straightforward, marked by clashes and flag burnings and public expressions of anti-British and anti-US sentiment.
Ireland had an 'emergency' - not a war - and in fact that emergency officially continued another 15 months to August 1946. Recurring British and American hostility to Ireland's decision to remain neutral was heightened days earlier when Taoiseach Éamon de Valera called at the German embassy in Dublin to express the nation's sympathy at the death of the Fuhrer.
Strict media censorship, which was only relaxed somewhat days later on May 11, 1945, meant many Irish people did not know the level of opprobrium heaped upon de Valera for that piece of wrong-headed "neutrality gone mad".
Ireland was one of just five European states, along with Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland, which managed to stay neutral through World War II. But other smaller states, comparable to Ireland, like Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, had their neutrality truncated by Nazi invasion.
De Valera's Ireland was lamentably ill-prepared to sustain the political rhetoric its government purveyed about self-reliance, with a small army, a non-existent navy and a fledgling air corps. But it got through because Germany did not think it worthwhile to invade; the UK realised it could not defend a second island; and the USA could not face the moral opprobrium which would come from such an invasion.
As the war progressed, Ireland quietly became "neutral for the Allies". The "Donegal corridor" allowed allied planes fly from Fermanagh to the Atlantic, and crash-landing or shipwrecked allied airmen and sailors were sent north of the Border, often deemed to have been on "logistical" rather than "operational" missions. By December, 1944, there were 232 German and three Japanese airmen and sailors detained in the Curragh Camp - no one from the allies.
Economic dependence upon the UK meant there was still close personal contact between the two countries.
By 1944 it is estimated that at least 100,000 Irish people were working in Britain, taking the place of Englishmen gone to war.
British figures indicate that by 1944 there were 37,000 men and 4,500 women from southern Ireland serving in the wartime British forces. Historian Diarmaid Ferriter reasonably estimates the real figure was nearer 100,000, factoring in those who joined via Northern Ireland, and earlier emigration to Britain. Records show they won a total of 780 decorations, including seven Victoria Crosses.
Charlie Haughey, linked to the burning of a union flag in Dublin on VE Day 1945, noted that during his Dublin boyhood many neighbours and schoolmates joined the British forces. But it took right up to the 1990s for official Ireland to ever acknowledge this reality.
Friendly neutrality or not, there were frequent flashpoints. The US ambassador in Dublin, David Grey, caused a furore with a demand that the Japanese and German diplomatic legations in Dublin be shut down as they were havens for spies. This despite close intelligence co-operation between Ireland and the UK.
In his war victory address, UK prime minister Winston Churchill unleashed a scathing tirade against De Valera and Ireland for its neutrality. De Valera replied with a very well-measured riposte on Irish radio which clawed back some ground for the Hitler sympathy call and was really well received in Ireland.
But amid all this, what about those requiem Masses for the Italian fascist tyrant Mussolini, and the murdering sociopath Hitler? Here Joseph F Carroll, author of the first book about Irish world war neutrality, completes the tale.
Mr Carroll writes that German and Italian sympathisers wanted to have Masses said for both fascist leaders. Irish diplomats were appalled.
"A Franciscan priest managed to celebrate Mass for Mussolini. But military intelligence found out in time about the Mass 'for the repose of the soul of Adolf Hitler and the welfare of the German nation' and Archbishop McQuaid had it stopped," the historian wrote.
The standout public event of VE Day in Dublin came when students at Trinity College climbed on the university roof singing 'God Save the King', 'La Marseillaise' and 'Rule Britannia'. A Justice Department report said the students responded to protests from a hostile crowd on the street that the Irish Tricolour was wrongly set beneath the flags of the UK and France.
The students took down the Irish flag and burned it. A rival group of students from University College Dublin, including a 19-year-old Charlie Haughey, took a UK union flag off a lamppost and burned that. A mini riot ensued, and gardaí baton-charged the street crowd to defend Trinity, which was still considered a "citadel of unionism".