1860 – Birth in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, of Douglas Hyde, playwright, folklorist, founder of The Gaelic League and the first president of Éire.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

“As our language wanes and dies, the golden legends of the far-off centuries fade and pass away. No one sees their influence upon culture; no one sees their educational power.” –Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde is born at Longford House in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. He was an ardent supporter of the Irish language and was one of the founders of the Gaelic League in 1893, an organisation dedicated to the preservation of Irish culture and language, something which had been decimated during the previous two hundred years of British rule.

In 1938, Hyde was elected unopposed as first President of Ireland. The presidency is primarily an honorary role carrying little executive authority.

Despite being placed in a position to shape the office of the presidency via precedent, Hyde by and large opted for a quiet, conservative interpretation of the office. His age and (after a paralysing stroke in April 1940) deteriorating…

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