Belfast Telegraph

Blue plaque for Antrim Irish Volunteer Eoin MacNeill who helped build Republic

By Adrian Rutherford

An Irish language champion turned revolutionary is being honoured with a blue plaque.

Eoin MacNeill, from Co Antrim, was a Gaelic scholar, historian and politician.

Along with Dr Douglas Hyde, he co-founded the Gaelic League, Conradh na Gaeilige.

As chief of staff of the Irish Volunteers, he attempted to call off the Easter Rising in I9I6, later becoming one of the key builders of the Irish Free State.

Mr MacNeill made major contributions to Irish scholarship, particularly as president of the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

He was also president of the Irish Historical Society, the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy.

His remarkable life will be recognised with the unveiling of a Blue Plaque tomorrow at St Malachy's College in Belfast.

It will be unveiled by Mr MacNeill's grandson, former Tanaiste Michael McDowell.

Mr MacNeill was born in May 1867 in Glenarm.

He boarded at St Malachy's College from 1881 until 1887.

The honour has been organised by the Ulster History Circle, which puts up blue plaques in public places across the nine counties of Ulster to celebrate people of achievement.

Paul McBride, the principal of St Malachy's, said: "We at St Malachy's are delighted to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Eoin MacNeill with this blue plaque in his memory, and wish to record our thanks to the Ulster History Circle and Foras na Gaeilige for their help.

"The plaque is located in a very prominent part of the college and will remind present and future generations of students of Eoin MacNeill's important role in the cultural life of Ireland'.

Chris Spurr, from the Ulster History Circle, added: "As a co-founder of the Gaelic League, Eoin MacNeill assured his place in his country's history, but he was also an eminent scholar, historian, and linguist. The Ulster History Circle are delighted to commemorate Eoin MacNeill with a blue plaque at the college he attended."

Belfast Telegraph


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