Born in Shandon, Cork, he won ten senior county championship hurling medals, including eight-in-a-row, 1934–41. He won five All-Ireland hurling championships with Cork: 1941-4 and 1946, and Cork’s first All-Ireland football championship: 1945.
He was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD in 1948 and became Taoiseach in 1966. In August 1969 he announced that the Irish government was establishing field hospitals along the Northern Ireland border. In 1970 he dismissed Neil Blaney and Charles Haughey from cabinet following allegations of arms and ammunition importation. Lynch signed the EEC accession treaty in 1973, before going into opposition for four years. He resigned as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil in 1979.