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Eoin MacNeill reluctantly commits to one more year as Conradh president
A cartoon of Eoin MacNeill by Grace Gifford Plunkett Photo: National Library of Ireland, NLI, PD 2159 TX (16) 36

Eoin MacNeill reluctantly commits to one more year as Conradh president

Killarney, 10 August 1918 - The Gaelic League held its Ard Fheis during the Oireachtas festival in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, this week.

The event was poorly attended due, the organisers insist, to a widespread fear that the recent police crackdown on public meetings would mean that it would not be possible to hold the Oireachtas this year.

Lorcan Clancy looks at Eoin MacNeill's early life and how he came to write 'The North Began'. Extracted from RTÉ Radio's The History Show. Broadcast, 27 October 2013

Prof. Eoin MacNeill, the President of the League, presided over the opening at the Presentation Brothers’ school in Killarney, where one of the first motions discussed concerned the extension of the term of the office of President from two to four years.

Prof. MacNeill, who spoke in opposition to the motion, stated that he could settle the issue by refusing to allow his name to go forward for re-election. 

However, Sean T. O’Kelly said that while he favoured a one-year term limit, in the present circumstances he feared that people would say that something was wrong with the Gaelic League if Prof. MacNeill was not re-elected. By way of compromise, he suggested the limit be changed to three years. This proposal was accepted. Prof. MacNeill stated that he yielded to the request to continue his term for another another year but not a moment longer.

This year’s Ard Fheis has attracted considerable press interest in view of the efforts of the authorities to hamper the organisation, but the evidence provided from the around the country indicates that these efforts have served only to galvanise the Gaelic League.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.