President Past


Presidents of Ireland

Dubhghlas de hÍde / Douglas Hyde 1938-1945

Dubhghlas de hÍde was born in Sligo but he grew up in French Park, county Roscommon. He was a co-founder of Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), was also a poet and a playwright and he was Professor of Irish at UCD. He became Ireland's first President at the age of 78 on June 25, 1938 without an election as an agreed candidate and retired from office on June 24, 1945. He passed away on July 12, 1949, aged 89.

Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh 1945-1959

Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh was born in Dublin. He was a founder of Sinn Féin and fought in the 1916 Easter Rising. He was elected to the Dáil as a member of Fianna Fáil and served as a government minister. He became President on June 25, 1945. He served both his two, seven year terms and retired on June 24, 1959. He died on November 23,1966 at the age of 84.

Éamon de Valera 1959-1973

Éamon De Valera was born in New York. He was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising and for his role he was sentenced to death by the British. However it was later commuted to life imprisonment but he was released from jail in 1917 and in the 1918 General Election led Sinn Féin to a landslide victory. He was the biggest opponent of the Treaty but after the Civil War he left Sinn Féin and founded Fianna Fáil (1926). He was Taoiseach on three occasions and wrote the 1937 Constitution- Bunreacht na hÉireann. He was 76 when he was elected President on June 25, 1959 and served two terms in office before he retired on June 24, 1973. De Valera died on August 28, 1975 aged 92, having been at the forefront of Irish politics for over half a century.

Erskine Childers 1973-1974

Erskine Childers Jr was born in London. His father was a prominent Republican and was on the Anti-Treaty side during the Civil War but was captured and executed. Erskine Childers Jr was a member of Fianna Fáil and served as a minister in five governments. He was Tánaiste prior to his election as President on June 25, 1973. However on November 17, 1974, he died suddenly aged 68.

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh 1974-1976

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was born in Wicklow. He was President of the Supreme Court and a judge in the European Court of Justice. He was 63 when he became President on December 19, 1974. However he resigned on October 22, 1976, after he was

criticised by a government minister for referring a Bill to the Supreme Court before he signed it into law. He later died on March 21, 1978.

Patrick Hillery 1976-1990

Patrick Hillery was born in Clare. He was a member of Fianna Fáil and served as a minister on four occasions. As minister for Foreign Affairs he negotiated Ireland's entry into the EEC (now the EU) in 1973. He was also Ireland's first European Commissioner. He was not elected President but was an agreed candidate and took up office on December 3, 1976. He served two terms and retired on December 2,1990.

Mary Robinson/Maire mhic Roibin 1990-1997

Mary Robinson was born in Mayo. She was a barrister and lecturer of Law at Trinity College. She was also a member of the Labour Party. She was elected President on December 7, 1990 and at 46 she was the youngest person to become President. During her term she travelled widely and increased the profile of the Presidency both at home and abroad. She resigned two months before the end of her first term in order to become United Natons Commissioner for Refugees.

Mary McAleese/Maire mhic Giolla Iosa 1997 -

Mary McAleese was born in Belfast. Like Mary Robinson she was lecturer in Law at Trinity College and before becoming President she was Pro Vice-Chancellor at Queen's University, Belfast. She was elected President on November 11, 1997,beating four other candidates of which only one was male.


Message from President McAleese

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