The first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde was born on 17 January 1860 near Castlerea, County Roscommon. Seven years later his family moved to Frenchpark, County Roscommon, where his father served as a Church of Ireland clergyman. Growing up, he took a great interest in the Irish language.
This interest continued when he moved to Dublin to study at Trinity College. Also fluent in French, Latin, German, Greek and Hebrew, he embarked on a career as a distinguished scholar. In 1893 he was a founder member and first President of Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), an organisation set up to preserve and promote the Irish language.
Appointed as a Senator after the formation of the Irish Free State, he lost his seat in 1925 when the Seanad became an elected body, after a false claim that he was in favour of divorce. And so he returned to his career as an academic, working as Professor of Irish at University College Dublin.
By 1938, he had retired. Then he was appointed again to the Seanad, before he was named first President of Ireland later that same year. He proved immensely popular in this role, which he carried out until 25 June 1945, despite suffering a massive stroke in 1940. After leaving office, he moved into a new home on the grounds of Áras an Úachtaráin. He passed away there on 12 July 1949.
This exquisite stamp is designed by Q Design. It utilizes a photographic portrait by Keogh Bothers Ltd, used by courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.
Title: 150th birth of Douglas Hyde
Date of Issue: 21 January, 2010
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