Conference Contribution Details
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Nic an Bhaird Máire
New Perspectives on Conflict and Ireland in the Nineteenth Century -Annual Conference of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland
Douglas Hyde and his Inner Conflicts
University College Dublin
Keynote Address
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Key note address: Douglas Hyde and his Inner Conflicts Dr Máire Nic an Bhaird, Maynooth University Douglas Hyde, Dubhghlas de hÍde, born in County Roscommon 17 January 1860 and died 12 July 1949, also commonly known as An Craoibhín Aoibhinn (lit. ‘the pleasant little branch’), was an Irish academic, linguist, scholar of the Irish language and statesman who served as the first president of Ireland from June 1938 to June 1945. A leading figure in the Gaelic revival, he was co-founder (1893) and first president of the Gaelic League, one of the most influential cultural organisations in Ireland at a time of extreme cultural conflict. Hyde’s force of personality enabled him bring his concern for the future of the Irish language and its culture to centre stage in the public sphere at the end of the nineteenth century. Hyde’s inner thoughts and ideas can be seen through his own pen in 13 diaries which are housed in the National Library of Ireland (G1036-48). This paper examines ego-documents that elucidate Hyde’s inner conflict surrounding his self-identity, inter-personal relationships, politics, culture and the Gaelic Revival. It highlights how conflict permeated Hyde’s life and the cultural and social life of the people of Ireland during the late 19th century. The paper discusses Hyde’s use of pseudonyms to allow him portray controversial political ideals evident in his writings under the pen names An Craoibhín Aoibhinn and an Géagán Glas. These writings highlight how inter-communal conflict and his inner conflict in relation to his apolitical stance as president of the Gaelic League were expounded, albeit surreptitiously through his writings.