As a solicitor, Lehane takes to defending members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the Irish Courts. In 1927 he obtains permission for IRA prisoners to speak privately to their solicitors from the Irish High Court. He is active in other republican and nationalist circles. He is a member of the Moibhí Branch of Conradh na Gaeilge, and by the 1930s appears to become active in the IRA itself. In 1931 he is involved in Saor Éire, an attempt by the Irish left-wing to create a communist political party that would be linked to the IRA.
Lehane is a member of the IRA’s arms committee and in 1935 he is sentenced to 18-months’ imprisonment by the Military Tribunal for his membership of the IRA.
Lehane is an actor and has a keen interest in Irish language theatre. A committed Irish speaker, Lehane is at home in it, whether on radio, stage or in street conversation. He is one of the leading actors of the Irish Language Theatre Company between 1943 and 1958. He is a member of Dublin City Council and of the Citizens for Civil Liberties committee.
Nicholas “Nicky” Rackard, Irish hurler whose league and championship career with the Wexford senior team spans seventeen years from 1940 to 1957, is born on April 28, 1922, in Killanne, County Wexford. He establishes many championship scoring records, including being the top championship goal-scorer of all time with 59 goals. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest hurlers in the history of the game.
Rackard is the eldest son of five boys and four girls born to Robert (Bob) Rackard and Anastasia Doran, who had been married in 1918. He is introduced to sport by his father who had hoped he would become a cricketer. His uncle, John Doran, won an All-Ireland medal as a Gaelic footballer with Wexford in 1918 and it is hurling and Gaelic football that Rackard develops a talent for.
Rackard plays his club hurling with his local Rathnure club and enjoys much success. He wins his first senior county title in 1948. It was Rathnure’s first ever championship triumph. Two years later in 1950 he captures a second county title, a victory which allows him to take over the captaincy of the county senior team for the following year. He wins his third and final county medal in 1955.
Rackard makes his debut on the inter-county scene when he is selected for the Wexford minor panel. He is just out of the minor grade when he is selected for the Wexford senior team in 1940. Over the course of the next seventeen years, he wins two All-Ireland medals as part of the Wexford hurling breakthrough in 1955 and 1956. He also wins four Leinster Senior Hurling Championship medals, one National Hurling League medal and one Leinster Senior Football Championship medal as a Gaelic footballer. He plays his last game for Wexford in August 1957.
By the late 1940s, Rackard is a regular in the full-forward line on the Leinster inter-provincial team. Success comes in the twilight of his career and he claims his sole Railway Cup medal in 1956.
Rackard’s brothers, Billy and Bobby, also experience All-Ireland success with Wexford.
In retirement from playing Rackard becomes involved in team management and coaching. It is with the Wexford senior team that he enjoys his greatest successes as a selector when he helps the team secure the 1968 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship title.
Rackard is most famous for his scoring prowess and is the all-time top championship scorer at the time of his retirement from hurling. His private life is marred by periods of excessive drinking, which had started during his university studies, and eventually develops into alcoholism. After quitting drinking completely in 1970, he travels the country as a counsellor with Alcoholics Anonymous. In an interview in The Irish Press in 1975, he details his life as a recovering alcoholic and becomes one of the first sportspeople to break the taboo of alcoholism in Ireland.
Rackard death from cancer at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin on April 10, 1976, sees a huge outpouring of grief amongst the hurling community. He is posthumously honoured by being named on the Hurling Team of the Century in 1984, however, he is sensationally omitted from the Hurling Team of the Millennium in favour of Ray Cummins. His scoring prowess has also earned him a place on the top ten list of all-time scoring greats. In 2005 the GAA further honours him by naming the Nicky Rackard Cup, the hurling competition for Division 3 teams, in his honour.
In 2006, a Wexford author, Tom Williams, writes a long-overdue biography of Rackard entitled Cuchulainn’s Son – The Story of Nickey Rackard. The same author also pens a now well-known song about Rackard many years earlier. It too is called Cuchulainn’s Son and has been recorded by various artists over the last 20 years and is a lament for the great sportsman.
In Wexford town, there is a statue to commemorate Rackard, erected in 2012.
Van der Flier’s preferred position is flanker, but he can play other positions if needed. He is commonly referred to amongst Leinster Rugby circles as “The Dutch Disciple.”
Van der Flier begins his professional career with the Leinster academy. During his time at the academy, he plays with the Leinster senior team, making his debut in October 2014 against Zebre Parma. It is announced in April 2015 that he has been awarded a senior contract with Leinster.
Van der Flier is named as the Ireland men’s XVs Players’ Player of the Year at the 2022 Rugby Players Ireland awards. He also wins the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland men’s player of the year award for the 2021-22 campaign.
After the Anglo-Irish truce of July 1921, Cooney is appointed Officer Commanding (O/C) of the 1st Kerry Brigade, IRA, reorganising it and forming a flying column. Opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, he does not immediately break with GHQ, who sends him to organise the 1st Eastern Division. Later in January 1922, the Chief of Staff, Eoin O’Duffy, asks him to become O/C of the 3rd Eastern Division, but later rescinds the appointment. In March 1922 he is appointed O/C of the 1st Eastern Division of the anti-Treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War.
That same year he is captured by Free State forces and interned in Mountjoy Prison, where he becomes O/C of the prisoners in C Wing. He accepts responsibility for an attempted escape bid on October 10, 1922, in which a fellow prisoner, Peadar Breslin, is killed and another man is wounded. After sojourns in Newbridge and Arbour Hill Prison, he is moved with the other leaders to Kilmainham Gaol, where he spends forty-one days on hunger strike. Removed to Harepark Camp, the Curragh, on January 1, 1924, he is among the last to be released on May 29, 1924.
Cooney succeeds Frank Aiken as Chief of Staff of the IRA on November 18, 1925. Central to the reorganisation scheme he puts in place is the need to secure American funds for the IRA and to combat Frank Aiken’s fundraising work in the United States since December 1925 on behalf of the embryo Fianna Fáil organisation. Receiving permission on April 21, 1926, he departs on a fund-raising trip to the United States, but returns to Ireland in October. He resigns as chief of staff in favour of Maurice Twomey, but retains his position as chairman of the IRA executive until November 21, 1927, when he obtains leave to complete his medical studies.
After internship in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, Cooney finds temporary employment in London, but remains in touch with GHQ. On September 27, 1929, he marries the German-educated Frances (‘Frank’) Brady, daughter of a wealthy Belfast linen family and former Cumann na mBan activist and hunger-striker. The marriage is not a success. Failing to secure employment due to police harassment and the loyalty test then in force, he and his wife are obliged to emigrate to London, where he practises as a GP, still maintaining his IRA links. Their only child, Seán, is born there in 1931. He returns to Ireland in August 1932, after Fianna Fáil’s accession to power.
An intimate friend of Maurice Twomey, who is still Chief of Staff, Cooney remains in the upper echelons of the IRA and attends its conventions. Signifying his standing in republican circles, he is chosen to unveil, inter alia, the Fenian memorial in Glasnevin Cemetery and the Seán Treacy plaque in Talbot Street, Dublin, and is a regular speaker at commemorations. In March 1940, he attempts to intercede with Éamon de Valera on behalf of hunger-striking republicans, and is later arrested, but released.
After the discovery of a German spy ring in the hospitals commission’s subsidiary, the Dublin Hospitals Bureau, Cooney is forced to resign in April 1942 on refusing to take a loyalty pledge to the state. He returns to private practice. He becomes active in the unsuccessful campaign to save Charlie Kerins, Chief of Staff, from being hanged in 1944. In anticipation of emigrating, he finally resigns from the IRA in 1944, though military and police surveillance continue until March 1945.
Appointed a part-time member of the hospitals commission by the inter-party government in September 1949 and in severe financial straits, Cooney emigrates alone to the United States on December 2, 1950, and never returns. While employed in a tuberculosissanatorium in New Jersey, he obtains by examination his licence to practise medicine in Maryland on January 14, 1954. Admitted a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, again by examination, on November 23, 1954, he secures, at the age of 57, his first ever permanent post in medicine, in a similar hospital in Pikesville, Maryland. His republican activities continue through Clan na Gael during his U.S. years, and he is a frequent speaker at commemorative events.
(Pictured: Liam Lynch with some of his Divisional Staff and Officers of the Brigades, including the 1st Southern Division, who attend as delegates to the Army Convention at the Mansion House, Dublin, on April 9, 1922. Cooney is first on the right in the 3rd row back.)
Byrne is educated at Newbridge College, County Kildare, University College Dublin (UCD) and King’s Inns, Dublin. He is called to the Bar in 1970 and practises law in the Irish and European Courts. During his student days in Dublin, he founds the Free Legal Advice Centre, a student-run organisation providing legal aid to citizens in association with the legal profession. He campaigns in favour of Irish entry into the European Community (EC) in the 1970s and has been a keen supporter of European integration ever since.
In 1997 Byrne becomes Attorney General of Ireland in the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democratscoalition government. As one of the negotiators of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998, he drafts and oversees the major constitutional amendments required by that agreement, which are approved by Referendum in May 1998. He also advises on the constitutional amendments necessary for Ireland’s ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam. During his tenure, he establishes the first independent Food Safety Agency in Europe responsible to the Minister for Health.
Byrne is mooted as a potential candidate for the position of Director General of the World Health Organization following the death of the incumbent, Dr Lee Jong-wook in 2006. However, he is eventually not included in the list of thirteen candidates to head the agency.
Music is encouraged in his parents’ home, and Bodley receives initial lessons on the mandolin from his father and on the piano from his mother. He studies the piano, harmony and counterpoint at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and obtains a Licentiate in piano from Trinity College London (TCL). From the age of 13, he also enrolls for a time at the Brendan Smith Academy of Acting. While he is still at school, he receives his first lessons in composition privately from the Dublin-based German choral conductor Hans Waldemar Rosen (1904–94), which continues, on and off, until 1956. From his student days he performs as an accompanist to singers and takes part in chamber music performances. An important element in his musical education is the twice-weekly free concerts given by the Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra in the Phoenix Hall, Dame Court, where he has the opportunity to hear leading Irish and international performers and conductors presenting both classics and modern repertory.
From 1959 until his retirement in 1998, Bodley lectures at the university’s music department, becoming associate professor in 1984. During the 1960s, he is conductor of the Culwick Choral Society.
Bodley’s development as a composer sees several distinct phases. In the 1970s he merges avant-garde styles with elements from Irish traditional music and becomes a figure of national importance. He receives several prestigious commissions for large-scale works, such as Symphony No. 3 (1981), written for the opening of the National Concert Hall.
In 1982 Bodley becomes a founder-member of Aosdána and PresidentMary McAleese confers the distinction of Saoi on him in November 2008. McAleese says that Bodley “has helped us to recast what it means to be an artist in Ireland.”
Ó Dálaigh, one of four children, is born on February 12, 1911, in Bray, County Wicklow. His father, Richard O’Daly, is a fishmonger with little interest in politics. His mother is Una Thornton. His birth name is registered in English as Carroll O’Daly, which he uses during his legal career, and which is recorded by some publications.
Ó Dálaigh is a committed Fianna Fáil supporter who serves on the party’s National Executive in the 1930s. He becomes Ireland’s youngest Attorney General in 1946, under TaoiseachÉamon de Valera, serving until 1948. Unsuccessful in Dáil and Seanad elections in 1948 and 1951, he is re-appointed as Attorney General of Ireland in 1951. In 1953, he is nominated as the youngest-ever member of the Supreme Court by his mentor, de Valera. Less than a decade later, he becomes Chief Justice of Ireland, on the nomination of Taoiseach Seán Lemass. He is a keen actor in his early years, and becomes a close friend of actor Cyril Cusack. It is commonly stated that Ó Dálaigh and Cusack picketed the Dublin launch of Disney‘s Darby O’Gill and the Little People in 1959, for what they felt was the film’s stereotyping of Irish people. However, there is no known contemporary reference to this having occurred.
In 1972, Taoiseach Jack Lynch suggests to the opposition parties that they agree to nominate Ó Dálaigh to become President of Ireland when President de Valera’s second term ends in June of the following year. Fine Gael, confident that its prospective candidate, Tom O’Higgins, will win the 1973 presidential election, having almost defeated de Valera in 1966, turn down the offer. Fianna Fáil’s Erskine H. Childers goes on to win the election that follows.
When Ireland joins the European Economic Community (EEC), Lynch appoints Ó Dálaigh as Ireland’s judge on the European Court of Justice. When President Childers dies suddenly in 1974, all parties agree to nominate Ó Dálaigh to replace him.
Ó Dálaigh’s decision in 1976 to exercise his power to refer a bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality brings him into conflict with the Fine Gael-Labour National Coalition. Following the assassination of the British Ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), on July 23, 1976, the government announces its intention to introduce legislation extending the maximum period of detention without charge from two to seven days.
Ó Dálaigh refers the resulting bill, the Emergency Powers Bill, to the Supreme Court. When the court rules that the bill is constitutional, he signs the bill into law on October 16, 1976. On the same day, an IRA bomb in Mountmellick, County Laois, kills Michael Clerkin, a member of the Garda Síochána, the country’s police force. Ó Dálaigh’s actions are seen by government ministers to have contributed to the killing of this Garda. On the following day, Minister for DefencePaddy Donegan, visiting a barracks in Mullingar, County Westmeath, to open a canteen, attacks the President for sending the bill to the Supreme Court, calling him a “thundering disgrace.”
Ó Dálaigh’s private papers show that he considered the relationship between the President (as Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces) and the Minister for Defence had been “irrevocably broken” by the comments of the Minister in front of the army Chief of Staff and other high-ranking officers. Donegan offers his resignation, but Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave refuses to accept it. This proves the last straw for Ó Dálaigh, who believes that Cosgrave had additionally failed to meet his constitutional obligation to regularly brief the President. He resigns from the presidency on October 22, 1976, “to protect the dignity and independence of the presidency as an institution.” He is succeeded as President of Ireland by Patrick Hillery.
Ó Dálaigh dies of a heart attack on March 21, 1978, less than two years after resigning the presidency. He is buried in Sneem, County Kerry.
Ryan is Professor of Oriental Languages at University College Dublin before his appointment by Pope Paul VI as Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland on December 29, 1971. Maintaining his connection and interest in oriental studies, he serves as chairman of the trustees of the Chester Beatty Library from 1978 to 1984.
During his term, Ryan consolidates much of the expansion of the Archdiocese which had taken place during the term of his predecessor. He also oversees the fuller implementation of the reforms of Vatican II. He is particularly interested in liturgical reform.
As Archbishop, Ryan gives the people of Dublin a public park on a site earmarked by his predecessors for a proposed cathedral. It is named “Archbishop Ryan Park” in his honour. The land, at Merrion Square, is a gift from the archbishop to the city of Dublin.
Ryan is named in the Murphy Report, released in 2009, on sexual abuse of children in Dublin. His actions in respect of complaints against priest Fr. McNamee are described in the report as “an example of how, throughout the 1970s, the church authorities were more concerned with the scandal that would be created by revealing Fr. McNamee’s abuse rather than any concern for the abused.” He also does not act on complaints against other priests who are also subsequently confirmed to be abusers.
In January 2010, after Ryan has been criticised in the Murphy Report the previous year, Dublin City Council seeks public views on renaming “Archbishop Ryan Park.” Later that same year it is renamed “Merrion Square Park” by the City Council.
FitzGerald joins Fine Gael, attaching himself to the liberal wing of the party. and in 1969 is elected to Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament. He later gives up his university lectureship to become Minister for Foreign Affairs in the coalition government of Liam Cosgrave (1973–1977). When the coalition government is resoundingly defeated in the 1977 Irish general election, Cosgrave yields leadership of Fine Gael to FitzGerald. In his new role as Leader of the Opposition and party leader, he proceeds to modernize and strengthen the party at the grass roots. He briefly loses power in 1982 when political instability triggers two snap elections.
On May 5, 2011, it is reported that FitzGerald is seriously ill in a Dublin hospital. Newly elected Fine Gael Taoiseach Enda Kenny sends his regards and calls him an “institution.” On May 6 he is put on a ventilator. On May 19, after suffering from pneumonia, he dies at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin at the age of 85.
In a statement, Irish PresidentMary McAleese hails FitzGerald as “a man steeped in the history of the State who constantly strove to make Ireland a better place for all its people.” Taoiseach Enda Kenny pays homage to “a truly remarkable man who made a truly remarkable contribution to Ireland.” Henry Kissinger, the former United States Secretary of State, who serves as an opposite number to FitzGerald in the 1970s, recalls “an intelligent and amusing man who was dedicated to his country.”
FitzGerald’s death occurs on the third day of Queen Elizabeth II‘s state visit to the Republic of Ireland, an event designed to mark the completion of the Northern Ireland peace process that had been “built on the foundations” of FitzGerald’s Anglo-Irish Agreement with Margaret Thatcher in 1985. In a personal message, the Queen offers her sympathies and says she is “saddened” to learn of FitzGerald’s death.
On his visit to Dublin, United States PresidentBarack Obama offers condolences on FitzGerald’s death. He speaks of him as “someone who believed in the power of education; someone who believed in the potential of youth; most of all, someone who believed in the potential of peace and who lived to see that peace realised.”
FitzGerald is the author of a number of books, including Planning in Ireland (1968), Towards a New Ireland (1972), Unequal Partners (1979), All in a Life: An Autobiography (1991), and Reflections on the Irish State (2003).
At the 1961 Irish general election, Mac Giolla unsuccessfully contests the Tipperary North constituency for Sinn Féin. In 1962, he becomes President of Sinn Féin, and is one of the people who moves the party to the left during the 1960s. In 1969, Sinn Féin splits and he remains leader of Official Sinn Féin. It is also in 1962 that he marries May McLoughlin who is also an active member of Sinn Féin as well as Cumann na mBan, the women’s section of the IRA. In 1977, the party changes its name to Sinn Féin the Workers Party and in 1982 it becomes simply the Workers’ Party.
In 1999, Mac Giolla writes to the chairman of the Flood Tribunal calling for an investigation into revelations that former Dublin Assistant City and County Manager George Redmond had been the official supervisor at the election count in Dublin West and was a close associate of Liam Lawlor. In 2003, Redmond is convicted of corruption by a Dublin court but subsequently has his conviction quashed due to conflicting evidence.
In his eighties Mac Giolla continues to be active and is a member of the group which campaigns to prevent the demolition of No. 16 Moore Street in Dublin city centre, where the surrender after the Easter Rising was completed. He also serves on the Dublin ’98 committee to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.