Eoin Macneill

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Macneill, Eoin


Born May 15, 1867, in Glenarm, County Antrim; died Oct. 15, 1945, in Dublin. Irish political figure and historian. One of the founders of the Gaelic League (1893). Professor at the University of Dublin (from 1904). Member of the Royal Irish Academy. One of the founders of the University of Ireland (1909).

MacNeill belonged to the right wing of Sinn Fein. As commander in chief of the Irish volunteers, he issued an order on the eve of the Irish Rebellion of 1916 calling off the muster of volunteers, which disorganized the insurgent forces. Nonetheless, he was sentenced to life at hard labor by the English authorities. In a year, however, he was amnestied. A deputy to the Sinn Fein parliament of 1919, he was a supporter of the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, which led to the partition of Ireland. He was minister of education from 1922 to 1925.

MacNeill wrote books about the early and medieval history of Ireland. In his works he idealized the ancient system of Ireland, working from the nationalist concept of the completely distinctive nature of Celtic civilization. An opponent of the communal theory, he sought to prove that private property existed from time immemorial among the ancient Celts.


Phases of Irish history. Dublin, 1920.
Celtic Ireland. Dublin, 1921.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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