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Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde became the first President of Ireland in 1938. He was a co-founder of Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), a poet and a playwright and he was a Professor of Irish at UCD.

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Sean T. O'Ceallaigh

Ireland's second President was Sean T O Ceallaigh. He became President in 1945 and served for 14 years. He was a founder of Sinn Féin and fought in the 1916 Easter Rising.

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Éamon de Valera

The third President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera was born in New York and one of the most influential Irish politians of the 20th century. He was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, and fought in the Civil War on the anti-treaty side. He founded Fianna Fáil and became Taoiseach on three occasions. He was 76 when he was elected President in 1959 and served two terms in office.

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Erskine Childers

The fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Childers (1973-4), who had served as a minister in five governments before his election as President in 1973. He died suddenly in office after 1 year and 5 months.

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Cearbhall O'Dálaigh

The fifth President, Cearbhall O'Dálaigh (1974-6) was President of the Supreme Court and a Judge in the European Court of Justice before becoming President. He resigned in October 1976, after he was critized be a government minister for referring a Bill to the Supreme Court before he signed it into law.

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Patrick J Hillery

Patrick J Hillery was President of Ireland for 14 years from 1976-1990. Before becoming President he had, as minister for Foreign Affairs, negotiated Ireland's entry into the EEC (now the EU) in 1973. He was also Ireland's first European Comissioner.

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Mary Robinson

The seventh President of Ireland was Mary Robinson who served for almost 7 years before becoming UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. At 46 she was the youngest person to become President and she used her time in office to change how the Office of the President was seen, taking a very active and visible role on many social issues.

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Mary McAleese

The 8th President was Mary McAleese who, like Mary Robinson, was a barrister and had been Professor of Criminal Law at Trinity College Dublin. She used her influence as President to support the peace process in Northern Ireland.

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