The legacy of one of Ireland’s most significant historical figures will be celebrated on November 21 next, when the Douglas Hyde Foundation will hold its first Gala Dinner at the Manhattan Manor.
At the Dinner, the Foundation will honor: Congressman Brendan Boyle, who has been very active on Irish issues and has close links to the Donegal Gaeltacht; Margaret Molloy, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Siegel+Gale and Founder of #WearingIrish, and; John Saunders, CEO of FleishmanHillard and son of famous Irish language author Cathal Ó Sandair. Kerry-born tenor Gavan Ring will give an exclusive performance.
As the founder and first President of The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge), the first Professor of Irish at University College Dublin, and the first President of Ireland under the 1937 Constitution, Hyde exercised a profound influence on the direction of modern Ireland.
A passionate promoter of the Irish language, skillful diplomat, and deep believer in the importance of the nurturing of Ireland’s cultural heritage to the future development of the country, Hyde has often been overlooked by historians studying the background to Ireland’s struggle for sovereignty.
“You have to see him as the person who helped place an interest in Irish culture at the heart of the idea of being Irish”, says Cuan Ó Seireadáin, Project Director of the Foundation.
“From the 1890s until the period when the Irish State was founded, Hyde led an unprecedented campaign to promote respect for Irish language, music, culture and history, and to encourage their study. This was being done at a time where participation in British culture was seen as the best an Irish person could aspire to, and the effect of his ideas was electrifying.
“The combination of his ideas, the building up of a professional campaigning organization, and the injection of American funding at two key moments, helped to create a movement for pride and participation in Irish culture that reached not only into every parish in Ireland, but into many Irish communities overseas as well.
“Hyde’s definition of Irish nationality, that you are Irish by virtue of your interest and participation in Irish culture, is of great relevance today, and is a great inspiration to those who dance, play Irish music, and especially those who learn and speak Irish!”
The Douglas Hyde Foundation recently supported the publication by UCD Press of a new edition of Douglas Hyde’s account of his 1905/1906 trip to the United States. First published in Irish in 1937, the new book was launched at the Irish Consulate in San Francisco in October and includes a new English translation, gorgeous color postcards of early 20th Century America sent home by Hyde to his children, and an introduction by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
In April, the inaugural Douglas Hyde Scholarship was awarded to Aislinn Moloney at the Big Apple Feis to enable her two spend weeks attending Coláiste Aoidh Mhic Bhreifne in Teileann, Co. Donegal.
With continuing support, the Foundation will be able to build on this success and embark on an increasing number of projects to enrich understanding of the Irish language and of Irish Culture.
Tickets for the Douglas Hyde Gala are available on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/