Ernest Blythe (1889 - 1975):
Politician and writer
Ernest Blythe was born in Magheragall, near Lisburn, County Antrim, where he was educated. At the age of fifteen he went to work in Dublin. During his stay he learned Irish, and Sean O'Casey reputedly encouraged him to join the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He returned to the North as a journalist for the North Down Herald. He became involved in the Irish Volunteer movement and was many times imprisoned as a consequence. He was elected to the Dail in 1918, and later served under W. T. Cosgrave as Minister for Finance. He held other ministerial posts and was Vice-President of the Executive Council. He retired from politics in 1936. From this point he devoted time and energy to the Irish language revival in the form of an Irish language theatre and the establishment of an official Irish press, An Gum. He was managing director of the Abbey Theatre from 1939 to 1967 and in 1957 published the autobiographical work Trasna na Boinne, followed in 1969 with Slan le hUltaibh. His other publications include a volume of poetry in 1938 and Briseadh na Teorann in 1955.