Eoin MacNeill was an Irish scholar, Irish language enthusiast, Gaelic revivalist, nationalist, and politician who served as Minister for Education from 1922 to 1925, Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann from 1921 to 1922, Minister for Industries 1919 to 1921 and Minister for Finance January 1919 to April 1919. He served as a Teachta Dála from 1918 to 1927. He was a Member of Parliament for Londonderry City from 1918 to 1922 and a Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament for Londonderry from 1921 to 1925.
A key figure of the Gaelic revival, MacNeill was a co-founder of the Gaelic League, to preserve Irish language and culture. He has been described as "the father of the modern study of early Irish medieval history".
He established the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and served as Chief-of-Staff of the minority faction after its split in 1914 at the start of the World War. He held that position at the outbreak of the Easter Rising in 1916, but had no role in the Rising or its planning, which was carried out by his nominal subordinates, including Patrick Pearse, who were members of the secret society, the Irish Republican Brotherhood.