Ireland’s Grand Slam success would have warmed Éamon de Valera’s heart

Éamon de Valera was a big fan of rugby, but chose not to attend games after 1913 as the GAA adopted an intolerant attitude toward 'foreign games'. Photo: General Photographic Agency

John Downing

Eamon De Valera was about to learn the universal political lesson that sometimes the small things make a big impact. In April 1953, he was in his second of three terms as Taoiseach when he accepted an invitation to address the annual dinner of the southern branch of the past pupils’ union at Blackrock College, his alma mater.