In 1913 Birmingham Doctor Adam Boyd Simpson bequeathed a sum of money to the National University to be used on condition that Irish should become a compulsory subject for University Matriculation. The bequest became available to the University in 1923 after which from time to time the income was put towards publication of a journal of Irish studies. The first such publication was entitled Lia Fáil edited by Dubhghlas de hÍde. Two volumes appeared between 1926 and 1932 (the year of Hyde's retirement from UCD).
The publication of Éigse goes back to a decision noted in the University Standing Committee Report of 12 January 1938 as follows:
The Senate approved the following report from the Professors and Lecturers in Irish, agreed to at their meeting held on December 17th 1937, with reference to the application of the income of the Adam Boyd Simpson Fund:
Gerard Murphy, who at the time was lecturer in Irish at University College Dublin and later became Professor of the History of Irish Literature, settled on the name Éigse: A Journal of Irish Studies and determined that a volume should appear in four parts annually. The first part of volume I was published in Spring of 1939, priced at two shillings, and the three remaining parts were issued in Summer, Autumn and Winter of 1939 in turn. Professor Murphy continued to edit Éigse for twenty years until his death in 1959.
Since 1984 Éigse has issued in a single volume and normally appears once a year.
Since 1999 publication of Éigse has been funded by the Publications Fund of the National University of Ireland.
Editors / Eagarthóirí Éigse
Gerard Murphy (1939-59) (Vols I-IX [parts 1, 2])
Brian Ó Cuív (1959-74) (Vols IX [parts 3, 4]-XV)
Tomás Ó Concheanainn (1975-86) (Vols XVI-XXI)
Pádraig A. Breatnach (1987- 2010) (Vols. XXII- XXXVII)
Liam MacMathúna (2011- Present)