Archbishop of Dublin (Roman Catholic)

Archbishop of Dublin (Roman Catholic)

"Archbishop of Dublin" (Irish: "Ard-Easpuig Bhaile Átha Cliath" ) is the title of the senior cleric who presides over the Archdiocese of Dublin. The Church of Ireland has a similar role, heading the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. In both cases, the Archbishop is also Primate of Ireland. The Archbishop has his seat at Saint Mary's Pro-Cathedral, though formally Dublin's cathedral is still Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin.


Before the diocese

In the early church in Ireland, the organisation had a monastic basis, with greatest power vested in the abbots of the major communities and bishops, but not organised dioceses in the modern sense, and the offices of abbot and bishop were often comprised in one person. Some early "Bishops of Dublin," back to 633, are mentioned in Ware's "Antiquities of Ireland" but the Diocese of Dublin and so the office proper is not considered to have begun until 1038, and when Ireland began to see organised dioceses, all of the current Diocese of Dublin, and more, was comprised in the Diocese of Glendalough.

The early bishops, dependent on Canterbury

Following a reverted conversion by Sigtrygg Caech, Norse King of Dublin, his son Godfrey became Christian in 943, and the Kingdom of Dublin first sought to have a bishop of their own in the eleventh century, under Sitric MacAulaf, who had been on pilgrimage to Rome. He sent his chosen candidate, Donat (or Donagh or Donatus) to be consecrated in Canterbury in 1038, and the new prelate set up the Diocese of Dublin as a small territory within the walled city, over which he presided until 1074. The Bishop of Dublin answered to the Archbishop of Canterbury and did not attend councils of the Irish Church.

The second Bishop of Dublin was Patrick or Gilla Pátraic (1074-1084), consecrated at St. Paul's, London, followed by Donngus Ua hAingliu (Donat O'Haingly), 1085-1095, consecrated at Canterbury, and in turn succeeded by his nephew, Samuel Ua hAingliu (Samuel O'Haingly) (1096-1121), consecrated by St. Anselm at Winchester.

At the Synod of Rathbreasail, convened in 1118 by Gillebert (Gilbert), Bishop of Limerick, on papal authority, the number of dioceses in Ireland was fixed at twenty-four. Dublin was not included, the city being described as lying in the Diocese of Glendalough, but the line of Danish Bishops continued, still attached to Canterbury. From 1121, the fifth and last Bishop of Dublin was one Gréne (Gregory), consecrated at Lambeth by Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Reorganisation of the Church in Ireland, 1152

In 1151, Pope Eugene III commissioned Cardinal Paparo to go to Ireland and establish four metropolitans, and at a general synod at Kells in 1152, Armagh, Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam, were created archiepiscopal sees. In a document drawn up by the then Archbishop of Tuam in 1214, the cardinal is described as finding both a bishop based in Dublin, who at the time exercised his episcopal office within the city walls only, and "He found in the same Diocese another church in the mountains, which likewise had the name of a city [Glendalough] and had a certain chorepiscopus. But he delivered the pallium to Dublin which was the best city and appointed that the diocese (Glendalough) in which both these cities were should be divided, and that one part thereof should fall to the metropolitan." The part of North County Dublin known as Fingall was taken from Glendalough Diocese and attached to Dublin City and the new Archbishop presided over 40 parishes.

Early Archbishops

Gregory, the existing Bishop of Dublin, was elevated as the first Archbishop, with the Bishops of Kildare, Ossory, Leighlin, Ferns, and Glendalough reporting to him. The second Archbishop was Lorcán Ua Tuathail (Saint Laurence O'Toole), previously Abbot of Glendalough, who had previously been elected as Bishop of Glendalough but had declined that office. During his time in office, religious orders from the continent came to Ireland, and as part of this trend, Laurence installed a community of canons to minister according to the Arrouasian Rule in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, later known as Christchurch.

Saint Laurence's successor was a Norman, and from then onward to the time of the Reformation, Dublin's Archbishops were all either Norman or English. High offices in the Church were never free of political influence, and in fact many of Dublin's Archbishops exercised civil authority for the English crown. Archbishop Henry de Loundres's name appears in the text of the "Magna Carta" along with the names of English Bishops as witnesses. In 1185, the Pope had granted a petition to combine the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough, to take effect on the death of the then Bishop of Glendalough. The union took effect in 1216, with the approval of Innocent III, and the dioceses, and so the offices of bishop, have remained merged ever since.

Archbishops of Dublin and Primates of Ireland

Archbishops of Dublin and Primates of Ireland

* 1152-1162 Gregory
* 1162-1180 St Laurence O'Toole
* 1181-1212 John Comyn or Cumin
* 1213-1228 Henry de Loundres (of London)
* 1230-1255 Luke"Due to the increasing association of the Archdiocese with the administration, and the significant secular roles of many office-holders, the Irish clans sought, and received, bishops of their own, designated as Bishops of Glendalough, despite the union of the Dioceses; at least six such appointments were made."
* 1256-1271 Fulk de Sandford

* 1279-1284 John de Derlington
* 1286-1294 John de Sandford, O.P."Thomas de Chadworth was elected but not consecrated in 1295, and may also have served in 1299"
* 1296-1298 William of Hotham, O.P.
* 1299-1306 Richard de Ferings"Richard de Haverings, elected Archbishop of Dublin in March 1307, was never consecrated and resigned in November 1310"
* 1311-1313 John de Leche
* 1317-1349 Alexander de Bicknor
* 1349-1362 John de St Paul
* 1363-1375 Thomas Minot
* 1375-1390 Robert Wikeford
* 1390-1395 Robert Waldeby, O.S.A.
* 1395-1397 Richard Northalis, Carmelite
* 1397-1417 Thomas Cranley
* 1417-1449 Richard Talbot
* 1449-1471 Michael Tregury
* 1472-1484 John Walton
* 1484-1511 Walter Fitzsimon
* 1512-1521 William Rokeby
* 1523-1528 Hugh Inge, O.P.
* 1528-1534 John Alen"Following the death of Alen, Henry VIII put pressure on the Chapters of Dublin's cathedrals, who elected (January 1536) an Archbishop of his choice, George Browne. Although Browne was consecrated by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth, he was never recognised by the Pope. The Church of Ireland succession began at this time, and, after a gap, the Catholic succession continued.

* 1555-1567 Hugh Curwen (adhered to Catholicism under Queen Mary but then conformed to the State Church under Queen Elizabeth)
* 1585?-???? Donald (reference in the Papal Bull of Provision of Mateo de Oviedo O.F.M. as being the immediate predecessor as Archbishop but there is no further information known about him)
* 1600-1610 Mateo de Oviedo, O.F.M., resigned
* 1611-1623 Eugene Matthews
* 1623-1651 Thomas Fleming, O.F.M.
* 1669-1680 Peter Talbot
* 1683-1692 Patrick Russell
* 2 Sep 1692 - 20 Jul 1705 Peter Creagh
* 1707-1724 Edmund Byrne
* 1724-1729 Edward Murphy
* 1729-1733 Luke Fagan
* 1734-1757 John Linegar
* 1757-1763 Richard Lincoln
* 1763-1769 Patrick Fitzsimon
* 1770-1786 John Carpenter
* 1786-11 May 1823 John Thomas Troy
* 1823-1852 Daniel Murray
* 3 May 1852 - 24 Oct 1878 Paul Cardinal Cullen
* 4 Apr 1879 - 11 Feb 1885 Edward Cardinal MacCabe
* 3 Jul 1885 - 9 Apr 1921 William Joseph Walsh
* 28 Aug 1921 - 9 Feb 1940 Edward Joseph Byrne
* 6 Nov 1940 - 1971 John Charles McQuaid, C.S.Sp.
* 29 Dec 1971 - 1 Sep 1984 Dermot J. Ryan
* 15 Nov 1984 - 8 Apr 1987 Kevin McNamara
* 21 Jan 1988 - 26 Apr 2004 Desmond Cardinal Connell
* 26 Apr 2004 - Diarmuid Martin


From the Middle Ages, the seat of the Archbishop of Dublin was Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, although for many centuries, it shared this status with St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Archbishop had roles at both places. In early times, there was considerable conflict over status but under the six-point agreement of 1300, "Pacis Compositio":
* The consecration and enthronement of the Archbishop of Dublin was to take place at Christ Church - records show that this provision was not always followed, with many Archbishops enthroned in both, and at least two in St. Patrick's only
* Christ Church had formal precedence, as the mother and senior cathedral of the diocese
* Christ Church was to retain the cross, mitre and ring of each deceased Archbishop of Dublin
* Deceased Archbishops of Dublin were to be buried alternately in each of the two cathedrals, unless they personally willed otherwise
* The annual consecration of chrism oil for the diocese was to take place at Christ Church
* The two cathedrals were to act as one, and shared equally in their freedoms

As the established Church of Ireland retained both ancient cathedrals after the Reformation, the Roman Catholic prelate had no cathedral for several centuries but now maintains his seat at Saint Mary's Pro-Cathedral.


See the article Primate of Ireland for a discussion of the relative status of the Archbishops of Dublin and Armagh as Primates.

Notes and references


* New York, 1909: The Catholic Encyclopedia; Robert Appleton Company

External links

* [ Archdiocese of Dublin] by Giga-Catholic Information

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