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Byrne, Edmund


Archbishop of Dublin; b. probably Ballyback, near Borris, County Carlow, c. 1656; d. Ireland, 1723 or 1724. He was a member of the Gabhal Raghnaill branch of the O'Byrnes and a descendant of Fiach MacHugh. He entered the Irish College in Seville (1674), where he was ordained on March 18, 1679 and remained until 1681, acquiring the Spanish equivalent of D.D. At St. Nicholas outside Dublin he served as parish priest (1698). Appointed archbishop on March 15, 1707, he was consecrated on Aug. 31, 1707, in Newgate Jail, Dublin, by Dr. O'Donnelly, Bishop of Dromore, in times of appalling difficulty. He was the first archbishop actually resident since Russell's death in 1692. Although constantly fleeing the notorious priest catchers Garzia and Tyrell, he succeeded in holding a diocesan synod in 1712 to continue a precarious discipline under penal conditions. A patron of a school of Gaelic learning, he is commemorated in its versifications; he took part by his writings in public religious controversy. His difficulties were increased by the interference of the Primate, Hugh McMahon, Archbishop of Armagh. He encouraged the Dominican and Poor Clare Sisters to return to the diocese and led acceptance of Clement XI's constitution Unigenitus (1713) against Jansenists.

Bibliography: n. donnelly, History of Dublin Parishes (Dublin n.d.) 2:3536, 3848. j. j. meagher in Reportorium Novum (Dublin n.d.) 3:378386.

[j. j. meagher]

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