Bishop Francis Kirwan

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Kirwan, Francis, Bishop of Killala, was born in Galway in 1589, and received the rudiments of education from his uncle, Rev. Arthur Lynch, a Catholic clergyman, who from time to time had endured the most trying persecutions on account of his faith. He subsequently studied at Lisbon, and was ordained in 1614. Proceeding to France the year following, to pursue his studies, he for a time "taught philosophy" at Dieppe. In 1620, returning to Ireland, he was commissioned by Florence Conroy as Vicar-General of his province of Tuam, and in this capacity laboured untiringly in the wilds and islands of the west until Conroy's death in 1629, after which he proceeded to France.

At Paris, on 7th May 1645, Kirwan was consecrated Bishop of Killala, when he returned to his native city for a time; but after its fall in 1651 had to lie concealed from the fury of the Parliamentary troops in the neighbourhood for many months. He underwent the greatest sufferings and privations — during eight entire months being able but thrice to leave his hiding place in a miserable garret infested by mice. He was afterwards imprisoned in Galway, where, forgetful of his own sufferings, he strove to alleviate those of his fellow-prisoners. In August 1655 the Bishop was banished to France, and at Nantes was for some years sheltered in the house of a "noble widow." His death took place at Rennes, 27th August 1661, at the age of 72 years. His Life, written by his nephew, the Archdeacon of Tuam [See LYNCH, JOHN] was republished, with a translation and notes by Rev. C. P. Meehan, in 1848.


205. Kirwan, Francis, Bishop of Killala. Translated by Rev. C. P. Meehan. Dublin, 1848.

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