Irish Catholic Martyrs

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXV

Notwithstanding the solemn promise of the Lord Deputy, the penal statutes against Catholics were carried out. In 1563 the Earl of Essex issued a proclamation, by which all priests, secular and regular, were forbidden to officiate, or even to reside in Dublin. Fines and penalties were strictly enforced for absence from the Protestant service; before long, torture and death were inflicted. Priests and religious were, as might be expected, the first victims. They were hunted into mountains and caves; and the parish churches and few monastic chapels which had escaped the rapacity of Henry VIII., were sacrificed to the sacrilegious emissaries of Elizabeth. Curry gives some account of those who suffered for the faith in this reign. He says: "Among many other Roman Catholic bishops and priests, there were put to death for the exercise of their function in Ireland, Globy O'Boyle, Abbot of Boyle, and Owen O'Mulkeran, Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, hanged and quartered by Lord Grey, in 1580. John Stephens suffered the same punishment from Lord Burroughs, for saying Mass, in 1597; Thady O'Boyle was slain in his own monastery at Donegal; six friars were slain at Moynihigan; John O'Calyhor and Bryan O'Freeor were killed at their monastery in Ulster, with Felimy O'Hara, a lay brother. Eneus Penny was massacred at the altar of his own parish church, Killagh. Fourteen other priests died in Dublin Castle, either from hard usage, or the violence of torture."