Irish Bishops

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XIX

The Irish bishops were, as usual, in constant intercourse with Rome. Several prelates attended the fourth General Council of Lateran, in 1215. The Annals give the obituaries of some saintly men, whose lives redeemed the age from the character for barbarity, which its secular literature would seem to justify. Amongst these we find the obituary of Catholicus O'Duffy, in 1201; of Uaireirghe, "one of the noble sages of Clonmacnois, a man full of the love of God and of every virtue;" of Con O'Melly, Bishop of Annaghdown, "a transparently bright gem of the Church;" of Donnell O'Brollaghan, "a prior, a noble senior, a sage, illustrious for his intelligence;" and of many others. A great number of monasteries were also founded, especially by the Anglo-Normans, who appear to have had periodical fits of piety, after periodical temptations to replenish their coffers out of their neighbours' property. We may not quite judge their reparations as altogether insincere; for surely some atonement for evil deeds is better than an utter recklessness of future punishment.