Laurence O'Toole

O'Toole, Laurence, Saint, was born, it is said near Castledermot, in 1132. His father, Maurice O'Toole, was a chief of Hy-Muireadhaigh (the southern half of Kildare), and in consequence of a dispute with Dermot MacMurrough, was obliged to deliver Lawrence to him as a hostage. The lad was brutally treated, but was rescued and cared for by the Bishop of Glendalough, under whose influence he determined to enter the Church. He was ordained priest at an early age, and in 1157 was appointed Abbot of Glendalough, where for many years he presided over his secluded community with singular wisdom, and gathered around him many disciples. In 1161 he was appointed Archbishop of Dublin, and was consecrated next year in Christ Church. In 1167 he attended Roderic O'Conor's council at Athboy.

After the Anglo-Norman invasion he exerted all his influence to urge his countrymen to united resistance to the common enemy, and in the assault on Dublin, braved every danger — encouraging the defenders, and administering spiritual consolations to the wounded. When all hope of successful resistance was over, he gave in his adhesion to the Anglo-Normans, and in 1172 attended Henry II.'s Synod of Cashel, where many new canons were enacted for the government of the Irish Church. At his instigation Earl Strongbow added a steeple and two chapels to Christ Church Cathedral. With five other Irish prelates, he attended a council at Rome in 1179, a promise having been first exacted from him by Henry II. that he would urge nothing detrimental to the King's interests or policy in Ireland. In 1180 the Archbishop was entrusted with the delivery of the son of Roderic O'Conor to Henry II. as a hostage. He followed the King to Normandy; but taking ill almost immediately after his arrival, died at Eu, on the 14th November 1180. He was buried in the Abbey of Eu, where his relics were preserved until the French Revolution. He was canonized by Honorius III. in 1226. The Saint is described as tall and graceful in figure.


235. Martyrology of Tallaght, with Notices of of the Patron Saints of Ireland: Rev. Matthew Kelly, D.D. Dublin, 1857.

274. O'Toole, St. Laurence, Life: Rev. John O'Hanlon. Dublin, 1857.