R. J. Kelly, A Patriot Prelate, The Late Most. Rev. Dr. Duggan, Bishop of Clonfert 1872-1896, 1917


Cat No.:   IE0116:

First published in Dublin in 1917 by the Catholic Truth Society and republished here on fully-searchable CD-Rom is A Patriot Prelate: The Late Most Rev. Dr. Duggan, Bishop of Clonfert, 1872-1896.

This little pamphlet, amounting to forty-eight printed pages, was introduced by its author, R. J. Kelly, K. C., as a sketch of the life of Rev. Dr. Patrick Duggan, who was described on the frontis piece of the pamphlet as a 'hero and a saint'. This appellation was given by Sir Wilfred Scawen Blunt who new Duggan intimately during his time in Ireland when both men were personally involved in the Land War that was ravaging the country in the late 1880s. Writing in 1912 in the fourth volume of his biography entitled The Land War in Ireland, Blunt provides an intimate portrait of the man who became known as the 'Patriot Prelate'. When Blunt first met Duggan in the Summer of 1888 Duggan was Bishop of Clonfert and was described by Blunt as the 'most wonderful and enchanting old man I have seen for many years. A venerable and altogether simple personage, with straggling white hair and cassock, much bedabbled with snuff' Duggan was held in high esteem by many of the leaders of the Tenants' Rights movement from William O'Brien, to Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt. Blunt records that when speaking of Davitt a smile broke out on Duggan's face as if he had spoken of a saint. This respect was mutual and after repeating a conversation he had had with Blunt, Duggan had told the Bishop that he had been called a 'Fenian and a Saint', which appeared to have pleased the old priest.

The esteem and respect shown to Duggan by the likes of Davitt, Blunt and Parnell was a long time in the making. Born in 1813 at Cummer, Co. Galway, Duggan was ordained in 1841 as curate of the parish of Kilmoylan and Cummer. It was here that he witnessed the ravages wrought by the Famine on his congregation when he witnessed sights that were never to leave him and would influence much of his later actions and attitudes to the British Administration in Ireland. Elevated to the Bishopric of Clonfert at the beginning of 1872 and in the same year he openly supported the pro-tenant-rights candidate Captain J.P. Nolan in the County Galway by-election. Although Nolan won the election the result was declared void due to Duggan's undue clerical influence and Duggan and others found themselves involved in a lengthy and costly legal battle at the Court of Common Pleas. The case collapsed and Duggan was acquitted. A decade later Duggan openly supported the Home Rule movement at which time he was asked by Michael Cusack and others to become the patron for the planned Gaelic Athletic Association. Duggan declined due to ill health and suggest Thomas Croke, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in his stead.

The Patriot Prelate describes all of the major events in Duggan's life from his ordination, his Famine Experiences and involvement in both the campaigns for Tenants' Rights and Home Rule and well as a number of passages of reminiscences by those closely associated with the Bishop. A very readable sketch of the life of this influential and important priest. 

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

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