“It was a Profoundly Catholic Event” VII

Dublin priests 1916 Edward-J.-Byrne-John-G-OReilly

The Archdiocese of Dublin relates that

“20 priests, including a curate who would go on to become Archbishop of Dublin, were involved in ministering to those caught up in the events of Easter week on both sides of the divide.

Among the historic documents from the Diocesan Archive is an account of how over 40 people sought refuge in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral when fighting broke out in the city centre.  All around the Cathedral buildings were ablaze – the group were forced to stay inside the “Pro” for three days.  Meanwhile, the priests of the Cathedral continued to come and go from the building to be with the wounded and dying.  One Cathedral curate ran from the Pro to Wynne’s Hotel through streets raked with gunfire from all sides to attend to a wounded man who was badly injured.

Jervis Street Hospital quickly filled with the wounded and it was the busiest hospital in the city centre during the week of the Rising.  A priest was in attendance at all times to cater for the many religious needs of the wounded and dying.  The Very Rev. Fr. Richard Bowden, Administrator of the Pro Cathedral, ensured that clergy were always available.  He stayed there constantly through Monday, Tuesday and left on Wednesday morning when curates, Fr. Edward Byrne (who would later become Archbishop of Dublin) and Fr. Joseph Mc Ardle took over.

Also among the newly released documents are letters from the British General Maxwell asking for the removal of “rebellious priests”, Alice Stopford Green seeking clemency for Roger Casement & Fr. Laurence Stafford speaking about being the last Irishman in Frongoch”.


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