Edward Byrne (1921 – 1940)

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Name: Byrne, Edward


Reference Code: IE/DDA/AB7
Title: Papers of Archbishop Edward Byrne
Dates: 1921-1940
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent: 91 boxes approximately


Edward J. Byrne was born on 10 May 1872 in Dublin.  His parents were Edward Byrne and Eleanor Maguire.  There were three children in the family, all boys, and Edward was the only one not to die in infancy. He went to Belvedere College and Holy Cross College, Clonliffe before completing his studies at the Irish College, Rome.  He was ordained on 8 June 1895 at St. John Lateran.  His first post was as Curate to Rush, Co. Dublin from 1895-98.  He then moved to Killsallaghan and Rolestown from 1898-99.  The following year he spent at Howth before moving to Blackrock.  He was appointed Vice Rector of the Irish College, Rome from 1901-1904 and returned as a Curate to the Pro-Cathedral where he remained until 1920.  He was appointed Titular Bishop of Spigaz and Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin on 19 August 1920.  He was ordained bishop at the Pro-Cathedral on 28 October of the same year.  He was translated as Archbishop of Dublin on 29 August 1921.  His motto was ‘In Te Domine Speravi’.  He was appointed assistant at the Pontifical Throne and named a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Malta. He remained as Archbishop until his death on 9 February 1940.  He is buried in the vaults at the Pro-Cathedral.


Edward Byrne became Archbishop at a critical time in Irish history.  During his early years as Archbishop, he tried to bring about peace by calling a conference of the leaders but no basis for agreement could be found.  While he still maintained an interest in political matters, he was, and became, much more interested in the spiritual well-being of his flock.

Byrne was very involved with the pastoral workings of the diocese and was extremely interested in the changing social conditions.  He was involved in the provision of schools and churches to serve his people and viewed all his work from a spiritual angle and was considered a wise and prudent ruler.

Two major events can be seen as the highlights of his episcopacy, namely the Centenary of Catholic Emancipation in 1929 and the Eucharistic Congress of 1932.

His collection of papers includes correspondence relating to his family, government, lay organisations, hospitals, religious orders, priests, education and especially the Eucharistic Congress of 1932.

Access: Available by appointment only
Language: English and occasional Latin
Finding Aid: No descriptive catalogue currently available

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