Thomas Troy (1786 – 1823)

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Name: Troy, John Thomas


Reference Code: IE/DDA/AB2
Title: Papers of Archbishop John Thomas Troy O.P.
Dates: 1786-1823
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent: 11 boxes & 5 letter books

Digital Archive Collection: Troy Catalogue


John Thomas Troy was born at Annefield House, Porterstown, Dublin in 1739.  He came from a ‘well to do’ family with his father owning lands in Porterstown and Kellytown.  He was the eldest of four boys and three girls.  At a young age he went to live at the family townhouse in Smithfield and attended school on Liffey Street.  At the age of sixteen he joined the Dominican Order in Dublin.  Six months later he was sent to study at San Clemente, Rome.  He remained there for twenty-one years.

In 1776 he was appointed Bishop of Ossory.  On the death of Archbishop Carpenter in 1786, he was transferred to Dublin.    He served as Archbishop for 37 years and died on 11 May 1823.


Archbishop Troy lived through many important political events both at home and abroad. Some of those which influenced changes in Irish society included the Whiteboy troubles, the repeal of many of the penal laws, the French Revolution, the 1798 Rebellion, the Act of Union, the Emmet Rising, the Napoleonic Wars and the founding of Maynooth College. In his position as Archbishop he engaged with public figures such as Henry Grattan, Luke Gardiner, John Philpott Curran, Lord Castlereagh and Daniel O’Connell.  The 1798 Rebellion was condemned by the Irish Bishops who feared the atrocities which would follow.  Despite the condemnation, the government did not believe the bishops and correspondence passed between Troy and the Castle.  Again after the Emmet Rising of 1803, Troy was accused of knowing in advance what was going to happen.  He received a few summonses from the Castle and when he responded by going there, the public misinterpreted this as collusion.

Troy was very aware of the difficulties facing his clergy and his people.  In 1788 he undertook a full visitation of the diocese.  In addition to this, the clergy were obliged to send in regular accounts of their parishes.  These mainly focused on the number of Catholic and Protestant families living there, estimates of communicants and converts, recorded baptisms and marriages and any information regarding education.  He issued pastoral instructions in relation to the behaviour of clergy and religious practices.  Times of worship were regulated, midnight mass was forbidden and priests were instructed not to attend concerts, hunts or the races.  Priests were also obliged to attend regular meetings and one day seminars, absence from which meant the imposition of a fine.  For the ordinary people, he oversaw the development of Confraternities and by the time of his death, each parish had at least one.

Correspondence with the Duke of Leinster, owner of the Maynooth Lands and with Dublin Castle, occupied much of his work between 1790 and 1796.  Maynooth was established during his episcopacy and many of its professors and teachers had previously worked in the Irish colleges in France, which were closed as a result of the French Revolution. Among these was Dr. Flood, who later became President of the College.

He also wrote several letters to Bishop Carroll, the Irish born prelate in Baltimore and to prelates in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec.  All were looking for priests for the many Irish Catholics living there and despite a shortage in Dublin, Troy always managed to find someone willing to go.

In 1808, the Archbishop asked permission from Rome to appoint a co-adjutor.  He was 75 years old.  Daniel Murray was appointed to this position.  Their partnership served the diocese very successfully.  Religious orders, both male and female, witnessed unprecedented growth.  Even though Troy was handing over more of the work to Murray, he was still seen as Rome’s trusted advisor in Ireland and this can be seen from the increased communication with the Holy See from 1814 onwards.

Troy’s last big achievement was the building of the Pro-Cathedral.  The site at Marlborough Street was purchased in 1803 but progress was exceptionally slow.  The foundation stone was finally laid by Daniel Murray in 1815 but by 1821 it remained unfinished and funds were exhausted.  Archbishop Troy continued with his work, including fund-raising to finish the cathedral, up the time of his death in 1823.  His obsequies took place there in 1823 and he was finally laid to rest in its vaults in 1824.


Access: Available by appointment only
Language: English and Latin
Finding Aid: Descriptive Catalogue

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