New Bishop Delany Memorial
Mountrath, Ireland


Mountrath is the home and more of our founder Bishop Delany, and to commemorate that fact the Mountrath Development Association has recently unveiled a memorial to him. It is placed on the wall on the Rushin Road at the top end of the town. Photo: The inscription reads: Dr. Daniel Delany, Paddock, 1747-1814, Founder of the Brigidine Sisters and the Patrician Brothers . And the bridge on which the memorial has been placed.)]

Daniel Delany was born in 1747 in the Townsland of Paddock but a very short distance - no more than 3kms - north-west of the town centre. He spent the first ten years of his life there and then moved to Mountrath to live with his aunts. This enabled him to receive some private tuition from both a priest and a Protestant. He remained in the town until he was sixteen when he was smuggled away to France to study for the priesthood, something you could not do in the then Protestant controlled Ireland.

After fourteen years away he returned a very educated and cultured thirty year old priest. He was set to work in Tullow which is seventy kilometres south-east of Mountrath.

In 1787 Daniel Delany became the bishop of Kildare and Leighlin which included Mountrath and he very quickly made Mountrath the third most important town in his diocese, third after Tullow and Carlow.

It was in Mountrath that Bishop Delany commenced the building of his first church. It did not open until 1808 but it had been started in 1795, three years before a start had been made on his church in Tullow. In 1809 he had his Brigidine Sisters establish a community in Mountrath, and in 1810 a community of his Patrician Brothers. Both quickly established schools in the town. Brigidines and Patricians still reside in Mountrath today.

So, apart from being a son of Mountrath, Bishop Delany also played a significant role in the story of the Catholic Church and Catholic education there.

Mountrath has perhaps been a little slow in acknowledging this son of theirs, school boys and girls on the other side of the globe perhaps knowing much more about him than the school boys and girls of Mountrath. But with the Brigidine and Patrician bicentenaries of foundation in 2007 and 2008 respectively things started to change, especially when the Bennett family, on whose land stood the childhood home of Bishop Delany, decided to repair the ruin themselves. (The Brothers note with sympathy the passing of Mr Peter Bennett last January. Our condolences to his wife Agnes and family. May he rest in peace.)

Congratulations and thank you then to the Mountrath Development Association for the installation of this memorial. May it encourage the people of Mountrath to be proud of their son whose religious sons and daughters have carried the Gospel and the freedom of education all around the globe.

(Thank you to Br Dermot Dunne, a proud Mountrath boy, for fine-tuning the information given in these paragraphs.)