Crolly, William (DNB00)

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CROLLY, WILLIAM, D.D. (1780–1849), catholic archbishop of Armagh, was born at Ballykilbeg, co. Down, on 8 June 1780, and received his education at a grammar school kept by Dr. Nelson, a unitarian, and Mr. Doran, a catholic. In 1801 he entered Maynooth; he was ordained priest in 1806, and for six years he was a professor in the college. In 1812 he was appointed parish priest of Belfast, a position rendered delicate by the local prejudices against catholicism. It is stated that during the first seven years of his ministry he received one thousand converts into the Roman church. On 1 May 1825 he was consecrated bishop of Down and Connor.

He was translated to the archiepiscopal see of Armagh and the primacy of Ireland by propaganda on 7 April 1835. He was one of the commissioners of charitable bequests, and in accepting that office, in conjunction with Dr. Murray and Dr. Denvir, he incurred a large share of odium, from which, however, he never shrank, notwithstanding that the opposition against him was led by O'Connell in person. He died at Drogheda on 6 April 1849, and was buried in the catholic cathedral of Armagh.

His biography, by the Rev. George Crolly (Dublin, 1852, 8vo), contains numerous anecdotes illustrative of the times in which he lived.

[Shirley's Cat. of the Library at Lough Fea, p. 81; Brady's Episcopal Succession, i. 232, 274; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, p. 105; Gent. Mag. new ser. xxxi. 539.]

T. C.