Leahy, Patrick (DNB00)

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LEAHY, PATRICK (1806–1875), archbishop of Cashel, son of Patrick Leahy, civil engineer and county surveyor of Cork, was born near Thurles, co. Tipperary, on 31 May 1806, and was educated at Maynooth. On his ordination he became Roman catholic curate of a small parish in the diocese of Cashel. He was soon appointed professor in St. Patrick's College at Thurles, and shortly afterwards president of that institution. On 22 Aug. 1850 he was one of the secretaries of the synod or national council of Thurles, and was afterwards appointed parish priest of Thurles and vicar-general of the diocese of Cashel. When the catholic university was opened in Dublin in 1854, he was selected for the office of vice-rector under Dr. J. H. (afterwards Cardinal) Newman, the rector, and filled a professor's chair. He was elected archbishop of Cashel 27 April 1857 and consecrated on 29 June. In 1866 and 1867 he was deputed, with the Bishop of Clonfert, to conduct the negotiations with Lord Mayo, the chief secretary for Ireland, with respect to the proposed endowment of the Roman catholic university. He was a strong advocate of the cause of temperance, and enforced the Sunday closing of the public-houses in his diocese. Owing to his energy the fine cathedral at Thurles was built at a cost of 45,000l. He died at the episcopal residence near Thurles 26 Jan. 1875, and was buried in Thurles Cathedral on 3 Feb. He was remarkable for his dignified bearing and uniform courtesy.

[Times, 27 Jan. 1875, p. 12, 28 Jan. p. 12; Illustrated London News, 6 Feb. 1875, p. 139; Cashel Gazette, 30 Jan. and 6, 13 Feb. 1875; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878, p. 287.]

G. C. B.