Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gallagher, James

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GALLAGHER, JAMES (d. 1751), bishop, was a member of the Ulster sept of O'Galchobhair, anglicised Gallagher. He entered the priesthood of the Roman catholic church, and was, at Drogheda, in November 1725 consecrated bishop of Raphoe, Donegal. In 1735 he published at Dublin seventeen ‘Irish Sermons, in an easy and familiar style, on useful and necessary subjects, in English characters, as being the more familiar to the generality of our Irish clergy.’ In his preface the author mentioned that he had composed those discourses principally for the use of his fellow-labourers, to be preached to their respective flocks, as his repeated troubles debarred him ‘of the comfort of delivering them in person.’ He added: ‘I have made them in an easy and familiar style, and of purpose omitted cramp expressions which be obscure to both the preacher and hearer. Nay, instead of such, I have sometimes made use of words borrowed from the English which practice and daily conversation have intermixed with our language.’ By propaganda in May 1737 Gallagher was translated from the bishopric of Raphoe to that of Kildare, and in the same year he was appointed administrator of the diocese of Leighlin. In April 1741 Gallagher, then at Paris, gave a certificate in commendation of a treatise, in Irish and English, on the Christian doctrine, composed by Andrew Donlevy, D.D., director of an Irish community in that city. This work, with Gallagher's certificate prefixed, was printed in the following year at Paris by James Guerin. Gallagher succeeded in evading the penal laws against Roman catholic ecclesiastics, and died in May 1751. Several editions of his sermons were published, the latest of which was that issued at Dublin in 1877, with an English translation.

[Works of Sir J. Ware, 1746; Hibernia Dominicana, 1762; Transactions of Iberno-Celtic Society, 1820; Brady's Episcopal Succession, 1876; Comerford's Collections on Kildare and Leighlin, 1883.]

J. T. G.