Bishop of Limerick
The Bishop of Limerick is an episcopal title which takes its name after the city of Limerick in the Province of Munster, Ireland. In the Roman Catholic Church it still continues as a separate title, but in the Church of Ireland it has been united with other bishoprics.
The diocese of Limerick is one of the twenty-four dioceses established at the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1111. After the Reformation, there are parallel apostolic successions: one of the Church of Ireland and the other of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the Church of Ireland, Limerick continued as a separate title when it was combined with Ardfert and Aghadoe to form the united bishopric of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe in 1661. Since 1976, the Church of Ireland see has been part of the united bishopric of Limerick and Killaloe.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Limerick still remains as a separate title. The most recent bishop was the Most Reverend Donal Murray, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limerick who was appointed by the Holy See on 10 February 1996 and enthroned at St John's Cathedral, Limerick on 24 March 1996. His resignation from this see was accepted on 17 December 2009. On 10 January 2013, Brendan Leahy was appointed bishop-elect of Limerick by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pre-Reformation bishops 
|List of Pre-Reformation Bishops of Limerick|
|c.1106||1140||Gilli alias Gilla Espaic||Consecrated circa 1106; presided as papal legate at the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1111; resigned 1140; died 1145; also known as Gilbert|
|1140||1148||Patricius||Consecrated at Canterbury in 1140 and took an oath of fealty there, however, his name does not occur in any Irish record; died after December 1148|
|c.1140||1151||Erolb||Probably a successful rivil of Patricius; governed the see from circa 1140 until his death in 1151; possibly also known as Harold|
|bef.1152||1167||Torgesius||Present at the Synod of Kells in March 1152; died in office|
|bef.1167||c.1186/89||Brictius||Became bishop before 1167; assisted at the Third Council of the Lateran in 1179 and 1180; died sometime between 1186 and 1189|
|bef.1190||1207||Donnchad Ua Briain||Became bishop before 1190; died before 5 December 1207; also known as Donatus|
|1207||(Geoffrey)||Rector of Dungarvan; nominated by King John on 5 December 1207, but no evidence he was validly elected or consecrated|
|1208/15||1222||Edmund||Became bishop before July 1215, and probably governed the see from circa 1208; died in office|
|1223||1250||Hubert de Burgo, O.S.A.||Formerly Prior of Athassel; became custodian of the diocese 11 March 1223 and elected bishop before 7 May 1224; received possession of the temporalities circa 21 April 1225; died 14 September 1250|
|1251||1272||Robert of Emly||Elected before 11 April 1251 and received possession of the temporalities 6 January 1252; died 8 September 1272|
|1273||1302||Gerald le Mareshall||Formerly Archdeacon of Limerick; elected bishop before 11 January 1273 and received possession of the temporalities 17 January 1273; died 10 February 1302|
|1302||1311||Robert de Dundonald||Formerly a Canon of Limerick; elected bishop before 2 May 1302 and received possession of the temporalities 30 July 1302; died 3 May 1311|
|1312||1336||Eustace de l'Eau||Formerly Dean of Limerick; elected bishop circa 20 November 1312 and received possession of the temporalities after 1 December 1312; died 3 May 1336; also known as Eustace de Aqua|
|1336||1353||Maurice de Rochfort||Elected before 7 November 1336 and received possession of the temporalities on that date; consecrated 6 April 1337; died 9 June 1353; also known as Maurice de Rupe|
|1354||1359||Stephen Lawless||Formerly Chancellor of Limerick; appointed bishop 19 February 1354; consecrated before 7 April 1354; received possession of the temporalities 29 April 1354; died 28 December 1359|
|1360||1369||Stephen Wall||Formerly Dean of Limerick; elected bishop before 6 November 1360 and appointed on that date; received possession of the temporalities 2 March 1361; translated to Meath 19 February 1369; also known as Stephen de Valle|
|1369||c.1399||Peter Curragh||Appointed 19 February 1369; received possession of the temporalities 10 February 1370; translated to Ross circa 1399|
|c.1399||(Bernardus Ó Conchobhair)||Translated from Ross circa 1399, but did not take effect|
|1400||1434||Conchobhar Ó Deadhaidh, O.F.M.||Formerly Archdeacon of Killaloe; appointed bishop 26 May 1400; resigned before October 1425; died 27 July 1434; also known as Cornelius O’Dea|
|1426||1458||John Mothel, O.S.A.||Formerly a Canon of Kells; appointed bishop 7 October 1426; received possession of the temporalities 23 January 1427; resigned circa April 1458; died 1468|
|1456||Thomas Leger, O.S.A.||Appointed 10 May 1456 whilst John Mothel was still bishop; deprived 23 November 1456|
|1458||1469||William Creagh||Appointed 19 April 1458; died before July 1469; also known as William Russell|
|1469||1486||Thomas Arthur||Appointed 14 July and consecrated 10 September 1469; died 19 July 1486|
|1486||Richard Stakpoll||Appointed 18 September 1486, but was made void by the appointment of Dunowe; died before 20 November 1486|
|1486||1489||John Dunowe||Formerly a Canon of Exeter; appointed bishop 13 November 1486; acted as a suffragan bishop in the diocese of Exeter 1489; died before April 1489|
|1489||1522||John Folan||Formerly a Canon of Ferns; appointed bishop 24 April 1489; died 30 January 1522; also known as John O'Phelan|
|1524||1551||John Quin, O.P. [A]||Appointed 21 October 1524 and consecrated before 3 January 1525; resigned 9 April 1551; died 1554 (or 1555); also known as John Coyn or Seaán Ó Cuinn|
Post-Reformation bishops 
Church of Ireland succession 
|List of Church of Ireland Bishops of Limerick|
|1551||1556||William Casey||Formerly Rector of Kilcornan; nominated bishop by King Edward VI on 6 July 1551 and consecrated at Dublin on 25 October 1551; deprived by Queen Mary I in 1556|
|1556||1571||Hugh Lacy [B]||Formerly a Canon of Limerick; appointed bishop 24 November 1556; deprived 8 May 1571; died 1580; also known as Hugh de Lacey or Lees|
|1571||1591||William Casey (again)||Restored by Queen Elizabeth I on 8 May 1571; died on 7 February 1591|
|apptd. 1588||(Denis Campbell)||Dean of Limerick; appointed coadjutor bishop in 1588 to Bishop Casey; Campbell was later nominated to be bishop of Derry, Raphoe and Clogher in 1603, but died before consecration in July 1603|
|1594||1603||John Thornborough||Formerly Dean of York; nominated 20 September 1593 and appointed by letters patent 9 January 1594; translated to Bristol 4 July 1603; also known as John Thornburgh|
|1604||1626||Bernard Adams||Nominated 5 August 1603 and consecrated April 1604; also held Kilfenora in commendam from 1606 to 1617; died 22 March 1626|
|1626||1634||Francis Gough||Formerly Chancellor of Limerick; nominated 18 April and consecrated 17 September 1626; died 29 August 1634|
|1634||1642||George Webb||Formerly Chaplain-in-Ordinary to King Charles II; nominated bishop 6 October and consecrated 18 December 1634; died as a prisoner at the castle in Limerick on 22 June 1642|
|1643||1649||Robert Sibthorp||Translated from Kilfenora; nominated 7 April 1643; died in April 1649|
|1660||1661||Edward Synge||Formerly Dean of Elphin; nominated bishop 6 August 1660; became Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe in 1661|
|In 1661, the Church of Ireland see became part of the united bishopric of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe.|
Roman Catholic succession 
|List of Roman Catholic Bishops of Limerick|
|1556||1580||Hugh Lacy [C]||Formerly a Canon of Limerick; appointed 24 November 1556; received special faculties for the province of Cashel in the absence of the archbishop on 3 May 1575; died 1580|
|1582||1591||Cornelius O'Boyle||Appointed 20 August 1582; died after 1591|
|apptd. 1602||Richard Cadan||Appointed vicar apostolic by papal brief 22 February 1602|
|1620||1646||Richard Arthur||Named as vicar general of Limerick in a government report in 1613, and as bishop-elect in a later report 1617; appointed 18 May 1620 and consecrated September 1623; died 23 May 1646|
|1646||1654||Edmund O'Dwyer||Appointed coadjutor bishop (with right of succession) 6 February and consecrated 7 May 1645; succeeded 23 May 1646; died 5 April 1654|
|1657||1685||James Dowley||Appointed vicar apostolic by papal brief 17 April 1657 and again 31 July 1669; appointed bishop 4 May 1676 and by papal brief 8 March 1677; died circa January 1685|
|1698||1702||John O'Mollony||Translated from Killaloe 24 January 1689, but continued as Apostolic Administrator of Killaloe 1689-1702; died 3 September 1702|
|1720||1737||Cornelius Ó Caoimh||Appointed 7 March 1720; died 4 May 1737|
|1737||1759||Robert Lacy||Appointed 30 August 1737 and consecrated 23 February 1638; died 4 August 1759|
|1759||1778||Daniel O'Kearney||Appointed 27 November 1759 and consecrated 27 January 1760; died 24 January 1778|
|(1778)||(John Butler, S.J.)||Appointed 10 April 1778, but was not accepted|
|1779||1796||Denis Conway||Appointed 25 February and consecrated 20 June 1779; died 19 June 1796|
|1796||1813||John Young||Appointed coadjutor bishop (with right of succession) 4 January and consecrated 20 May 1793; succeeded 19 June 1796; died 22 September 1813|
|1814||1828||Charles Tuohy||Appointed 1 October 1814 and consecrated 23 April 1815; died 17 March 1828|
|1828||1864||John Ryan||Appointed coadjutor bishop (with right of succession) 31 September and consecrated 11 December 1825; succeeded 17 March 1828; died 6 June 1864|
|1864||1886||George Butler||Appointed 10 June and consecrated 25 July 1861; succeeded 6 June 1864; died 3 February 1886|
|1886||1917||Edward Thomas O'Dwyer||Appointed 18 May and consecrated 29 June 1886; died 19 August 1917|
|1918||1923||Denis Hallinan||Appointed 10 January and consecrated 10 March 1918; died 2 July 1923|
|1923||1945||David Keane||Appointed 24 December 1923 and consecrated 2 March 1924; died 12 March 1945|
|1945||1958||Patrick O'Neill||Appointed 15 December 1945 and consecrated 24 February 1946; died 26 March 1958|
|1958||1973||Henry Murphy||Appointed 1 July and consecrated 31 August 1958; died 8 October 1973|
|1974||1995||Jeremiah Newman||Appointed 17 May and consecrated 14 July 1974; died 3 April 1995|
|1994||1996||(John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne)||Acted as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Limerick from July 1994 to March 1996.|
|1996||2009||Donal Brendan Murray||Previously Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and Titular Bishop of Glenndálocha 1982-1996; appointed bishop of Limerick on 10 February 1996 and installed at St John's Cathedral, Limerick on 24 March 1996; resignation accepted 17 December 2009|
- A Some sources state that John Quin resigned by consequences of his infirmities. However, another source states he was forced to resign by King Edward VI in 1551, but was restored by Queen Mary I in 1553.
- B C Hugh Lacy became bishop of both successions when they were briefly reunited in the reign of Queen Mary I. After the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, he was deprived of the Church of Ireland title in 1571, but continued with the Roman Catholic title until his death in 1580.
- Bishop Donal Murray. Diocese of Limerick. Retrieved on 19 September 2009.
- Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 365–366. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
- Cotton, Henry (1851). The Succession of the Prelates and Members of the Cathedral Bodies of Ireland. Fasti ecclesiae Hiberniae. Vol. 1, The Province of Munster (2nd Edition, corrected and enlarged ed.). Dublin: Hodges and Smith. pp. 376–381.
- Fryde, ibid., pp. 400-401.
- Cotton, ibid., pp. 381-385.
- "Most Rev. John Magee". Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- Fryde, ibid., pp. 337-438.
- Diocese of Limerick. Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved on 19 September 2009.
- Cotton, ibid., p. 381.
- Courthorpe, William, ed. (1836). Debrett's Complete Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (Twenty-first ed.). London: Printed for J.G. & F. Rivington; etc. p. 489.
- Fryde, ibid., p. 437.
Further reading 
- Begley, John, The Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Medieval. Dublin: Browne & Nolan, 1906.
- Gillebert of Limerick:the Prelate's Present to the Primate of England, John Lucey, North Munster Antiquarian Journal 6, 2006, pp. 5–14
- 'Bishops' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland
- 'Bishop Richard Arthur' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland
- 'Bishop Jeremiah Newman' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland
- 'Bishop Terence Albert O'Brien' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland
- 'Bishop Cornelius O'Dea' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland
- 'Bishop Edward Thomas O'Dwyer' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland