Edward Joseph Byrne
Byrne was born in Dublin to Edward and Eleanor (née Maguire) Byrne. His father was a farmer from County Wicklow. There were three children in the family, all boys, and Edward was the only one not to die in infancy. He went to Belvedere College and Holy Cross College, Clonliffe before completing his studies at the Irish College, Rome. He was ordained a priest on 8 June 1895 at St. John Lateran. His first post was as curate to Rush, County Dublin from 1895–98. He then moved to Kilsallaghan and Rolestown from 1898–99. The following year he spent at Howth before moving to Blackrock. He was appointed Vice Rector of the Irish College, Rome from 1901–1904 and returned as a curate to the Pro-Cathedral where he remained until 1920.
Bryne was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and Titular Bishop of Pegae by Pope Benedict XV on 19 August 1920. He was ordained a bishop by Archbishop William Walsh at the Pro-Cathedral on 28 October of the same year. He was translated as Archbishop of Dublin and thus Primate of Ireland on 29 August 1921. His motto was: "In Te Domine Speravi." He was later appointed Assistant at the Pontifical Throne and named a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Malta.
Byrne became Archbishop at a critical time in Irish history. During his early years as Archbishop, at the time of the Irish Civil War, he tried to bring about peace by calling a conference of the leaders, but no basis for agreement could be found. Arguing that the majority of the Irish people supported the Treaty, he advised de Valera not to split the Sinn Féin party, even if he was defeated in the Dáil; however, this advice was ignored. Byrne objected to the execution of Erskine Childers and other anti-Treaty supporters, and the policy of reprisals by both parties. After the hostilities ended, while he still maintained an interest in political matters, he was, and became, much more interested in the spiritual well-being of his flock. Byrne was very involved with the pastoral workings of the diocese and was extremely interested in the changing social conditions. He had a parish of over 20,000 people, many of whom were living in sub-standard conditions, and who had to be re-housed in new estates in the suburbs. He supervised the provision of schools and churches to serve the new parishes created and viewed all his work from a spiritual angle and was considered a wise and prudent ruler. Two major events can be seen as the highlights of his episcopacy, namely the centenary of Catholic Emancipation in 1929 and the Eucharistic Congress of 1932.
He was afflicted with a wasting muscular disease through the 1930s, but remained as Archbishop until his death. He is buried in the vaults at the Pro-Cathedral.
- Morrissey, Thomas J. (2010). Edward J. Byrne (1872–1941), The Forgotten Archbishop of Dublin. Dublin: The Columba Press. ISBN 978-1-85607-703-3.
- Diocese archivist (2010). "Edward Byrne (1921–1940)". Archives (Papers of Archbishop Edward Byrne). Archdiocese of Dublin (Ard-Deoise Bhaile Átha Cliath). Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- Morrisey, 2010
William Joseph Walsh
|Archbishop of Dublin
John Charles McQuaid