Laurence F. Renehan

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Rev. Dr. Laurence F. Renehan.

Rev. Dr. Laurence F. Renehan (1797–1857) was an Irish Roman Catholic priest. He served as president of St Patrick's College, Maynooth in County Kildare, Ireland, from 1845 through 1857. (St. Patrick's College is now formally the Pontifical University and National Seminary of Ireland, but is better known simply as Maynooth College. As such, it shares a campus and works in close cooperation with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.)


He was born in 1797 at Longford Pass in the parish of Gurtnahoe, Tipperary. He was educated first at Freshfield, and afterwards at Kilkenny. In September 1819 he entered Maynooth College to study logic, and in 1825 was elected a Dunboyne student. On 15 September of the same year he was appointed junior dean, and a few weeks later was ordained priest. On 27 July 1827 he was elected professor of scripture, and he held this chair till June 1834, when he reluctantly accepted the post of vice-president. From 4 June 1841 to 24 June 1843 he also filled the office of bursar, and succeeded in extricating the college from financial difficulties. In 1845, on the resignation of the Very Rev. Michael Montague, Renehan became president of Maynooth, retaining the position until his death on 27 July 1857.[1] Renehan was succeeded at St. Patrick's by Charles William Russell.


Renehan commissioned the architect Augustus Pugin, a friend, to build the elaborate and beautiful buildings ("St. Mary's Square") that still dominate the South Campus at Maynooth. A large meeting-room at Maynooth is named in Renehan's honor. He lies buried in a small cemetery on the campus.


Renehan was closely associated with the Irish historian and antiquarian John O'Donovan (1803-1861). A massive volume upon which Renehan had labored for years, Collections on Irish Church History, Vol. 1: Irish Archbishops, received editing after his death by his colleague Daniel McCarthy and was published 1861 by C.M. Warren and Thomas Richardson, Dublin. This book remains a much-cited reference.

Renehan was also a historian of the development of Catholicism in Ireland.[2] Renehan's extensive private collection of early Irish Church manuscripts constitutes 79 volumes of material currently housed in Maynooth's Russell Library.

He was the author of Requiem Office and a Choir Manual of Sacred Music, in addition to a short History of Music.[1] (see external links)


  1. ^ a b  "Renehan, Laurence". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ Some figures from the past, Maynooth College website, accessed 22 August 2007

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