Pádraig de Brún

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Pádraig Monsignor de Brún
Born(1889-10-13)13 October 1889
Died5 June 1960(1960-06-05) (aged 70)
EducationRockwell College, Holy Cross College, Royal University of Ireland, National University of Ireland, Irish College in Paris, Sorbonne
Occupation(s)Catholic Priest, mathematician and classical scholar
ParentMaurice Browne
RelativesMichael Cardinal Browne (brother), Seán MacEntee (brother in law), Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Maurice Browne (brother)

Pádraig Monsignor de Brún (13 October 1889 – 5 June 1960), also called Patrick Joseph Monsignor Browne, was an Irish clergyman, mathematician, poet, and classical scholar, who served as President of University College, Galway (UCG). He was also known in friendly informal circles as Paddy Browne.


De Brún was born at Grangemockler, County Tipperary, in 1889, the son of a primary school teacher, Maurice Browne.[1] He was educated locally, at Rockwell College, Cashel, and at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, Dublin (at both he was tutored in mathematics by Éamon de Valera[2]). in 1909 he was awarded a BA from the Royal University of Ireland, he was awarded an M.A. degree by the National University of Ireland, and won a travelling scholarship in mathematics and mathematical physics, enabling him to pursue further studies in Paris. He was ordained as a Catholic priest at the Irish College in Paris in 1913, the same year he earned his D.Sc. in mathematics from the Sorbonne under Emile Picard.[citation needed]

Pádraig de Brún (as he then was, 2nd from left) at Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in 1942

After a period at the University of Göttingen, de Brún was appointed professor of mathematics at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, in 1914. In April 1945, he was elected by the Senate of the National University of Ireland to succeed John Hynes as President of University College, Galway, an office he held until his retirement in 1959. The School of Mathematics, Mathematical Physics and Statistics is based in Áras de Brún, a building named in his honour. He subsequently became Chairman of the Arts Council of Ireland, a position he held until his death in 1960. He also served as chairman of the Council of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.[citation needed]

He was close friend of the executed 1916 leader Seán Mac Diarmada.[citation needed]

De Brún was a prolific writer of poetry, including the well-known poem in the Irish language "Tháinig Long ó Valparaiso". He translated into Irish many classical works, including Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Sophocles' Antigone and Oedipus Rex, and Plutarch's Lives, as well as Dante's The Divine Comedy.[citation needed]

The French Government awarded de Brún the title of Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1949, and in 1956, the order Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana was conferred on him by the President of Italy. He was created a domestic prelate (a Monsignor) by the Pope in 1950.[citation needed]

Monsignor de Brún died in Dublin on 5 June 1960. His brother was His Eminence Michael Cardinal Browne. His sister, Margaret Browne, married the Irish revolutionary and statesman Seán MacEntee with whom she had a daughter, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, who became an Irish language poet scholar and married Conor Cruise O'Brien. He bought land in Dún Chaoin in the County Kerry Gaeltacht, and in the 1920s he built a house there, where his sister's children would stay.[3]

The Big Sycamore (1958)[4] is a fictionalised account of the early life of the Browne family, written (under the pen-name Joseph Brady) by his brother, Maurice Browne.[5]


Preceded by
Monsignor John Hynes
President of University College Galway
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Pádraig De Brún www.ainm.ie
  2. ^ Monsignor Padraig de Brun by Thomas MacGreevy, Original Source: Italy Speaks. July 1960. pp. 8-9.
  3. ^ One to One - Maire Cruise O'Brien with Cathal MacCoille, www.rte.ie.
  4. ^ Joseph Brady (aka Maurice Browne) (1958). The Big Sycamore. M.H. Gill, Dublin. ASIN B000RHST5Y. OCLC 1999792. Retrieved 3 September 2014. Autobiographical and fictionalized account of an Irish family, the Fitzgeralds. {{cite book}}: External link in |quote= (help)
  5. ^ Matt Purcell (1997). "Monsignor Maurice Browne". Retrieved 3 September 2014.

External links[edit]

Pádraig de Brún's poem Valparaiso