Roman Catholic Diocese of Meath

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Diocese of Meath
Dioecesis Midensis
Deoise na Mí
Christ le Roi Mullingar.JPG
Country  Republic of Ireland
Territory Most of counties Meath, Westmeath part of Offaly along with part of counties Longford, Louth, Dublin and Cavan.
Ecclesiastical province Province of Armagh
Area 1,977 sq mi (5,120 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
267,831 (88.4%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Cathedral Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar
Patron saint St Finian
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop The Most Reverend Thomas Deenihan,
Bishop of Meath
Metropolitan Archbishop Eamon Martin
Emeritus Bishops Michael Smith
Roman Catholic Diocese of Meath map.png

The Diocese of Meath (Irish: Deoise na Mí) is a Roman Catholic diocese in eastern Ireland. It is one of eight suffragan dioceses which belong to the ecclesiastical province of Armagh. The incumbent ordinary is Thomas Deenihan, who succeeded to the title on 18 June 2018.[1]


Meath diocese covers most of counties Meath and Westmeath, part of Offaly along with part of counties Longford, Louth, Dublin and Cavan. The principal towns are Ashbourne, Drogheda, Dunboyne, Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington, Mullingar, Navan and Tullamore.

Ecclesiastical history[edit]

Early history[edit]

Although there had been abbot-bishops of Clonard since the sixth century, the diocese of Clonard proper was not formally established until 1111.[2][3][4] It was one of the twenty-four dioceses established by the Synod of Rathbreasail. The diocese covered roughly the western part of the Kingdom of Meath with the bishop's seat located at Clonard Abbey.

Lordship of Ireland[edit]

During the twelfth century the bishops of Clonard acquired most of Meath as their territory, and frequently used the title "bishop of Meath" or "bishop of the men of Meath". After Bishop Simon Rochfort transferred his seat from Clonard to Trim in 1202, the normal style became the "Bishop of Meath". From 1778 until the late 19th century it had its seat in Navan, County Meath.

19th and 20th centuries[edit]

Charles Stewart Parnell's relationship with Mrs Katharine O'Shea led to the Bishop of Meath having a letter read at masses in the diocese in condemnation of the relationship. As Parnell was popular, this caused a backlash which eventually led to the cathedral removing to Mullingar, County Westmeath permanently. The diocesan School, St. Finian's College also moved to Mullingar from Navan. The incumbent bishop is Thomas Deenihan.

The diocesan cathedral is Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar, situated near the town centre.


The following is a basic list of bishops of Meath since 1830:[5][6]

  • John Cantwell (1830–1866)
  • Thomas McNulty (1866–1898)
  • Matthew Gaffney (1899–1906)
  • Laurence Gaughran (1906–1928)
  • Thomas Mulvany (1929–1943)
  • John Francis D'Alton (1943–1946)
  • John Anthony Kyne (1947–1966)
  • John McCormack (1968–1990)
  • Michael Smith (1990–2018)
  • Thomas Deenihan (2018-present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Little, Joe (18 June 2018). "Thomas Deenihan appointed new Bishop of Meath". 
  2. ^ Cogan, Anthony (1862). The diocese of Meath: ancient and modern. 1. Dublin: J.F. Fowler. 
  3. ^ Volume 2
  4. ^ Volume 3
  5. ^ Diocese of Meath. Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  6. ^ Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 439–440. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 

External links[edit]