The word Martyr in its original meaning meant 'witness'.Over time it was the
term given to those people who were willing to give witness to their faith even
During the 16th and 17th. centuries in Ireland the
Catholic Religion was under persecution and many people made the ultimate
sacrifice. The names of most of these people were never recorded. The first
catalogue of Irish Martyrs was compiled between 1588 and 1599 by Fr. John
Houling. This list was added to by an Donegal Franciscan Bishop, Cornelius
O'Devany. O'Devany, himself, was imprisoned and killed and is now listed as one
of the martyrs.
In the early years of the 20th. Century an attempt was made to
catalogue details of 260 martyrs in order to have them declared Saints. Such was
the volume of documentation involved that the task proved impossible.
In 1975 the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Dermot Ryan, established a
commision that concentrated on the details of just seventeen of these martys.
The merit of their case was accepted by the Vatican and they were formally
declared 'Blessed' by Pope John Paul II in 1992.
The seventeen Irish Martyrs are:
- Bishop Patrick O' Healy
- Fr. Conn O'Rourke
- Margaret Bermingham
- Dr. Dermot O'Hurley
- Fr. Maurice MacKenraghty
- Dominic Collins
- Bishop Cornelius O'Devany
- Fr.Patrick O'Loughran
- Francis Taylor
- Fr. Peter Higgins
- Bishop Terence Albert O'Brien
- Fr. John Kearney
- Fr. William Tirry
- Matthew Lambert
- Robert Myler
- Edward Cheevers
- Patrick Cavanagh.
While celebrating the Irish Martyrs we must always remember those scores of others, men and women,
who gave their lives for the Faith but whose sacrifice has not, as yet, been officially recognised.
This church, which was opened on the 30th May 1994, was the first one in Ireland to bear the name
of the Irish Martyrs.