William Crolly

Crolly, William, Archbishop of Armagh, was born at Ballykilbeg, in the County of Down, 8th June 1780. He was educated at a grammar-school kept by Dr. Nelson, a Unitarian, and Mr. Doran, a Catholic. Mr. Doran at one time taught his class in prison, where he was confined for his revolutionary principles. In 1801 he entered Maynooth, was ordained a priest in 1806, and for six years he continued a professor in the college. In 1812 he was appointed parish priest of Belfast, a position requiring tact and discretion on account of the prejudices against Catholicism so general in the capital of Ulster. Within the first seven years of his ministry he is stated to have received as many as one thousand converts into his Church. In 1825 he was consecrated Bishop of Down and Connor, and was able to extend to the entire diocese that zeal and vigilance he had theretofore devoted to Belfast. In 1835 he was elevated to the archiepiscopal see of Armagh. The favour with which he regarded the National system of Education, and the prospective Queen's Colleges, was a cause of great regret to many of his co-religionists. Archbishop Crolly died at Drogheda, 6th April 1849, aged 68, and was buried in the Catholic Cathedral of Armagh. His biographer says of him: "The late Primate was certainly a thoroughly tolerant man, but at the same time a genuine Catholic, who devoted himself heart and soul to the advancement of his own church." His biography contains numerous racy anecdotes illustrative of the times in which he lived.


90. Crolly, Life of the Rev. Dr., Archbishop of Armagh: Rev. G. Crolly. Dublin, 1851.