Previous Archbishops

Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop Emeritus of Tuam

Archbishop Michael Neary was born on 15 April 1946 in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.  He was educated at St. Patrick’s Boys National School, Castlebar, and St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam.  He studied for priesthood at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and was ordained in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Tuam, on 15 June 1971 by Archbishop Joseph Cunnane.

After earning a Doctorate in Divinity in 1975, he served as curate in Belclare for one year while also studying for the Higher Diploma in Education in University College, Galway.  In 1976 he was appointed to the teaching staff of Presentation College, Headford.  After two years, Archbishop Neary was asked to undertake postgraduate studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.  He was conferred with a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture in 1981.  On his return, he joined the teaching staff of Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew and served as curate in Moylough.

In 1982 he was appointed lecturer in Sacred Scripture in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, a position he held until his appointment as Professor of New Testament in 1991.  One year later, on 20 May 1992, Archbishop Michael was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Tuam and Titular Bishop of Quaestoriana by Pope John Paul II.  He received episcopal consecration on Sunday, 13 September 1992 in the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of Ireland, Knock, from Archbishop Joseph Cassidy, with His Excellency Emanuel Gerada, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, and Archbishop Joseph Cunnane, Archbishop emeritus of Tuam, serving as co-consecrators.

Archbishop Michael was appointed Archbishop of Tuam on 17 January 1995, was installed on 5 March 1995, and served in this capacity for twenty-seven years until the appointment of Archbishop Francis Duffy.

ARCHBISHOP Most Rev. Joseph Cassidy DD RIP
Joseph Cassidy (1933-2013) served firstly as Bishop of Clonfert from 1982 to 1987, then Archbishop of Tuam from 1987 to 1994. He was born in Charlestown, County Mayo Ireland. He was ordained a priest on 21 June 1959 for the Diocese of Achonry. He later transferred to the slightly larger Diocese of Clonfert, where he taught at, and later became President of, St. Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe.

He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Clonfert the diocese on 24 August 1979 and received episcopal ordination on 23 September 1979, one week before the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland. The Principal Consecrator was Archbishop Gaetano Alibrandi; his Principal Co-Consecrators were Archbishop Joseph Cunnane of Tuam and Bishop Thomas Flynn of Achonry. On 1 May 1982, he succeeded to the position of Bishop of Clonfert.

On 22 August 1987 he was appointed to the position of archbishop of the Archdiocese of Tuam. He resigned the position on 29 June 1994 and took the title Archbishop Emeritus of Tuam. He was anxious to maintain his pastoral ministry and became Parish Priest of Moore. Following his death at home in Ballinasloe on 31 January 2013, his funeral was held in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tuam and he was buried at Moore, County Roscommon where he served after his retirement as Archbishop.

ARCHBISHOP Most Rev. Joseph Cunnane RIP
Joseph Cunnane D.D. (1913-2001) served as the Archbishop of Tuam from 1969 to 1987. He was born in the parish of Knock in County Mayo and was educated at St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam, and St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He was ordained in 1939. Following postgraduate studies in Maynooth he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity in 1941. He was professor of Irish at St. Jarlath’s from 1941 until 1958 when he was appointed to Balla, County Mayo. He moved to Clifden, County Galway in 1967. He was appointed archbishop of the Metropolitan see of Tuam in 1969 and retired from the post on 11 July 1987. He died in 2001 and is buried in the grounds of Tuam

ARCHBISHOP Most Rev. Joseph Walsh RIP

Joseph Walsh (1888–1972) served as Archbishop of Tuam from 1940 to 1969. Born on 24 December 1888 in Newport, Ireland, he was ordained to the priesthood on 21 June 1914. He was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Tuam and Titular Bishop of Coela on 16 December 1937. His episcopal consecration took place on 2 January 1938. Two years later, he was appointed Archbishop of Tuam on 16 January 1940. He participated in all the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council, held between in 1962 and 1965. After twenty-nine years, he resigned on 31 January 1969 and was appointed Titular Archbishop of Tubernuca. He resigned the titular position in 1971, and died on 20 June 1972, aged 83.

ARCHBISHOP Most Rev. Thomas Gilmartin RIP
Thomas Patrick Gilmartin, D.D. (1861–1939) served as Bishop of Clonfert from 1909 to 1918 and then Archbishop of Tuam from 1918 to 1939. He was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland on 18 May 1861, the son of Michael Gilmartin, Rinshiona, Castlebar. Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1883, he served as Dean of Formation and Vice-President of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity by Rome in 1905.

He was appointed the Bishop of the Diocese of Clonfert by the Holy See on 3 July 1909 and was consecrated on 13 February 1910 by the Most Reverend John Healy, Archbishop of Tuam. On the death of Archbishop Healy, he was translated to the Metropolitan see of Tuam as archbishop on 10 July 1918. He died in office on 14 October 1939, aged 78 years.

ARCHBISHOP Most Rev. Dr. John Healy RIP
The Most Rev. Dr John Healy, D.D., LL.D., M.R.I A. (1841–1918) served as Bishop of Clonfert from 1896 to 1903 and Archbishop of Tuam from 1903 to 1918. Born on 2 January 1841 in Ballinafad, County Sligo, Ireland, Healy was educated at Maynooth College, where he was ordained a priest in September 1867. He then served as a curate and parish priest in the diocese of Elphin, before being offered two professorial chairs at Maynooth, those of Theology and Classics. He accepted the first and held it until 1883, when he became Prefect of Maynooth.

He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Clonfert and Titular Bishop of Macri on 26 June 1884. His episcopal ordination took place on 31 August 1884. He succeeded as the Diocesan Bishop of Clonfert on 15 August 1896. He translated to the archbishopric of Tuam on 13 February 1903, where he reestablished pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick. He was also a Senator of the National University of Ireland (having been part of the campaign to establish it), a governor of University College, Galway, and a member of the Board of Agriculture.

Archbishop Healy died in office on 19 March 1918, aged 77. A biography of his life was published by The Rev. P.J. Joyce in 1931, titled John Healy, Archbishop of Tuam (H. Gill and Sons, Dublin 1931).

ARCHBISHOP Most Rev. John McEvilly RIP
John McEvilly (1818–1902) served as the Archbishop of Tuam from 1881 to 1902. He was born on 15 April 1818 in Louisburgh, a small town near Westport, County Mayo, Ireland. He entered the Seminary of Tuam in January 1833, then sent to Maynooth College in September 1833, where among his contemporaries was the future Archbishop of Armagh Joseph Dixon. In 1842, McEvilly was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Tuam. 

On 9 January 1857, he was appointed the Bishop of Galway by the Holy See and was consecrated on 22 March 1857 by the Most Reverend John MacHale, Archbishop of Tuam. While as Bishop of Galway, McEvilly was appointed the Apostolic Administrator of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora in September 1866 and appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Tuam on 11 January 1878. On the death of Archbishop MacHale, he succeeded as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tuam on 7 November 1881. Archbishop McEvilly died in office on 26 November 1902, aged 84.