Parish Of Birth
Irish College, Paris France
Details Of Ordination
Kinsale PP : 18/9/1901 – 26/9/1908
Monkstown PP : 1898 – 18/9/1901
Kilmichael PP : 1886 – 1898
Bandon CC : 1877 – 1886
Uibh Laoire CC : 1869 – 1877
Murragh and Templemartin CC : 1864 – 1869
Goleen CC : 1862 – 1864
Appointed Canon of the Cathedral Chapter in 1899.
Appointed Vicar Forane (V.F.) of the Kinsale Deanery in 1901.
He was an Irish speaker from his infancy, and as a result, he devoted much of his time to the study of ancient Irish Literature, and he was regularly consulted by the leading Gaelic writers and scholars of his time. Apart from his own writings, he had a collection Irish manuscripts dating back as far as the 1780’s. These manuscripts are today archived in the library of University College, Cork.
One of his many interests was the study of Gaelic names of townlands, rivers and towns in Co. Cork, the subject of which he regularly contributed to the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society (JCHAS). Likewise, he contributed to the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society (JCHAS) his study of Ogham Stones, raths and other subjects of archaeological interest in the Diocese. In recognition of his work, the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society elevated him to the honoured position of Vice President of the Society.
One of his major concerns during his 46 years of priesthood was the plight of the Irish tenant farmer. Canon Lyons had concerns for the plight of the tenant farmers long before The Irish Land League was formed and the introduction of the 1870 Land Act and before Charles S. Parnell , John Dillon and Michael Davitt took up the cause of the Irish tenants.
Writing to the Cork Examiner on the 8th April 1867 he made the following observation; “…. it is the firm conviction of the mass of Irish men that want of proper tenure of land is by far the greatest of the country’s grievances whatever may be the opinions of the public men regarding the relevant importance of other evils”.He was of the opinion that the landlord structure in the Ireland of his time had two negative impacts on the tenant farmer. One being that the vast majority of small farmers had no proper security on their land and holdings. Secondly, the tenants and their families were often facing starvation and the threat of eviction.
He was an uncle of Very Rev. Patrick Murphy, P.P., Drimoleague (1950 -1955), a granduncle of Very Rev. Michael Murphy, P.P., Drimoleague (1985 – 1996) and a great grand uncle of Fr Pat O’Donovan.
For an account of his life, see the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol 107 (2002), 97-104.
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
Parochial House, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Place Of Burial
St. John the Baptist Church Vaults, Kinsale, Co. Cork
His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Bishop of Cork, presided at the Solemn Requiem Mass. The celebrant was, Fr. James O’Leary, C.C., Kinsale (cousin); deacon was, Fr. Patrick O’Donovan, C.C., Kinsale; sub-deacon was, Fr. Bernard McKenna, C.C., Kinsale and the master of ceremonies was, Fr. Richard Barrett, Chaplain, Kinsale Workhouse.
Amongst his immediate relatives present was, Very Rev. Cornelius O’Leary, P.P., Inchigeela.
His nephew, Very Rev. Patrick Murphy, PP
His grand-nephew, Very Rev. Michael Murphy, PP
His great grand-nephew, Fr. Pat O’Donovan, CC
His relative, Very Rev. Cornelius O’Leary, PP
His relative, Very Rev. James O’Leary, PP