Archbishop Miler Magrath

FORTHCOMING PUBLICATION which may be of interest to members of the Clan.

Archbishop Miler Magrath
The Enigma of Cashel
By Patrick J. Ryan

sm Patrick Joseph Ryan (2)

This collection of seventeen essays is an in-depth study of Miler Magrath’s contribution to the great religious and political changes that occurred during his very long life. It examines in detail his place in the ecclesiastical and political history of later Tudor and early Stuart Ireland.

Without abandoning the idea of biography, the book follows a thematic approach while every effort has been made to maintain a sense of chronology. New light is shed on many areas of Magrath’s life including his appointment as Catholic bishop, his ‘conversion’ to Protestantism, and his relationship with Counter-reformation clergy. Particularly revealing is the role he played as government agent in the final 30 years of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, and how he embodies the dilemmas faced by many clergy and laity in Ireland at the time of the Reformation when boundaries between Catholic and Protestant were still very fluid. His embodiment of continuity and change illuminates some of the pains of the transition from the Gaelic social and religious order to the New English regime of the earlier seventeenth-century.

Commenting on the publication Dr. Colm Lennon, Professor Emeritus of History, NUI Maynooth, says that “a nuanced and detailed picture is drawn of an unexpectedly complex man. The presentation of his Ulster background is particularly strong while the account of the Franciscans in the early Reformation decades is most useful. The Cashel chapters convey the social and religious milieu in which he worked, demonstrate his own ecclesiastical, political and diplomatic activities, and make an important contribution to our understanding of the socio-cultural history of north Munster.” He goes on to say that ‘The events of the Nine Years’ War are skilfully interwoven with the career details of Magrath while a very clear account is given of the situation in Munster, particularly in the later stages of the war”.

George Cunningham, FSA., M.Litt., MA., and former primary school principal in Coolderry, sees the book as “a real contribution on many fronts, adding enormously to our understanding of the period especially in Tipperary.”

Willie Hayes, author, publisher and historian, remarks that the book “combines well-balanced insights into an enigmatic and historically important figure, and an analysis of the ‘progress’, if any, of the Reformation in Munster particularly in the dioceses of Cashel, Emly, Waterford and Lismore, in the Elizabethan period. Due recognition is at last given to Magrath’s political stature, showing him as the reliable, outstanding and constant source of intelligence for the Dublin authorities.”

The exceptionally high importance Magrath gave to his family and his impact on his descendants is emphasised by Rev. Terri Woolgar in Canada, who can trace her ancestry back to the archbishop in an unbroken line of 12 generations, and for whom the book has given “a great deal of understanding about our roots, and has added a wonderful richness to the mystery of our ancestor who even today has retained a presence and mythology in the family.”

Lisheen Publications
ISBN 978-0-9556139-7-5

Projected date of Publication: April 2014.
All queries to Mr Willie Hayes, Lisheen Publications, Roscrea. 00 353 0505 21050

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