Such was the situation which forced a sixteen year old Daniel Delany of Mountrath to sneak away to France in 1763 so he could study for the priesthood.
He returned to Ireland in 1777 and after fourteen years of living in Catholic France he was dismayed by the poverty that existed in his homeland: the poverty of the people and the poverty of their faith.
Around 1778, as a strategy to refamiliarise the people of his parish with the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, Fr Daniel Delany began a Sunday School. At first he taught alone, but soon volunteers presented themselves to assist in this work.
From these volunteers Bishop Delany chose six women to form the Brigidine Sisters in 1807 and four men to form the Patrician Brothers in 1808.
Despite the hardships their numbers grew, and in February 1810 four Brothers were able to move to nearby Mountrath to begin a school there.
In 1819 Galway’s bishop Nicholas Archdeacon invited the Brothers to Clarenbridge, close to the west coast, to administer a free school. It was a free school so the Brothers would have to support themselves off the land that would come with the school and as tradesmen. The school opened in 1823.
From 1827 to 1980 the Brothers opened a further twelve schools. The furthest north was Carrickmacross; furthest south, Mallow; furthest east, Finglas (Dublin); and furthest west, Galway.
Present Patrician Locations in Ireland
8. Belfast (no houses, capital of Northern Ireland)
The island of Ireland is broken up into Northern Ireland (20%) and the Republic of Ireland where all the Patrician houses are located. The total area of the Republic is 70,280 square kilometres and its current population is 4.7 million. The Republic is divided up into 26 geographic divisions called counties. Dublin is the capital of the Republic and it is 215 kilometres from Galway.
2010 door into Tullow 1808 monastery & school ~ Mt St Joseph, Tullow ~ Mountrath school to right ~ Brothers’ graves at Tullow
1900 community ~ 1940 community ~ Boys in training to be Patricians in 1956 ~ Brothers’ gathering in 2006