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Legacy of Limerick bishop to be celebrated at special conference

By Sean Ryan - 12 August, 2017

A special conference will be hosted by Mary Immaculate College in Limerick City this October on the life and times of a popular bishop to mark the centenary of his death.

On 13th October 2017, Limerick Diocesan Archives and the Department of History, Mary Immaculate College, will host a one-day conference to assess the legacy of Bishop Edward Thomas O’Dwyer of Limerick, on the centenary of his death.

Bishop O’Dwyer is best remembered for his celebrated clash with Sir John Maxwell in the wake of the 1916 Rising. Overnight, his reputation was transformed from ‘Castle’ bishop to hero of nationalist Ireland, and he died in a blaze of glory in August 1917.

For the previous thirty years, however, he walked astride the national stage, courting controversy for his contrarian positions on everything from the Plan of Campaign to university education and the fall of Parnell. In the context of the First World War – and perhaps less well known – are his anti-war writings, which had a significant international impact.

The conference is entitled ‘The World of Edward Thomas O’Dwyer of Limerick (1886–1917)’. The programme of events will include a lecture by the Bishop of Limerick Dr Brendan Leahy, while Dr Úna Ní Bhroiméil (Mary Immaculate College) will give a lecture entitled ‘”The ablest educationist of the Irish Episcopate”: Bishop E.T. O’Dwyer and Catholic control of primary education’.

Dr Sarah Roddy (University of Manchester) will speak on ‘The bishop as financial manager: Limerick under Edward O’Dwyer’, while Dr Jacinta Prunty (Maynooth University), will speak on ‘Networks and news: the correspondence of Annie O’Dwyer with her brother Bishop Edward Thomas’.

The evening session will see Dr Brian Murphy OSB (Glenstal Abbey) speak on ‘Bishop O’Dwyer and the 1916 Rising: “I trust in valour not in arms”’ and Dr Jérôme aan de Wiel (University College Cork) on ‘Bishop O’Dwyer, Mgr O’Riordan, Benedict XV and Irish-Vatican relations during the First World War’.
The event programme can be accessed at www.eventbrite.ie/e/the-world-of-edward-thomas-odwyer-of-limerick-1886-1917-tickets-33613201992.

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