06 -- Fr. Patrick Walsh

(CC Skehana 1867 - 1869)

Gerry Costello

Skehana Church
© Gerry Costello Photography

Fr. Patrick Walsh     1867 – 1869

Fr Walsh was CC in Clifden in 1864. At the end of 1869 he was in Newcastle and in July 1870 was in Kilkerrin. In 1871 he was CC in Castlebar. It would seem that in 1872 he left the priesthood as is indicated in the quoted articles from The House of Parliament Questions below. The following are some newspaper reports which appeared at the time concerning Fr Patrick Walsh.


On June 12th. 1866 at the Clifden Petty Sessions a case was tried as follows;

Rev. Patrick Walsh, C.C. v. Rev. Charles Campbell.

Irish Examiner – Wednesday June 20th. 1866

Mr. Edmond Concannon said he appeared there for the Rev. Patrick Walsh, and he was sure all right minded Protestants would leave the court with disgust at a proceeding so well calculated to lead to dissensions and differences between them and their Catholic brethren. The learned gentleman then spoke of the good taste of the Rev. H. Darcy, who did not sit on the bench on the present occasion: His client, the Rev. Mr. Walsh was called on to anoint a sick jumper, or a (so-called) convert, named Myles Burke, who, feeling himself in a dying state, said to his wile, ” Judy, I am dying, get me the priest.” A Bible reader being present said, ” neither Pope, priest, nor devil will enter here.” Burke said, ” if you do not allow him here, wife, take me out, until the priest sees me somewhere.” The priest was sent for—the Rev. Mr. Walsh came, and while anointing the dying man was interrupted by the Rev. Messrs. Campbell and Fleming; the priest asked —” Is it me you want or the Protestant clergyman ?” He answered—” I don’t want the minister, I want you, Father Walsh.” Mr. Campbell, after pushing Father Walsh aside, asked—” Is it me or the priest you want? remember the blood of our Saviour. Is it the stock of oil that will save you ?” Then the Bible reader said to the Ministers—”Gentlemen, it’s not you he wants but the priest.” Many other such acts will be proved by incontrovertible evidence. The Court then adjourned to eleven o’clock next day.


The court sat at eleven o’clock, but in consequence of some of the magistrates not being in attendance, the bench proceeded to try other cases.

Anthony M’Donogh v. Owen Coyne.

This was an action for assaulting a Bible reader in the street of Clifden on the 2nd. inst. The defendant not appearing, he having left the country, was sentenced to one mouth’a imprisonment with hard labour.

Same v. Bartholomew Walsh.

Complainant proved that he was pushed violently by Walsh. Sub inspector Horne deposed that there was a great crowd ; but McDonogb and the two Connerly’s, who were with him, could have gone home if they liked; I guarded them to their lodgings. Sub-Constable Costello deposed that there was some excitement in consequence of the readers’ standing in a defiant attitude opposite Father Walsh’s house; he (Costello) advised them to go away ; he believed it was to create a disturbance that they stopped there. Mr. E. Concannon said he had to deplore the feeling got up by those Bible renders in insulting the peaceably disposed people of Clifden, instead of going meekly and mildly, as became Christians of all denominations. Mr. Thomas Lyden, jun., examined—Saw M’Donogh and the two Connerlys walk down the street and stand for a considerable time outside Father Walsh’s, with their sticks behind their backs; advised Sub-Constable Costello to tell them to go away, as they were exciting the people. Sentenced to one week’s imprisonment with hard labour. Mr. Jones dissented from his brother magistrates, as be believed believed there was no case proved. Some time subsequently, on the application of Mr. E. Concannon, a fine of 6s. was substituted. The Chairman said that those Scripture readers should go quieter, and not create such disturbance; at the same time, they were not to be molested.

Mr. Brown, J.P., having now arrived, the case of the Rev. Patrick Walsh and Rev. Charles Campbell (adjourned from yesterday) was resumed. Mr Edmond Concannon said, as he proposed bringing those cases to a superior court, in behalf of Rev. P. Walsh he would withdraw them, and tender no witnesses, as some of the gentlemen present might be yet jurors in the cases. The Chairman recommended Mr. Concannon to have the venue laid in Dublin. Mr. Concannon applied to have the case dismissed, with costs. After a lengthened discussion, the majority of the magistrates were of opinion that the case should be dismissed without costs. Mr. Jones was of opinion that the bench had no power to dismiss the case, as not a single witness was examined, but as the other magistrates thought otherwise he felt it his duty to retire, which he did accordingly. Rule — Dismissed without prejudice, without costs, the complainant’s case having been withdrawn. Rev. P. Walsh v Rev. H. Fleming — Withdrawn ; same rule. Rev. P. Walsh v Myles Staunton — withdrawn same rule. Rev. H. Fleming v M. Connoll — The defendant did not attend. This was a charge for an assault on the street of Clifden on Saturday, the 9th inst. Sentenced to one mouth’s imprisonment, with hard labour.

(© Irish Examiner – Wednesday June 20th. 1866)



Galway, Tuesday.—Mr. Justice Christian this morning resumed the hearing of the case of; The Rev. Patrick. Walsh v the Rev. Charles Campbell.—

© Freemans Journal, Thursday, July 19, 1866

The case excited much interest. It was an action brought by the plaintiff, a Roman Catholic curate of Clifden, against the defendant, a Protestant clergyman, for an assault. -The,damages were laid at £100. Rev. Patrick Walsh was re-called: and cross-examined by Mr. Robinson, Q.C He issued, a summons against the defendant at Clifden, and had an attorney; the case was withdrawn. Re-examined by Mr. Blake, Q.C.—The summons was with drawn because witness was afraid he would not get justice,; as the majority of the magistrates on the bench were Protestant. Henry Murray examined by Mr. Beytagh—Knew Myles Burke ; saw the defendant and the Rev. Mr. Fleming going to the house on a car; saw Staunton, Harrington, and Burke at the school-house ; the defendant put up his hand and beckoned to the witness; who went into Burke’s house and into the room; the plaintiff was 15 minutes in the house before defendant came; the plaintiff asked defendant what brought him there ; and defendant said he came to attend Burke, a member of his church, to whom.he had given meal and money ; the plaintiff said that Burke had sent for him and he asked the sick man if that were so, and Burke replied that it was. the plaintiff then desired the defendant to ask Burke if he wanted him (defendant), and Burke, said he did not; saw defendant crush close to the priest, and saw him take hold of the. priest’s hand, and the plaintiff then desired the defendant to keep out from him ; the defendant seemed angry, .when Burke told him he, did not want him ; the defendant said to the plaintiff ” Do you think that oil; would do the sick man any good ?”. the plaintiff said that was no place for controversy; the plaintiff desired the police to be sent for ; Burke was removed by his brothers to another house, and died that day.

Cross examined by Mr. Concannon:- When defendant came into the room the plaintiff was standing about half a yard from the wall, and witness saw the defendant tighten the plaintiff against the wall who had a book in his right hand, and the oil in the other. Thomas Burke, the brother of the deceased, gave similar testimony. Judy Burke, the widow of Myles Burke, corroborated this testimony. Cross-examined—Her husband was told often that he would not be allowed to be buried in his father’s grave unless he had the priest and she often told him so herself. The Rev. Mr. Fleming attended Burke the day before he died.

This was the case for the plaintiff.

Mr. Robinson, Q.C., stated the defendants case. He regretted that the case had not been amicably disposed of, and that the plaintiff had withdrawn the case from a bench of magistrates because they were Protestants.. He (Mr. Robinson) had no doubt the case would be properly disposed of by the jury. The deceased Burke had been a Protestant for some three or four years before his death and had lived in the house belonging to the Rev. Mr, D’Arcy. He was dying of cancer. He had been attended in his illness by the defendant without any repudiation, and during his absence from home he was attended by the Rev. Mr. Fleming. Now, whether he was really a Protestant, or only professing to be one, if was proved he had received the ministrations of the Protestant clergymen for a considerable time. It now appealed by the evidence that his wife day by day during his illness told him he would not be allowed to be buried in the grave of his father unless he had the priest. She was not to be blamed for this, it was her feeling and she acted on it. The clergymen came there as they had done before, and when an objection was raised they left the house. It would be proved that Mr Campbell said in the house that nothing should be done to the priest while he was there. The police were sent for, but that was in consequence of the two brothers of the deceased having quarrelled in the room. Even on the evidence, the transaction was this, that the defendant wished to get to speak to the sick man, and tried to get near him but was prevented by the plaintiff, but in doing so he did not assault or insult the plaintiff. With regard to the assault the counsel for the plaintiff dealt very lightly with it, and the evidence, as to it was this, that all the witness saw was merely the hand of Mr. Campbell laid on the arm of the plaintiff, and it would be proved that in doing so he only laid his hand on the priest’s arm while reasoning with him, but not intending to assault him, and if they believed that they could not find against the defendant. The case was brought here not for damages, but that it might.be sent through the press to the world and to show that the Rev. Mr. Walsh had received back what he believed was an erring member of his flock, of which he naturally felt proud; He, (Mr. Robinson) was instructed not to say an offensive word of the plaintiff, and if instructed to do so he would not do it, but he had no such instructions. He regretted as much as any one that such differences should arise, but he was sure the jury would dispose of the case impartially.

Rev. Charles .Campbell examined by Mr. Concannon:- Is a clergyman of the established Church and in charge of part of a parish in Connemara; knew Burke for some years, and found him a member of the congregation when he took charge of it ; was in the habit of attending him; was absent about three months before his death and returned the night before he died; attended him, and he never expressed a wish to leave his congregation; whenever he went out near his residence he always saw him; he generally attended service at the schoolhouse, which was within a few hundred yards of his house; he was a regular attendant; he was not a strong man; he attended the last service, but before he went on a visit he left the Rev. Mr. Fleming in charge in his absence; intended to visit Burke the evening he came home, but went next day accompanied by Mr. Fleming; saw James Burke, the brother of the sick man, in the house; entered the room and saw Burke’s wife and saw others there; Mr. Fleming followed him in, and both went into the room; James Burke asked him to come in; Mr. Walsh was there; never saw the sick man’s face the whole time he was in the room; Mr. .Walsh hid him from view ; the room was dark; when he went in he addressed Mr. Walsh and said,” I beg your pardon, Mr. Walsh” he said something to Witness in reply; witness said, ”I want to speak with Myles Burke; I have been away 3.5 months, and I wish to ask him a question; the man was a member of my congregation when I went away, and I have a right to speak with him now;” Mr. Walsh said “you have no right to come here, it is a breach of the peace” I had not touched Mr., Walsh in any way; witness said, ” I do not want a breach of the peace, I want to speak with Myles Burke;”. There were ten or twelve people in the room; Mr. Fleming asked Burke would he name the priest or the minister; did not hear his reply; witness said, “I only want to speak to him’ about Christ as his Saviour;” Mr. Walsh said, ” I also want to speak to him about Christ;” witness said “No, it is about your power of putting a man into heaven and not about Christ;” he had a small box in his hand and witness laid his hand on the priest’s arm; there was a slight noise in the room and witness turned to Mr Walsh and said “Don’t be afraid Mr. Walsh, no one insult you while I am here; Mrs.. Burke and her daughter came in, and she began to cry, and witness said, “‘Do not cry, the priest shall not be insulted while I am here;”  Mr. Walsh said, “If so, why do you not go away when the man wants the priest: Mr. Fleming said he had put a question to Burke, and he would put it again “Do you wish to have the priest?” : Burke said he did; and Mr Fleming turned to witness and said, “That will do Campbell, we have no more business here” and turning to the priest witness said “Mr. Walsh, if we were two priests, and you a Protestant’ clergyman, you would hardly be so kindly treated;” witness turned to the people and asked them to quit the room and they did so; witness was last in the room held the latch of the door in his hand, and said, “Now, Mr. Walsh, until you have done with him, no one shall enter the room, and then I will have a word with him; never said he had given Burke meal or money; never seized Mr. Walsh by the hand; laid his hand on the box for an instant as gently as if speaking to his most intimate friend; did not grasp it; laid his hand gently on his shoulder while talking with him; was not angry or in a frenzy; never was quieter in his life; when in the Outer room he and Mr. Fleming were speaking with a brother of Burke’s ; the room door was closed; was not listening to what the priest was saying to Burke; was at the opposite side of the room and did not hear a word; never laughed or mocked at what was going on; James Burke, Harrington and Mr. Flemming were in the outer room ; only remained a few minutes, and walked out to the schoolhouse; never attempted to re-enter the inner room.

Cross-examined by Mr. Bourke, Q.C.—Burke was about 40 ; when he knew him first he was an ignorant man; he understood English, but did not speak it well; Burke never was allowed any money or any other sort of support except when he earned his wages which he was paid; never got meal at any time; when he was ill two or three times gave him a small sum out of his pocket. The Rev. Mr. Flemming was examined and corroborated the evidence of Mr. Campbell; when in the kitchen he heard Mr Walsh say the word ” misericordia,” and he (Mr. Flemming) said “what does Burke know about misericordia.” James Burke and Connel Harrington corroborated this evidence. This was the case for the defendant; Mr. Concanon summed up for the defendant. Mr. Bourke, Q.C., replied. His Lordship charged the jury, who after a short consultation found for the plaintiff one farthing damages. His-Lordship refused to certify the legal costs incurred by Fr Walsh and Fr. Walsh had to appeal to the people and his fellow priests for help in covering his costs. ( A letter of appeal from Fr Walsh appeared in The Freeman’s Journal of August 14th 1886).

(© Freemans Journal, Thursday, July 19, 1866)



Leinster Express, Saturday, May 11, 1872

At the hearing of the Galway election petition on Friday, the Rev. Mr Furlong contradicted the evidence given by Thomas Rogers as to the altar denunciations, and also as to his illegal interference with a voter at the poll. The Rev. Mr Fahy was examined, and denied having ever threatened to withhold the rights of the Church from those who voted for Trench. He admitted having used strong language about Sir Thomas Burke, the Marquis of Clanricarde, and other landlords of the county. On Saturday the Rev. James Madden said that Constable Scully’s evidence regarding the addresses was substantially correct. He stated that Nolan was the chosen man of the bishops and clergy, and that no good Catholic would vote for Trench ; all who did so would be sheep in wolves’ clothing, and should not be recognized by their fellow Catholics. The Rev. Patrick Walsh stated that he told his people that they should vote according to their consciences. He denied having used physical force on a voter named Walsh in the booth, but admitted putting his hand on his breast and asking him to vote for Nolan The Rev. Eugene White, curate of Caltragh, deposed to having addressed his congregation, but he used no threat. There was (he said) great pressure on voters by landlords and agents in his district.

© Leinster Express, Saturday, May 11, 1872


From The Leinster Express 1831-current, Saturday, July 20, 1872

The Rev. Patrick Walsh, C.C., Castlebar, writes to the Mayo Telegraph contradicting the report that the Archbishop of Tuam had suspended him for having supported Captain Trench.

© Leinster Express 1831-current, Saturday, July 20, 1872


Question in the House of Parliament:

The Dundalk Democrat, Saturday, July 20, 1872

Mr Vance:— I wish to ask the Attorney-General for Ireland if he has any information that on Sunday, the 30th. of June, a letter was read from the altar of the Catholic Parochial Church of Castlebar from the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, prohibiting the Rev Patrick Walsh from all sacerdotal functions within his diocese, and if he is the same Mr Walsh who, in his evidence on behalf of the petitioner before Mr Justice Keogh, stated that he was credibly informed he would be suspended for having refused to support the candidature of Captain Nolan ; and if any steps can by taken to protect Mr Walsh under these circumstances ?

The Attorney-General for Ireland:—When I first saw this question of the hon member on the paper I thought it my duty to communicate with Ireland, in order to be certain what information was to be had on the subject. Of course I had no official channels of communication like the hon member. I can merely say this, that I have obtained some information on the subject which I will now communicate to the House. It is with respect to the statement referred to in the question, and I do not think my hon friend is exactly accurate as to the evidence as given before the Galway Election lnquiry. I find on looking at the evidence, page 269, that Mr Walsh was asked whether he had expected to be suspended and he said:—’I don’t expect it, but I have heard it. I have heard it from a brother clergyman, but I don t expect it.’ At page 571, in the evidence of Archbishop MacHale, the witness was asked whether he intended to suspend Mr Walsh, and he replied:—’ No, I never entertained such an idea, nor ever once thought of it.’ And when, in another part of the evidence be was asked whether Mr Walsh, had been threatened with suspension, he said , ‘ No, nor did it ever enter my mind to do so.’ That is, with respect to the evidence. Now with respect to the other matters, I have caused inquiry to be made, but no official report of any kind has reached the authorities in Dublin with respect to the matter referred to. I was informed, however, that Mr Walsh, the gentleman who is said to have been suspended, had written a letter to the Mayo Telegraph, in which he denied the statement , and that letter had been repeated in Dublin newspapers to-day. I at once caused a telegram to be sent to Dublin, and I received the following reply :—’ Mr Walsh states that the statement that he had been visited by Dr MacHale with ecclesiastical censure is false and malicious. He had left his diocese at his own option and free will, and if he emigrated to America he should only follow the example of thousands of his countrymen.’

© Dundalk Democrat, Saturday, July 20, 1872


From London Parliament Papers 25 July 1872  (Vol 212  cc1757-81757)

HC Deb MR. VANCE asked Mr.  Dowse, Attorney General for Ireland, Whether he has obtained any further information respecting the suspension of the Reverend Patrick Walsh, who gave evidence in the Galway Election Inquiry from sacerdotal duties by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam on Sunday the 30th of June, the letter which was read to the House contradicting the statement having been dated on the 25th of June?

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. DOWSE), in reply, said, the letter he had read to the House bore the date mentioned in the Question. It certainly referred to the subject-matter of the Question, upon which he gave the hon. Gentleman all the information in his power; but he was not aware of the date of the letter or of the alleged suspension as far as they had reference to each other. He had since made fresh inquiries; but was sorry to say he had not obtained much information on the subject. He had caused a telegram to be sent to Ireland that day, and the reply to it was as follows:— We have no means of knowing whether Mr. Walsh has been suspended, and we have received no report on the subject.








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