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Edmund O'Reilly (1)
Archbishop of Armagh, b. at Dublin, 1616; d. at Saumur, France, 1669, was educated in Dublin and ordained there in 1629. After ordination he studied at Louvain, where he held the position of prefect of the college of Irish Secular Ecclesiastics. In 1640 he returned to Dublin and was appointed vicar-general. In 1642 the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Fleming, having been appointed on the Supreme Council of the Confederate Catholics, transferred his residence to Kilkenny and until 1648 O'Reilly administered the Archdiocese of Dublin. With the triumph of the Puritans he was imprisoned, and in 1653, ordered to quit the kingdom, he took refuge at the Irish College of Lisle where he was notified of his appointment to the See of Armagh, and shortly after consecrated at Brussels. Ireland was then a dangerous place for ecclesiastics, and not until 1658 did he attempt to visit his diocese; even then he could proceed no further than London. Ordered to quit the kingdom, he returned to France, but in the following year went to Ireland, this time directly from France, and for the nest two years exercised his ministry. Accused of favouring the Puritans and of being an enemy of the Stuarts, he was ordered by the pope to quit Ireland. At Rome he was able to vindicate himself, but he was not allowed to return to Ireland by the English authorities until 1665, and then only in the hope that he would favour the Remonstrance of Peter Walsh. O'Reilly, like the great majority of the Irish bishops and priests, rejected it, nor could the entreaties of Walsh or the threats of Ormond change him. In consequence he was imprisoned by Ormond, and when released, driven from the kingdom. He spent the remaining years of his life in France, chiefly concerned with the care of the Irish colleges there.
Stuart, Historical Memoirs of Armagh, ed. Coleman (Dublin, 1900); Renehen, Irish Archbishops (Dublin, 1861); D'Alton, Archbishops of Dublin (Dublin, 1838); Brady, Episcopal Succession in Ireland and England (Rome, 1876).
E. A. D'Alton.