13 August-Bishop James Doyle (JKL), Carlow

In the Cathedral of the Assumption in Carlow, Ireland there is a monument to Bishop James Doyle (JKL, James Kildare and Leighlin). Dr Doyle served as bishop of Kildare and Leighlin from 1819 to 1834. He was a leading campaigner on issues such as Emancipation, Education Reform, the payment of Tithes and Poor-Relief. He was responsible for the building of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Carlow.

James Warren Doyle was born close to the town of New Ross in County Wexford in 1786. He was educated locally and later at the Augustinian College in New Ross. In 1806 he moved to Portugal to study at the University of Coimbra. However his studies were interrupted by the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. Doyle joined the British army, served as a sentry at Coimbra and later accompanied the Duke of Wellington to Lisbon as an interpreter.

James Doyle returned to Ireland and was ordained at Enniscorthy on October 1st 1809. Four years later he was appointed Professor of Rhetoric at Carlow College and in 1814 he was appointed Professor of Theology. Following the death of Dr Michael Corcoran, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Dr Doyle, in 1819 at the age of 32, was chosen as his successor.

During his time as bishop Dr Doyle became known in Ireland and Britain for his efforts to promote equality for people of the Catholic faith. He supported Daniel O’Connell and the Catholic Association. Catholic Emancipation was passed by the Government led by the Duke of Wellington in 1928. He played an active role in the suppression of the hedge schools and helped establish the National School system in 1831. The school system was established ahead of what was then available in Britain. On three occasions, 1825, 1830 and 1832 he was invited to London to address parliamentary enquiries about Ireland.

Bishop Doyle laid the foundation stone for Carlow Cathedral in June 1828. The cathedral was completed and dedicated on December 1st 1833. He died on June 15th 1834 and was buried in the new cathedral.

The monument to Bishop Doyle by John Hogan was exhibited in Rome in 1839 and in Queen’s College Cork (UCC) in 1840. It shows Dr Doyle standing beside a kneeling allegorical figure of Ireland with her arm resting on a harp. One person at the time wrote: ‘Gold is made an ornamental use of on the drapery of Erin; and the Bishop’s cross, with its chain, are represented also as actually of gold. For this, Hogan has the undoubted classical authority of Greek Sculpture, in its best period’.

The report on the monument to Bishop James Doyle of Kildare and Leighlin, appeared in the Cork Constitution in the year 1840 On This Day.

Carlow Cathedral by brookscl on 2015-10-04 12:17:55


2 Replies to “13 August-Bishop James Doyle (JKL), Carlow”

  1. thanks for filling in the history associated with the ststutr which i have seen throughout my school years in Carlow and never knew the full background and the role he played in emancipation

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