The Ballad of Fr. William Tirry
An Augustinian Friar (1609-54)
Contents | Introduction | Prologue | Young Life | The Augustinian | Towards Clonmel
The Witnesses | Man In Custody | Man on Trial | A life sealed | Epilogue
from a book by Fr. John O'Connor OSA
Bishop of Galway
We live in an era where the material things of this world are continually being given a prominence over the spiritual. Fr. O'Connor's booklet, therefore, is a refreshing reminder of the self-sacrifice and courage of another age-an age when our ancestors were prepared to sacrifice wealth, comfort, and even life itself, for the sake of the precious gift of the Catholic Faith.
Today there are still many generous souls who, in the midst of a materialistic world, keep God before their eyes and strive always to put his will first. May the life of Fr. Tirry be an inspiration to such! By their style of living and their good example may they be for all witnesses to the eternal value of the Faith for which he died!
Feast of the Annunciation, 1976.
Against the vastness of a teeming Universe, with all its past and present mysteries, the following pages attempt to throw some light on a little remote, and perhaps insignificant, corner of the story of mankind. But each thread, I believe, has its own importance in the fabric that makes the overall epic. Here, then, is a brief study (prompted more by enthusiasm than scholarship) of one of the men whose names appear on the official List of Irish Martyrs, which was presented to the Holy See early in this century, with a view to beatification. The title 'martyr', of course, cannot properly be applied to any of the candidates until Rome has spoken.
I should say (as will be abundantly clear) that I do not write as a professed historian. For my inspiration and source-material, then, I am wholly indebted to the professional researches of two of my confreres: Father F. X. Martin, o.s.a., of University College, Dublin, and Father M. B. Hackett, o.s.a., of Austin Friars, Carlisle. I have relied mainly on their findings published in Archivium Hibernicum, XX (1957) 69-122. But no matter how expert the teacher, the pupil may err. So any historical errors or misinterpretation of facts that I may be guilty of, must, of course, be laid at my own doorstep.
I also wish to thank the editor of The Nationalist where this account of Father Tirry has already substantially appeared. And finally, for their immediate help and encouragement in getting the material into its present format I am especially grateful to my confreres and friends: John Murphy, Xavier Martin, Patrick Duffner, Jackie Power, Eddie Casey, Fintan Whelton and Gervase Corcoran.
In writing, my wish is that more people may make the acquaintance of Father Tirry, however inadequate the introduction. My further hope is that some day a qualified hagiographer will more properly present his life-story.
Finally I am sincerely grateful for the blessing of Most Rev. Dr. Browne on this work.
26 April, 1976.