Fr. Terence O’Brien OP

The following piece was sent to this web site from  Patrick Jordan O’Brien OP a Dominican living in Galway with a keen interest in Terence Albert O’Brien.
Patrick always had some interest in the martyr though he is no relation… and spent some years in Limerick and tried to trace some of the history and the locations that are associated with TAOB. in the Limerick and south Tipperary area. Patrick visited Lorrha on a number of occasions and describes our village as a quiet and peaceful place.

Patrick says that he cannot claim to promote the cause of TAOB for canonization along with the other 16 or so martyrs, but he does try to keep his name alive and before the minds of people. He  has various bits and pieces – that he has put together over the years. Patrick also tells us readers that he is no historian, just a person with an interest who has written a few pieces over the years and this is the latest piece for the Galway Tribune for this week.

A New Patron

With the link between the dioceses of Galway and Clonfert, Galway has gained a new patron, Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien. He was prior of the Dominican priory in Portumna he later became provincial of the Irish Dominicans and later again Bishop of the diocese Emly, now part of Cashel and Emly.

Due to Cromwell’s persecutions of Catholics, he was unable to live in his diocese and sought refuge in Limerick. In 1651 he encouraged the people to stand united during the second siege. When General Ireton broke their resistance Bishop O’Brien faced death on the gallows – he was hanged, drawn and quartered for treason, i.e., defying the realm.

Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien’s memory is kept on October 30. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1992 along with sixteen others. We note in passing that when provincial of the Irish Dominicans, Terence Albert petitioned Rome that the Dominican Sisters of Galway, first established in 1644, be formally recognised as members of the Dominican Order.

TAOB is associated with Portumba as well as Lorrha and of course Limerick where he was martyred in 1561.


Take Note

                        This note is taken from the Irish Press of 19 May 1977


Reference in the article to the martyred Bishop of Emly, Terence O’Brien, reminds me that Bishop O’Brien, was prior of the Dominican Abbey …. at Lorrha for several years. There is a tradition in Lorrha that Dr O’Brien gave his Rosary to a man just before his public hanging. It was said that this man brought the rosary to Lorrha where it remained in safe keeping for some time. Its present whereabouts is now unknown, but it is thought that it may have found its way to some house of the Order in Ireland. We of the parish of Lorrha would very much like to know if it still survives.

Like Limerick, the parish of Lorrha and Dorra owe a deep debt to the Dominican friars. When the priory there was destroyed by Ireton, they remained in the locality, said Mass, and administered to the flock.

Northwest of the village in a wood at Moatfield, there still remains a Mass Rock, on which some devoted but unsung friar said Mass for the faithful of Lorrha and Dorra


Dermot Corcoran, P.P.,

Corpus Christi,




On the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the Dominican Order in Limerick. 19/5/1977.


Jordan O’Brien op

The Claddagh