The Blessed Conor O'Devany[1] (or Concobhar Ó Duibheannaigh in Irish; c. 1532 – February 11, 1612, in Dublin) was an Irish Catholic bishop, being the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor. He was a Franciscan of Donegal Abbey in Donegal Town and, while in Rome in 1582, was appointed Eighth Bishop of Down and Connor by Pope Gregory XIII, and consecrated on February 2, 1583. Upon becoming a bishop he was, henceforth, styled His Lordship The Most Rev. Dr. Conor O'Devany, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor. His surname, in English, can also be spelled O'Devaney.

Execution and martyrdom

In 1588 O'Devany was committed to Dublin Castle. Failing to convict him of any crime punishable with death, Lord Deputy William Fitzwilliam sought authority from William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley to "be rid of such an obstinate enemy of God and so rank a traitor to Her Majesty as no doubt he is".

He lay in prison until November, 1590, being then released ostensibly on his own petition but doubtless through policy. He was protected by Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone until 1607 (see the Flight of the Earls, and escaped arrest until the middle of 1611, when, almost eighty years old, he was taken while administering Confirmation and again committed to Dublin Castle.

On January 28, 1612, he was tried for high treason, found guilty by the majority of a packed jury, and sentenced to die on 1 February (Julian Calendar). He was drawn on a cart from the Castle to the gallows beyond the river; the whole route was crowded with Catholics. Protestant clergymen pestered him with ministrations and urged him to confess he died for treason. "Pray let me be", he answered, "the viceroy's messenger to me here present, could tell that I might have life and revenue for going once to that temple", pointing to a tower opposite. He kissed the gallows before mounting, and then proceeding to exhort the Catholics to constancy, he was thrown off, cut down alive, and quartered.

With him suffered Patrick O'Loughran, a priest arrested at Cork. The people, despite the guards, carried off the halter, his clothes, and even fragments of his body and chips of the gallows. They prayed all night by the remains, an infirm man was reported cured by touching them, and Mass after Mass was said there from Midnight until day. Such was the concourse that the viceroy ordered the members to be buried on the spot, but next night the Catholics exhumed them and interred them in St. James's Churchyard.

A list of martyrs compiled O'Devany was used by Rothe in his "Analecta".


On September 27 1992, O'Devany, with sixteen others, the Irish Catholic Martyrs, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Rome. The Feast Day of the Irish Martyrs is celebrated on June 20.


  • O'Laverty, Diocese of Down and Connor, V (Dublin, 1895)
  • Rothe, Analecta Nova et Mira, ed. Moran (Dublin, 1884)
  • O'Reilly, Memorials of those who suffered for the Catholic Faith (London, 1868)
  • Murphy, Our Martyrs (Dublin, 1896)
  1. Cornelius O'Devany, Conchobhar O'Duibheannaigh.

See also

External links

This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.

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