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Dr Edward Barron

Margaret Aylward Dr Edward Barron Philip Barron Denis Cashman Raymond Chandler Paddy Coad Patrick Comerford Donncha Ruadh Val Doonican Sean Dunne Frank Edwards Alfie Hale John M Hearne William Hobson Dr Thomas Hussey Charles Kean John Keane Edmund Leamy D. P. Moran Gen Dick Mulcahy James Nash Peter O'Connor Jas Louis O'Donnell Pádraig Ó Fainín Gilbert O'Sullivan John Redmond Edmund I Rice James Rice, Mayor Lord Roberts V. C. John Roberts Frank Ryan Thomas Sexton Archbishop Sheehan Susan Smith John Treacy Luke Wadding William V. Wallace Cardinal Wiseman Bullocks Wyse Lucien Bonaparte Wyse



         Dr. Edward Barron, Missionary
He was formerly Professor in St John’s College, Waterford, and subsequently bishop of Liberia and was the son of Pierce Barron, b 1752, of Ballyneale, Clonea, Rathgormack, county Waterford and Anna Winston, born ca 1760, Fethard, county Tipperary, the only daughter of Henry Winston and Margaret Kelly. The Barrons were very wealthy landowners and were among the rare wealthy Catholic families that retained ownership of their estates during the Penal days without renouncing their allegiance to the Catholic faith. Edward was born on 18 June, 1801 at Ballyneale and was one of ten children, Pierce, the eldest, Henry Winston, John, Edward, William, Margaret, Matilda, Catherine, Eliza and Anna Maria. 

The father died suddenly in 1811 and the family suffered another tragedy in October 1817 when the packet ship William and Mary, en route from Bristol to Waterford, was badly holed and sank, taking the lives of the eldest Barron son, Pierce, and four of his sisters. There is a memorial erected to them at Stradbally churchyard, county Waterford with the inscription

  Sacred to the memory of Pierce W. Barron, Esq. And his sisters, Margaret, Matilda, Catherine and Eliza, who perished in an early and watery grave on the wreck of the “Wm and Mary Packet” Oct 25th 1817.

  Edward was sent, at age thirteen, to boarding school in England. Accompanying him to St Edmund’s College, Ware in Hertfordshire was his younger brother William, aged 9, and his cousin John Netterville Barron. Several years later they moved again, this time to Paris where they entered the Lycée Henri V and then back to Dublin to study law at Trinity College. Edward spent three years at Trinity but did not take his law degree exams. One reason was that he was ‘converted’ and decided to enter the Catholic priesthood at St. John’s College in Waterford. The college was then situated at College St. He was then sent (1824) by Dr. Kelly, the catholic bishop of Waterford, to study at the Propaganda College in Rome where he was ordained at St Agatha’s church in 1829. 

  He returned to Waterford where he was appointed a professor in St John’s College (he had received his Doctorate in Theology on 3rd September 1829) where he taught French, Hebrew and Philosophy. He stayed there for seven years and then accepted an offer from bishop Kenrick at Philadelphia in the United States to take up the appointment as Vicar General and pastor of St Mary’s church. After some time there he undertook the mission to Cape Palmas, on the west coast of Africa and thus became America's first Catholic missionary. He was appointed bishop to the see of Constantine and Vicar Apostolic of the Two Guineas, a vast territory comprising the Gold Coast, the Ivory Coast and Liberia to where repatriated slaves had been sent since 1816. The African mission was a mission for martyrs in the 19th century and was known as the white man's grave. Most missioners who went there might expect a year or two of effective labours before they succumbed, inevitably, to the tropical fevers endemic in that place. 


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