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    The introduction of Christianity in the 5th century is the first outstanding event in the written history of Ireland. How Christianity first found entry to the Decies we do not know for certain. We have no record that St. Patrick ever preached there himself or that he ever sent one of his disciples to preach therein. The probable reason is that Christianity was already in the course of establishment through the preaching of St. Declan. Declan, whose preaching, confined to his own kindred, most probably preceded Patrick's by a few years, was himself of the ruling Decies family and lived well into St. Patrick's time. Declan was a Christian from his infancy, and upon his ordination (where, or by whom, we know not) he devoted himself to the conversion of his own people and established his chief church by the seashore, at Ardmore. In early Christian Ireland bishops were more numerous than they are today. Multiplicity of Bishops was, in fact, one of the peculiarities of the early Irish church. Within the Decies, for instance, there were bishops not only at Ardmore and Lismore, but at Kilsheeelan, Kilbarrymeaden, Donoghmore, Clashmore, Mothel and other places. This does not necessarily mean that, at each of these places, a regular succession of bishops was maintained. Far as we know, there was only an occasional bishop at most of them ... By the end of the 12th century all these bishoprics had been cut down to three—Lismore, Ardmore and Waterford, and shortly afterwards the See of Ardmore disappears. 

    The Diocese of Waterford (as distinct from Lismore) was of small extent—including only the city with the present barony of Gaultier and part of Middlethird. Gaultier (Gall Tír-the land of the foreigners) was originally the territory of the Danes of Waterford who had, upon their conversion to Christianity in the 11th century, a bishop of their own consecrated for them, not by the Archbishop of Cashel or any other Irish Church authority, but by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom they made themselves spiritually subject. Subjection to Canterbury continued, however, for only a short time. By 1172 we find Waterford acknowledging the ecclesiastical headship of Cashel. The first bishop of Waterford was Malchus, an Irishman who had been a monk in England; he was appointed in 1096.

    The Diocese of Lismore embraced almost all of the Co. Waterford not included in Waterford Diocese, together with two baronies (and part of two others) of Co. Tipperary, as well as a small area of Co. Cork. The first bishop of Lismore was St. Carthage, otherwise Mochuda, of the 7th century. He was also Abbot of the great monastery which he established in his episcopal city. Lismore grew to be a great monastery and also a centre of learning to which students came, not only from all parts of Ireland, but even from foreign lands. At one time there were no fewer than seven churches in Lismore and there was a religious house for women, as well as the great monastery for men, into which no female might enter. Among the illustrious men associated with Lismore are Malchus, Bishop of that See; Cataldus, bishop of Tarentum in Italy; Malachy, Primate of Ireland and Apostolic Legate; Christian, also Apostolic Legate; St. Celsus of Armagh and Cormac MacCarthy, royal builder of the famous church that bears his name on the rock of Cashel. Alfred the Great, of England, is also said to have studied for a while in this famous school. 

 -A Short History of County Waterford, Rev. Patrick Power, 1933, The Waterford News Ltd.

Lismore           Ardmore            Waterford           Waterford & Lismore 

The Diocese of Lismore, 637A.D.

Carrthach (Carthage or Mochoda)




Colman ma Findbairr

Crónán ma hÉiceáin

Colmán ua Litáin

Mac Óige



Suairleach mac Ciaráin


Aedán moccu Raichlich

Fland mac Fairchellaig

Daniél ua Liathardi

Fland mac Forbassaig

Mael Brigte mac Mael Domnaig

Cormac ma Mothla

Ciarán mac Ciarmagáin


Diarmait mac Torpthai

Maenach mac Cormaic


Cinaed mac Mael Chiaráin

Cormac mac Maol Chiaráin

Ua Mael Sluaig

Muireadach na Rebacháin


Cinead ua Conn Mina

Niall ma Mac Aedachain

Ua Daigthig

Mael Ísu na nAinmere


MaelMuire ua Loingsig

Gilla Chríst ua Connairche

The Diocese of Ardmore, 1153 A.D.


Ua Selbeig

The Diocese of Waterford, 1096 A.D.


Mael Ísu na nAinmere - Died 1135 or 1136 


Augustinus ua Selbaig

Robert I

William Wace





Walter de Southwell

Stephen de Fulbourn

Walter de Fulbourn


Nicholas Welifed

Richard Francis

Robert Elyot

Roger Craddock

The United Dioceses of Waterford & Lismore, 1363 A.D.

Thomas le Reve 1363 - 93

Robert Read 1394 - 96

Thomas Sparkford 1396 - 97

John Deping (or De-Ping)1397 - 1400

Thomas Snell 1400 - 05

Roger Appleby 1405 - 09

John Geese 1409 - 14 *

Thomas Colby 1414 - 22

John Geese 1422 - 25 * Same person as 1409 - 14

Richard Cantwell 1426 - 46

Robert Poer 1446 - 71

Richard Martin 1472 - 74

John Bulcomb 1475 – 79

Nicol Ó hAonghusa 1480 - 81

Thomas Purcell 1486 - 1517

Nicholas Comyn 1519 - 47

John MacGrath 1548 - 51

Patrick Walsh 1551 – 78

There was no Catholic bishop for the next 50 years, during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I

Patrick Comerford 1628 – 1652

John Brennan 1671 – 93 *Translated to the See of Cashel as Archbishop

Richard Piers 1696 - 1739

Sylvester Louis Lloyd 1739 - 47 (Thomas Stritch 1743 – 1745 coadjutor.)

Peter Creagh 1750 - 74

William Egan 1774 - 96

Thomas Hussey 1797 – 1803

John Power D.D.1804 – 16

Patrick Kelly 1822 – 29

William Abraham 1829 – 37

Nicholas Foran 1837 – 55

Dominic O’Brien 1855 – 73

John Power 1873 – 87

Piers Power 1887 – 89

John Egan 1889 – 91

Richard A. Sheehan 1891 - 1915

Bernard Hackett 1916 – 32

Jeremiah Kinane 1932 – 43 *Translated to the See of Cashel as Archbishop

Daniel Cohalan 1943 – 65

Michael Russell 1965 – 93

William Lee 1993 to present

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