Recommended Reading

General histories

Background reading on Catholics and Catholicism in Ulster includes:

  • Oliver P. Rafferty, Catholicism in Ulster 1603–1983: An Interpretative History (1994)
  • Marianne Elliott, The Catholics of Ulster (2000)
  • Brian Mac Cuarta, Catholic Revival in the North of Ireland, 1603–41 (2007)

Broader studies of Irish Catholicism include two books by P.J. Corish:

Catholic Community cover

W.P. Burke, Irish Priests in Penal Times (1660–1760)

Much useful information drawn from contemporary sources is presented in W.P. Burke, Irish Priests in Penal Times (1660–1760): from the State Papers in H. M. Record Offices, Dublin and London, the Bodleian Library, and the British Museum (1914), which is available on the Internet Archive

Click to read on the Internet Archive

Local histories and journals

Many Catholic parish histories have been written. These books, frequently based on local knowledge gained over a lifetime, can include information of inestimable value, such as details of individual families and place-names.

Many societies produce a journal on a regular basis and these can also be exceptionally useful for researchers. A number of these journals can now be accessed electronically via JSTOR, including Seanchas Ard Mhacha, the Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, and Clogher Record, the Journal of the Clogher Historical Society.

Another important journal is Archivium Hibernicum, published annually by the Catholic Historical Society of Ireland, which contains a wealth of primary source material. In a similar vein is also Collectanea Hibernica, which was published by the Franciscan Province of Ireland.

Diocesan histories

A number of diocesan histories for Ulster have been published. The most comprehensive of these is James O’Laverty’s Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, published in five volumes between 1878 and 1895, and available below:

Others diocesan histories covering the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries include:

  • James E. McKenna, Diocese of Clogher: Parochial Records (2 vols, 1920)
  • Henry A. Jefferies and Ciaran Devlin (eds), History of the Diocese of Derry from Earliest Times (2000)
  • Henry A. Jefferies (ed.), History of the Diocese of Clogher (2005)
  • The Diocese of Dromore Past and Present (2004), available on
  • Phillip O’Connell, The Diocese of Kilmore: Its History and Antiquities (1937)
  • Liam Kelly, The Diocese of Kilmore, c.1100–1800 (2017)
  • Edward Maguire, A History of the Diocese of Raphoe (2 vols, 1920)

The Clergy of Down and Connor, 1400–1900

This title provides brief biographical details of the countless clergy who have served in the Catholic Diocese of Down and Connor from the medieval period through to 1900. The research is the culmination of years of effort by the late Canon George O’Hanlon and the late Monsignor Ambrose Macaulay, hugely admired church archivists, historians and authors.

The book highlights the major contribution of the clergy to the Church during pre- Reformation times and the Penal Era, as well as the crucial period of expansion in the nineteenth century. This is a work that will have considerable appeal for those interested in ecclesiastical history in general and specifically in the development of the Catholic Church in County Antrim and in north and east County Down. It will also help genealogists and local historians interested in building up a picture of families associated with the Church in this northern diocese.

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