Originally published in Dublin in 1878 by Hodges, Foster and Figgis and republished here on fully-searchable CD-ROM, The Diocese of Killaloe: From the Reformation to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, was written by Rev. Cannon Philip Dwyer and this edition was first owned by Rev. W. McIlwaine, D.D., a contributor on the history and architecture of the Cathedral of St Flannans, Killaloe.
At the time of publication the Diocese of Killaloe encompassed all of county Clare, portions of county Galway, Tipperary and Limerick as well as the ancient Diocese of Roscrea, to which was added the Diocese of Kilfenora and is the second largest Diocese in Ireland. The author's stated aim of the publication was to trace the 'internal and external state of the Church within the Diocese of Killaloe' and in some 580 printed pages this he managed to do with considerable success, producing one of the first modern diocesan histories, which was used as a template for may later such histories.
The Rev. Canon Philip Dwyer was born in Dublin (1822-1905) the son of a barrister and after studying at Trinity College, Dublin, was ordained as a priest with his first appointment in 1846 to the parish of Dunkerrin, Co. Clare. For the next thirty-eight years Dwyer served as a priest and later as a Prebend and vicar in the county, during which time he initiated the building of the new St Columba's Church and gained the reputation as the 'historian of Clare'. Dwyer published six books on county Clare and the Diocese of Killaloe of which the title under review is the best-known, which was published shortly before he left Ireland for Canada.
Without any precursors to such a publication Dwyer set out The Diocese of Killaloe from the Reformation to the Close of the Eighteenth Century - which is a bit of a misnomer as it ends in 1702 - by regnal year, beginning with the Reformation and the reign of Henry VIII (1509-47), one of the shortest chapters in the publication, consisting of a mere sixteen pages. Drawing heavily on State Papers, Patent Roles, Inquisitions, Fiants and other manuscript material available to him, Dwyer was also the first historian to make particular use the Depositions made during the reign of Charles I. The chapters covering the reigns of James I (1603-25) and Charles I (1625-48) are amongst the most informative. Included in the chapter covering the reign of James I is the 'State of the Diocese of Killaloe' an answer by the incumbent of the Diocese in 1622 presented in 14 articles. This includes a list of all of the incumbents of the diocese, their values and patrons as well as a list of all of the deteynors of church lands in the diocese, the names, value and quantity of land held. The Depositions utilised in the chapter 6, the Reign of King Charles I. These record first had the turmoil wreaked throughout the Diocese resulting from the 1641 Rebellion.
The Diocese of Killaloe includes many useful appendices, which include succession lists for the Diocese, topographies for the parishes in Killaloe as well as a list of the castles of county Clare and their owners in 1584. The Diocese of Killaloe from the Reformation to the Close of the Eighteenth Century republished here on fully-searchable CD-ROM must appeal to anyone interested in the local history and religious history of the diocese and also to those interested in the local history of Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.