Rev Patrick Fahy

P.P. Moycullen 1840-1848

Treasa McMahon

Fr Fahy Memorial in Moycullen Church
Moycullen Historical Society

Patrick Fahy, born in 1800, was a contemporary of Bishop O’Donnells and was also a native of Oughterard.

After ordination, he was appointed curate to St. Nicholas West (Claddagh) and was present with his parish priest at the execution of Michael Coy in August 1830. This execution was the first in six years in Galway Gaol.

work to help famine victims

In 1830-1831 there are many references to Father Fahy’s appeals for funding for the people of the Claddagh, including letters to the papers of that time¹.

These letters highlighted the distress, hunger and disease which were rampant in the city of Galway. Father Fahy did much to help the victims of cholera, of which there was an outbreak in 1832.

It is on record that Father Fahy was appointed Rector of the United Parishes of Spiddal and Minnagh in November 1832, to replace Father Thomas Loftus, who had been transferred to Shrule. His stay there cannot have been more than a few months as he appears to have resumed the chaplaincy of the gaol in 1833.

commercial society of galway

The Commercial Society of Galway expressed their appreciation of his work by electing him an Honorary Member. His attendance in 1830 at a dinner in honour of Richard Lawlor Shiel was also noted. By all accounts he was a popular figure in the city.

chaplin galway gaol

Being a chaplain to a gaol in famine times cannot have been a pleasant duty. The injustice and the ill treatment of the unfortunate prisoners were commonplace though prison was often preferable to the work house. There were frequent executions, one in particular of Michael Coleman which involved a legal wrangle between Father Fahy and two Protestant Ministers as to who should give spiritual assistance. This case was referred to as the Fahy -v- 2 Protestant Ministers Case. Their names are not recorded, neither is the outcome of the case.

When Edmund French, P.P. of Moycullen, died in June 1840, Father Fahy succeeded him. Father French was a victim of infectious disease contracted on his pastoral visits.

diary entries

Patrick Fahy P.P. recorded for posterity an accurate and precise account of events in Moycullen during his years in office. For that we must be grateful to him. It gives us an insight into the personality of the man, who himself took delivery of Indian Meal and brought it home to Moycullen via Barna for distribution in the local school.

One cannot help wondering if his last sad entry in May 1848 was somehow prophetic of his own death. “About 12 a week die, I don’t know the end of it. The mortality if frightful”.

He died himself that same year at 48 years of age.

A memorial plaque in Moycullen Church reads:

“Pray for the Soul of Rev. P. Fahy P.P. 1840-1848”

 

Reference:

  1. Connaught Journal, 14 February 1831
This page was added on 01/10/2016.

Comments about this page

  • to whom it concerns:

    Rev Thomas Loftus Chaplin 1833 – can you please send me source of reference

    Thanks

    It is on record that Father Fahy was appointed Rector of the United Parishes of Spiddal and Minnagh in November 1832, to replace Father Thomas Loftus, who had been transferred to Shrule. His stay there cannot have been more than a few months as he appears to have resumed the chaplaincy of the gaol in 1833.

    By Martin Wallace (01/07/2017)
  • This article was researched and written by a former colleague of ours at Moycullen Historical Society who has sadly since passed away Martin. We cannot be certain the exact source of the reference but we do know Treasa carried out much research through the Diocesan office at the Cathedral in Galway. We find the current archivist, Mr. Tom Kilgarriff, most helpful and I’m sure if you emailed him your query, he may have the source details you require. His email is finance@galwaydiocese.ie. Apologies for not having an exact answer to your query but we trust our suggestion may be of help.

    By hazel (02/07/2017)

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