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Bishop Brendan Kelly

Bishop Brendan Kelly

Born in Derrybrien in the parish of Ballinakill, Co. Galway on 20th May, 1946 to Sean and Annie Kelly, Bishop Brendan was the second of nine children.

He attended Craughwell National School and subsequently boarded at St. Mary's Diocesan College in Galway City.

Following the completion of his Leaving Certificate in 1964 he applied to and was accepted by the then bishop, Michael Brown, to study for diocesan priesthood in the Galway Diocese. He was sent to St Patrick's College, Maynooth in September of that year.

As a seminarian Bishop Brendan completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1967 and a Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1970.

He was ordained to the priesthood on 20th June 1971 by Bishop Brown in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas.

His first appointment was to the parish of Kinvara as a curate before being appointed to the teaching staff of Coláiste Éinde in Salthill in 1972, completing a Higher Diploma in Education in the then UCG (now NUI, Galway) in 1973.

Bishop Brendan remained on the staff of Coláiste Éinde until 1980 when he was transferred to the teaching staff of Our Lady’s College, Gort, becoming President in 1986.

Following the 1995 amalgamation of the three Gort secondary schools, Bishop Brendan applied for and was granted sabbatical leave from his diocese for one year and went to live with the L’Arche Community at Cuise-la-Motte in France. Founded by Jean Vanier in 1964, the worldwide L’Arche movement seeks to create inclusive, creative and caring families where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work in friendship, joy and mutual respect.

Returning to his diocese in 1996, Bishop Brendan was appointed by Bishop James McLoughlin as Parish Priest of Lisdoonvarna in Co. Clare and subsequently as Parish Priest of An Spidéal in 2003.

On 20th November 2007, Bishop Brendan was named by Pope Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Achonry, succeeding recently retired Bishop Thomas Flynn, and on 27th January 2008 he was ordained to the episcopate by Cardinal Seán Brady in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and St. Nathy in Ballaghaderreen.

On 11th December 2017, Pope Francis, named Bishop Brendan as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, succeeding Bishop Martin Drennan who retired in July 2016.

Bishop Kelly was offically installed as bishop in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, Galway on 11th February 2018, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.


Bishop Emeritus

Most Reverend Martin Drennan DD

Retired as Bishop 29 July 2016

Martin Drennan was born on 2 January 1944 in Piltown, County Kilkenny. Educated at Tobernabrone National School and Saint Kieran's College, Kilkenny, he studied for the priesthood at Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth and was ordained in 1968. Subsequently he was awarded a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. Continuing his studies at the Biblical Institute in Rome he was awarded a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture in 1971.

On his return to Ireland he served as curate in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny and in Ballycallan. From 1975 to 1980 he taught Scripture in the seminary at Saint Kieran's College. He then returned to Rome to serve as spiritual director to the students of the Irish College until 1985.

During the summer of 1985 he was appointed Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth. He continued to teach there until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997 with pastoral responsibility for the East Wicklow and South Dublin areas.

He was installed as Bishop of Galway & Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora on 3 July 2005.

Coat of Arms

The motto Comhoidhrí le Críost (co-heirs with Christ) is from Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans (8:17) where he emphasises the dignity and sure hope of a great destiny which are given to the followers of Christ.

The coat of arms draws attention to aspects of the joy of our Christian identity. In the centre is the Bible, opened at the beginning of the Gospel of John. The word of God offers a continual reminder to Christians of their deepest identity.

The fleur-de-lis at the top left is a symbol of the Blessed Virgin who grasped the full implications of her dignity as someone chosen and loved by God.

The Celtic Cross on the right is a reminder of our history and links with generations of Irish people who have gone before us.

At the bottom is a flowering blackthorn, making a connection with the family name Drennan (Ó Draighneáin).

17 Doughliska Road




See Also

The history section of this website includes a full list of past bishops of Galway.