Roman Catholic Diocese of Elphin

For other uses, see Elphin (disambiguation).
Diocese of Elphin
Dioecesis Elphinensis
Country Republic of Ireland
Territory Parts of counties Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath and Galway
Ecclesiastical province Province of Tuam
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Tuam
Area 1,201 sq mi (3,110 km2)
- Catholics

Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established Diocese in 1111
Cathedral Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo
Patron saint St Ascius and the Immaculate Conception
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Kevin Doran
Bishop of Elphin
Metropolitan Archbishop Michael Neary
Archbishop of Tuam

The Diocese of Elphin within the Province of Tuam

The Diocese of Elphin (Irish: Deoise Ail Finn) is a Roman Catholic diocese in the western part of Ireland. It is in the Metropolitan Province of Tuam and is subject to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Tuam. The current Bishop is Kevin Doran who was appointed in 2014.

Geographical remit

The diocese covers parts of the counties of Roscommon, Sligo and Galway, and County Westmeath. Its Cathedral, which was originally established in the County Roscommon town of Elphin, is now in Sligo. The major towns are Athlone, Boyle, Castlerea, Roscommon and Sligo.

History of the Diocese

The See dates to the earliest days of the Irish Church. From the time Christianity first arrived in Ireland in the second half of the 5th century (in the form of Saint Patrick's mission), the early church was centred on Monastic settlements. St. Patrick founded such a settlement in an area known as Corcoghlan, now known as Elphin, in 434 or 435. The first Abbot bishop of this monastic settlement was Assicus, who was said to be St. Patrick's silversmith or coppersmith. Saint Assicus is now the patron of the diocese. Following the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1111 the diocese was formally recognised.[1] .[2] The Cathedral established here was dedicated to Beatae Mariae Virgini (Blessed Mary the Virgin).

Following the English Reformation of the 16th century, the Cathedral and many monasteries and convents were destroyed. It wasn't until 1874 that the then bishop, Laurence Gillooly, decided to rebuild the Cathedral, this time in Sligo town. This Cathedral was dedicated to The Immaculate Conception. Just under 20 years later, in 1892, Bishop Gillooly supervised the building of a College dedicated to training boys for the priesthood, known as the College of the Immaculate Conception. This school still operates today, as Summerhill College.

Diocesesan governance

There are currently thirty-seven parishes in the Diocese, which are divided into 6 administrative deaneries, based in the towns of Sligo, Boyle, Strokestown, Castlerea, Roscommon and the part of Athlone west of the River Shannon. There are currently 108 priests, ministering to a population of approximately 70,000, of whom 97% (68,000) are Roman Catholic.[1][3]


See also


  1. 1 2 "History of Elphin". Diocese of Elphin website. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
  2. Kelly, J.J. (1909). "Elphin". The Catholic Encyclopedia. V. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
  3. Cheney, David M. (2007-02-03). "Elphin (Diocese) [Catholic Hierarchy]". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 2007-04-03. Source Annuario Pontificio, 2005

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 

Coordinates: 54°16′12″N 8°28′43″W / 54.2699°N 8.4786°W / 54.2699; -8.4786

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