United Dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe
Ecclesiastical provinceDublin and Cashel
CathedralSt Mary's Cathedral, Tuam
St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick
Killaloe Cathedral
Clonfert Cathedral
Killala Cathedral
Current leadership
BishopMichael Burrows, Bishop of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe
An engraving of St Mary's Cathedral, Tuam, as rebuilt in the 1870s and completed in 1878
St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick
St Flannan's Cathedral, Killaloe
St Brendan's Cathedral, Clonfert

The Diocese of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe (full title The United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala, Achonry, Limerick, Ardfert, Aghadoe, Killaloe, Kilfenora, Clonfert, Kilmacduagh and Emly) is a diocese of the Church of Ireland that is located in the west of Ireland.[1] The diocese was formed by a merger of the former Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and the former Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe in 2022, after the retirement of the separate dioceses' bishops and the appointment of Michael Burrows as bishop of the united diocese.[2] It is in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin. It is one of the eleven Church of Ireland dioceses that cover the whole of Ireland. The largest diocese by area in the Church of Ireland, it covers all of counties Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Mayo, plus parts of counties Cork, Sligo, Roscommon, Offaly, Laois and Tipperary.

Overview and history

When the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church broke communion, it was established by the state as the established church. Later, by decree of the Irish Parliament, the Church of Ireland became the independent State Church of the Kingdom of Ireland. It assumed possession of most Church property (and so retained a great repository of religious architecture and other items, though some were later destroyed). The substantial majority of the population remained faithful to Roman Catholicism, despite the political and economic advantages of membership in the state church. The English-speaking minority mostly adhered to the Church of Ireland or to Presbyterianism.

On 13 April 1834, the diocese of Killala and Achonry was united to the Archdiocese of Tuam. On the death of Archbishop Trench of Tuam in 1839, the Province of Tuam was united to the Province of Armagh and the see ceased to be an archbishopric and became a bishopric with Thomas Plunket becoming the first bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry.[3] Meanwhile, in 1833, the two provinces of Dublin and Cashel were merged. Over the centuries, a number of dioceses were merged (see below), in view of declining membership. It is for this reason that the united diocese has five cathedrals.

In 2019, the Church of Ireland General Synod agreed to amalgamate the two dioceses upon the retirement of their incumbent bishops.[2] These retirements took place in 2021, and in 2022, Burrows was elected as the first bishop of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe. He finished his service in the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory in April 2022 and was installed in the united diocese that same month.[4] Despite being the largest single diocese in area, the two prior dioceses each saw the lowest average Sunday attendance of any Church of Ireland dioceses with just 612 in attendance in Tuam, Killala and Achonry and 1,205 in attendance in Limerick and Killaloe, according to the most recently available Church of Ireland census data. The united diocese's attendance of 1,817 makes it the second-least-attended diocese in the Church of Ireland after Meath and Kildare.[5]

Predecessor dioceses

The present united diocese dates from 2022, the result of a number of mergers of sees beginning in the seventeenth century:[6]

Ancient dioceses Unions before 1976 1976 2022
Diocese of Ardfert & Aghadoe 1661: Diocese of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe Diocese of Limerick & Killaloe Diocese of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe
Diocese of Limerick
Diocese of Clonfert 1602: Diocese of Clonfert & Kilmacduagh 1834: Diocese of Killaloe & Clonfert
Diocese of Kilmacduagh
Diocese of Kilfenora 1752: Diocese of Killaloe & Kilfenora
Diocese of Killaloe
Diocese of Emly United to Cashel from 1569-1976
Archdiocese of Tuam 1834: Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry
Diocese of Killala and Achonry


St. Brendan's Cathedral, Ardfert
St. Fachnan's Cathedral, Kilfenora

Five others are in ruins or no longer exist:

St. Crumnathy's Cathedral, Achonry was deconsecrated in 1998 and is now used for ecumenical events.[11]

Parish groups

As of 2022, the united diocese is divided into a number of parishes, each led by a priest serving multiple churches.[12][13]

Lists of bishops

Bishops of Tuam, Killala and Achonry

Bishops of Limerick and Killaloe

Bishops of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe

See also


  1. ^ "United Dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe". Church of Ireland. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Amalgamation of Irish dioceses of Tuam and Limerick likely by 2022". Anglican Ink. 21 June 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  3. ^ Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (Third Edition, revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 407. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
  4. ^ "BISHOP'S FINAL LETTER IN CFO – WITH GREAT GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION". Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory. 29 March 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Bill No. 7 - Explanatory Memorandum" (PDF). Journal of the First Ordinary Session of the Fiftieth General Synod of the Church of Ireland: lv. 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  6. ^ Galloway, Peter (1992). The Cathedrals of Ireland. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast. pp. 10, 48, 97, 142. ISBN 0853894523.
  7. ^ "The Cathedral Churches of Tuam, Killala and Achonry". Church of Ireland. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  8. ^ St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick. Retrieved on 9 January 2009.
  9. ^ St Flannan's Cathedral, Killaloe. Retrieved on 9 January 2009.
  10. ^ a b The Cathedral Churches of Limerick and Killaloe. Retrieved on 9 January 2009.
  11. ^ "Ecumenical Carol Service in St Crumnathy's Cathedral, Achonry". Church of Ireland. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Parish Information", Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe website. Retrieved on 6 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Tuam parishes". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  14. ^ St Flannan's Cathedral, Killaloe. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.
  15. ^ Shinrone Group of Parishes. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.
  16. ^ "Bishops Appoint the Very Revd Patrick Rooke as New Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry :: Saint Patrick's Cathedral Armagh | Church of Ireland". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.