United Dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe
|Dublin and Cashel
|St Mary's Cathedral, Tuam
St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick
|Michael Burrows, Bishop of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
The present united diocese dates from 2022, the result of a number of mergers of sees beginning in the seventeenth century:
|Unions before 1976
|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
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.
As of 2022, the united diocese is divided into a number of parishes, each led by a priest serving multiple churches.