Many priests were afraid of him and indeed if a priest ever said even one word against the Catholic Faith Mc Quaid would hastily and ruthlessly demolish him.

But there was another, hidden side to McQuaid – a side I got to know during my contacts with him from 1970 to 1983.

He was very good to poor people.

Mc Quaid had a rule that any homeless of down and out person who called at Archbishop’s House had to be seen by him personally. He kept cash near the back door of the house to give to those in need.

He not only gave money to people in need. He often went on to get them a house by contacting Dublin Corporation or get them a job through his many contacts with senior and wealthy business men.

In fact he got me summer jobs in 1971 and 1972 so that I would be able to buy the books I needed in Clonliffe Seminary.

Every night on the way home from Archbishop’s House to his home in Killiney he visited sick priests and people in Dublin’s hospital.


He also visited a youth club he set up in Eccles Street. On one occasion one of the boys asked him to dress up in all his episcopal gear. The following night he came with his gear and explained the history and meaning of each garment. He allowed several of the kids to try on his mitre.

He was particularly interested in helping Dublin’s prostitutes to give up their sex work. He appointed a Canon John Pierce (my PP at one time) as a special chaplain to the girls and insisted they were to be helped financially and to find a home.

He was very supportive of the trade union movement in Dublin and often acted as a mediator between the unions and the employers.


He was very good and kind to priests who got into trouble through drinking or womanising. He sent them for help and payed all their living expenses until they were able to return to ministry.

He once asked the Church of Ireland archbishop to help a Church of Ireland priest who was in trouble. The archbishop agreed after asking McQuaid was the problem “Punch or Judy”. Mc Quaid told him it was both!”

He was ahead of his time in founding organisations and charities to address all kinds of social issues.

In the early 1970s he was asked by the Papal Nuncio to tender his resignation but was firmly told it was just a formality and it would not be accepted.

But it was! McQuaid was devastated.

Soon afterwards I was visiting him in Archbishop’s House and he said to me:

“Pat, when I leave here I will lose all my so called friends. Will you come and visit me”?

Of course I agreed and every Friday afternoon until he died I got the bus to Killiney and spent several hours with him. We prayed together and talked.

My exact return bus fare stood as a little column of coins on the corner of a his desk.

He lived between two mansions – one in Drumcondra and one in Killiney.

But his personal life was extremely. His bedroom consisted of an single iron bed, a chair and a prie-dieu under a crucifix and a wardrobe.

His bathroom next to it, which I also used was bare and as clean as an operating theatre – thanks to the three nuns that looked after him – members of the Notre Dame sisters.

Incidentally his Killiney house was called Notre Dame de Bois – Our Lady of the Woods.

One Friday I arrived and saw a Jack Russell pup in the back garden. I asked him was it his. He replied: “It is. A gift from a well meaning man”. Then I noticed he had a plaster cast on his wrist. I asked what had happened and he pointed to the pup that had tripped him. I asked “What is its name Your Grace”? He replied: I have not decided yet, but I am thinking of calling him Lucifer for he tripped an archbishop over”.

He had no problem with alcohol. His nephew, the child psychiatrist Paul McQuaid went to see him on Sundays. He would pour Paul a full glass of wine and put a thimble full in his own glass to play with.

I also used him as a confessor and spiritual director.

I felt very sorry for him on the day his successor Dermot Ryan was being installed. He stood alone on the stairs of the Pro Cathedral Presbytery and cut a very forlorn figure.

On that day I had been chosen to be Dermot Ryan’s personal assistant. He picked me up at 9 am and dropped me off at midnight. He never spoke one work to be during the day. When I got him a cup of tea he never said thanks. When I tipped him on the arm to let him know that Bishop Eamon Casey wanted a word with him he shouted: “Get your hands off me”. When he dropped me off at midnight he never even said thank you or good night.


John Charles was certainly very wrong to dictate to politicians and political leaders. He was also criticised for his handling of abuse cases.

But he was a man of his time and he believed that the RC Church was God’s representative on earth and that he was God’s representative in Dublin and Ireland.

Obviously a man of great contradictions. And in spite of all his failings he tried to do all the good he could.

I was quite devastated when at lunch time in Clonliffre on April 7th 1973 The president announced that” His Grace Archbishop McQuaud died during the night”.

No more trips to Killiney and no more the column of coins sitting on the corner of a desk.



Pat, I am so glad you printed these memories of Archbishop McQuaid which, as you say, portray another side to this man of contradictions. Yes, he was a man of his time and certainly had no doubts about his moral, spiritual and political roles. Despite the fear he instilled and the power be wielded, not always favourably, it is important to acknowledge his kinder, compassionate, charitable and human empathetic nature. The stories you tell of his charity are remembered by many priests, parishioners and people of Dublin. Sadly, he has been cruelly demonized by many, denigrated and all too often has been misunderstood. I have reason to be grateful to him for saving my life.Very grateful. Incidentally, he founded The Dublin Diocesan Caring Agency, CROSSCARE which is an amazing agency in our Diocese. His founding of this agency showed him to have a keen sense of the social injustices and his conscience compelled him to help the poor, sick and disadvantaged. His kindness to priests in trouble is well documented. Thank you Pat. I’m astounded by your experiences which you had with Archbishop McQuaid.


Patsy thank you so much for your article about Dr. McQuade a truly magnificent prelate who has been demonized since the dreadful biography by John Cooney, whose dislike of His Grace jumps out of every page. You were so privileged and lucky to have known this wonderful prelate. He was treated appallingly after all his years of service faithful at all times to The Catholic Faith. The new order who took over, bleating about the new pentecost that was coming after the hellish Vat.II, well we can see now that it was the exact opposite. The modernist crowd all thought it would be great to be rid of Archbishop McQuade they soon found out when Ryan was appointed, they were sorely disappointed, a very unpleasant character with no social graces. Thanks again Patsy for reminding us of the real Archbishop John Charles McQuade who I remember with great affection, may his dear soul rest in peace.
Evviva Maria!


“The Way We Were”
Written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch
sung by Barbara Streisand (Album-‘The Way We Were’ 1974)

Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm….Mem’ries,
Light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?
Mem’ries, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember…
The way we were…
The way we were… ohohohoh


Ah! Dermot Ryan, share churches, the common fund and the personality og a bag of cement. John Charles was, like Pat old school and hard core, with a work ethic, high standards, spirituality and humility not like the rabble we have to endure now.


McQuaid belonged to a world of institutional Roman Catholicism that I did not know, and would not wish to know. It is, to me, a past which indeed is a foreign country, where things were done very differently. At least, some things. But others never change: the capacity for human warmth, compassion, kindness, a sense of pioneering leadership in social justice. These are qualities which, from Bishop Pat’s character sketch of the man, marked out John Charles McQuaid and which, despite the autocratic and authoritarian Church era, might nevertheless have endeared me to him in much the same way as it drew Pat.


8.23am: Magna: A lovely surprise to read your positive response to Pat’s piece about Archbishop McQuaid. There are still many priests and religious sisterswho have those traits of warmth, human mindness, compassion and who have initiated many caring projects in parishes and throughout the country. Despite the destruction and damage done to many by criminal abusive behaviour by some clerics and the appalling cover ups, there are many religious and clerics who are quiet leaders in living truly the essence of the gospel of Christ. These leaders on the ground make a difference to thousands by their dedicated witness to Christ. So, I am glad you are able to acknowledge the presence of such people and glad that you are very circumspect about Archbishop McQuaid. Pat’s narrative is necessary because some journalists have ripped this man apart unfairly and unjustly.


Magna at 8:23am
What a lovely post, I always knew there was some good in you, I hope you keep it up. You are to young to remember those day’s that’s a pity. I remember those wonderful day’s only too well and I loved them. I’m so glad Patsy posted this article, that in itself proves it was not as bad as some would have us believe.
Evviva Maria!


Bella, you should’ve gone to specsavers! Take off the rose-tinted glasses for a healthier perspective.
(Just sayin,like)😎


So delighted that we have another portrait of Archbishop McQuaid other than the negative narrative we receive so often. Yes, the Archbishop was a man of his time in terms of his moral convictions and in hindsight we see that he strayed too far into the sexual lives of others. (But that happens in this blog on a daily basis!!). Apart from his extreme conservative views, the Archbishop was someone with a great sense of justice for the poor, the marginalised and outcast. He had a lovely kindness for the sick whom he encountered and many priests availed of his wise counselling. While some criticisms of this man are legitimate but let us not forget the human kindness and compassion of the late Archbishop.


Anonymous at 1:48pm

There is always a moron like you. I lived through the day’s of His Grace the late great Archbishop John Charles McQuade’s reign in Dublin I don’t need rose-tinted specs. I remember those day’s very well and I prefer them to what we have today. I think it’s people like you who need to drop your blindfolds and get a more healthier perspective of what that time was really like, instead of basing your thoughts on all the negativity printed by the dreadful auld hacks who write of that time from their own foul liberal perspective.
(Just sayin’, like)


Bella, Archbishop McQuaids… reign…! Was he royalty? I thought priests were called to serve ,not to reign or lord it over people? I live in the present not the past. (Just sayin’ ,like)😉


Sounds like a nice man. I wonder if he covered up abuse or sent child
molesting Priests from Parish to Parish?


It doesn’t say much for McQuaid’s judgement of character given that you are now excommunicated by the RC Church. I think you have an unhealthy obsession with this man because you’ve repeated these stories of him so many times. It’s very strange you single him out for praise whilst tearing most other prelates to pieces. In reality when in power McQuaid was an ignoramus and rude man, his negatives outweighed his positives.


On the contrary. It may say much for McQuaid’s judgement of character.
How are you to know? Dare I say, some in the RC Church would excommunicate the good Lord,
if the Lord put in an appearance.


In the interest of truth we must accept that McQuaid did not handle abuse the way he should have. There are no excuses for this.

There were three allegations of abuse against him personally. These were never given the benefit of being tested in a court of law.


@ 1:00pm
I’m not an apologist for the catholic church, but your use of the word horrendous in the context of the Wikipedia article on McQuaid, is an exaggerated over-statement. Read the Pennsylvania Report from last year for horrendous reading.
McQuaid, in acting as he did to avoid scandal in both Ireland and Rome without regard to the victims, was following Church policy directives from Rome.


Anonymous at 11:53 am

No you are the ignoramus, despite what has happened in Patsy’s life he has at least the character and honesty to tell the truth about this magnificent Prelate. His positives far outweigh his negatives.
Evviva Maria!


Anonymous at 1:15pm

Don’t be ridiculous you really are a disgusting person, I don’t agree with Patsy on most things. But he has to be admired for telling the truth and giving morons like you a true perspective of this magnificent Prelate.
Evviva Maria!


A poster yesterday described Ciaran Dallat as a ‘stud’! Yeah, I would concur with that……..can see why he’s popular with the ladies (and some of the guys too).


Bella, you’re high-maintenance! 😳 I meant ‘fallen’ for Bishop Buckleys way of thinking. 😊


Magna at 8:02pm

I think it’s you who are high-maintenance! Patsy and I will never have the same way of thinking as well you know. But he has shown his his integrity and honesty in portraying Archbishop McQuade as he was, and I commend him for that. I’m off to Holy Mass where in charity I will pray even for the likes of you.
Evviva Maria!


I bet he hated saying the New Mass must have been a real torture. He wrote a commentary on the interim Missal of 1965 it’s one of the best writings on the theology of the Mass, one of the last of the true Romans


Mc Quaid used Latin a lot. He vested on the altar. For a while I carried the end of his Cappa Magna.


He was, apparently, the quasi ruler of Catholic Ireland and you were… well, let’s just say, his twink. Or maybe his twank?


Archbishop McQuaid was both a class act and a true Christian, he had his faults like all men, but he was a much loved teacher , priest and champion of the Irish people and he said his prayers, his life should be honoured more


McQuaid and his ilk are as guilty of crimes against humanity and as calculating as Hitler and had the same control over the Irish people as the Third Reich.


Obviously you are absolutely right hear hear ! Let’s get some action going to redress who can we sue? We need memorials and memorial days , his tomb needs burning for a start, his crimes need putting on the examination syllabus in every school , we need to get the young people outraged at the sound of his name, he was worse than Hitler in reality look at his crimes, he’s accused anonymously and without evidence of sex abuse , he opposed the pill, he thought that tampons were suspect , he supported censorship, there was physical and sexual abuse in catholic schools and catholic homes in his diocese that he encouraged makes Hitler look like a saint, you are so right he had an evil control like magic over the whole of Ireland


He controlled poor Bp Pat for a year, a wasted year some would say, when he should have been enjoying himself.


8.17; Are you on drugs? A perversion of history. You seriously need to reread what truly happened under the Third Reich… you philistine!


11:39 is a comment by Fr Holier-than-thou, you can tell by the berating tone and the insults. That is of course in addition to the inability to treat anyone else’s opinions with any respect at all.


Anonymous at 8:17pm

What an Idiot you are, your view of history distorted by your ignorance. It’s those in charge today that have led the country on the road to perdition. And there will be a price to pay.
Evviva Maria!


Well done Pat. A balanced picture is always welcome. Expose the bad (you are excellent), celebrate the good (you have done well today). Life is not black and white.


8:17. I agree with your post McQuaids interference in Irish politics set the country back years. However all the blame cannot be put on him when we had cardinal (😉) de Valera as a willing co conspirator. Men of their ilk tried, successfully, to control and dictate the morals of the populace in much the same way as authoritarian dictators of that era. Thank God most of us, excluding Bella, have wised up


Control and dictate morals? How disgusting we don’t want anybody telling us what’s right and wrong , life in Ireland now is fantastic it’s diverse and gay and abortion friendly we are the ones saying what’s right and what’s wrong and what we want is to be like all the other amazing countries in Europe but with even more diversity and migrants. Ireland’ historical emphasis on Christianity and the family was exactly like Hitler’s dream of a master race, the brainwashing the executions, there’s even people today who still belive in family life and moral conduct they need reporting


A contemporary fanatical ideologue of a contemporary ideology wearing ROSE-TINTED New World order glasses.


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