[Saint] Laurence O’Toole

Life
1130-1180 [var. 1128]; b. Leinster; ed. Glendalough, abbot at 25; first archbishop of Dublin, 1162; treated with Strongbow, 1170; lead army which recaptured Dublin; submitted to Henry I171; Counsel of Windsor, representing Roderic ‘Connor, 1175; Third Laterna Council, Rome, 1179; made papal legate; embassy for O’Connor in England, 1180; denied permission to return to Ireland by Henry; died Eu, in Normandy, seeking King’s permission to return; canonised 1226 (Feast Day 14 Nov.) ODNB DIB OCIL

[ top ]

Criticism
Canon John O’Hanlon, The Life of St. Laurence O’Toole, Archbishop of Dublin (Dublin: J. Mullany 1857); Desmond Forristal, The Man in the Middle: St Laurence O’Toole:Patron Saint of Dublin (Dublin: Veritas 1988), 95pp.

[ top ]

Commentary
John D’Alton, History of the Archbishops of Dublin, ‘Laurence O’Toole’, quoted in Cabinet of Irish Literature, ed., Charles Reade (1867), Vol. III: ‘In 1167 he assisted the council which King Roderic convened at Athboy, and which, in the mixed grades of those who attended it, greatly resembled a Saxon wittenagemote. ... The Political object of this assembly was to obtain more indisputable acknowledgements of the sovereignty of Roderic, and to calculate what aid and support he might expect in case of the then expected invasion of Dermot Mac Murrough’s auxiliaries. [.../] Upon the first invasion of the Welsh adventurers he adhered firmly to the independence of his country, and encouraged the inhabitants of Dublin to a vigorous defence against the invaders; they, however, daunted by the martial appearance and disciplined array of Strongbow’s forces before their walls, entreated the prelate to become a mediator of a peace, to effectuate which he passed out into the lines of the besiegers; but while the terms of surrender were yet under discussion, Raymond le Gros and Milo de Cogan, with a party of young and fiery spirits, scaled the walls, and at once possessed themselves of the city with frightful carnage.’ (End; p. 213.)

S. C Hughes, The Church of S. Werburgh Dublin (1899), writes: ‘following 1172, when the English were permanently settled in Dublin, which was permanently assigned by Henry II in a Charter of that year to a colony from Bristol. Some time within the next seven years the colonists built first Church of S. Werburgh, for it is mentioned among Dublin Churches in the Bull ‘Cum teneamus’, obtained from Alexander III, by Archbishop O’Toole at the Lateran Council in 1179.’ (p.10)

[ top ]

Notes
Portrait: There is a bronze head by Melanie le Brocquy.

[ top ]