Most Rev. William Philbin Bishop

St. Patrick's College Maynooth,_Maynooth.jpg
Clonfert Cathedral door
St. Peter's Cathedral Belfast.
Map of Southwark Diocese, U. K.
Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo

This Mayo man commanded respect during his priestly career.  He was regarded as a theologically engaged bishop that was invited to address many organizations also provided several lectures.  [i]

William Philbin was born on 26th January 1907 in Kiltimagh Co. Mayo.  A sister was Mother Philbin of the Sacred Heart at Mount Anville Convent, Dundrum, Dublin.


He attended Kitimagh National School where his parents were both teachers.  He also studied at St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghdereen, Co. Roscommon.  He graduated from St. Patrick’s College Maynooth with a doctorate in sacred theology & canon Law. [ii]


William Philbin was ordained to the priesthood on 21st June 1931. [iii]

He served as curate in Eastbourne & Diocese of Southwark from 1933-1934.  He returned to St. Nathy’s College from 1934-1936. He was appointed professor of dogmatic theology at Maynooth.  He was made a canon of Achrony diocese during 1948. [iv]


As a student William Philbin was the editor of Leabhar Nuidheacht  published at Maynooth. [v]

He acted as joint editor of the Irish Theological Quarterly.  His Faith & Christianity  also The Individual State were published by the Catholic Truth Society.  [vi]

During 1956 he published a patriotism pamphlet.[vii]

During 1962 he penned ‘how economic growth, so vital to his poor Western diocese, would be stimulated by Ireland joining the E. E. C.’  [viii]


He was appointed the 50th Bishop of Clonfert on 22nd December 1953 then Ordained Bishop of Clonfert at St. Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea, Co. Galway on 14th March 1954.  He was appointed by Pope John XX111 on the 5th June 1962 as the 29th Bishop of Down & Conon, a position he held until his retirement on 24th August 1982.  Bishop Philbin  attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 – 1965.  [ix]

Emeritus Bishop Philbin demise occurred on 22 August 1991 (aged 84) : he was interred in St. Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast.[x]

Letters from the Bishop to John D. Sheridan are available to read at Dublin’s National Library of Ireland.[xi]


 Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954 (page 99)



[ii] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954


[iv] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954


[vi] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954








No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.