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Friday 18 January 2019

Leading clerics left contrasting fortunes in their wills

Cardinal Desmond Connell
Cardinal Desmond Connell
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Two of Dublin's most respected clergymen over recent decades, who died within months of each other, have left contrasting fortunes according to documents lodged in the Probate Office in Dublin last week.

Cardinal Desmond Connell, described as a priest/cardinal, of Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin, who died on February 21, 2017, left an estate valued at €33,715 in his will

His Church of Ireland counterpart, Dr Donald Caird, Archbishop of Dublin, formerly of Clifton Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin who died on June 1, 2017, left estate valued at €1,083,604.

The two men overlapped as Catholic and Protestant Archbishops of Dublin between 1988 and 1996, when they both also held the title 'Primate of All Ireland', the highest honour in their respective churches.

Although he did not make an issue of it at the time, Dr Connell felt in later life that he had been snubbed by Trinity College Dublin, although not directly by Dr Caird, because of his close association with its Catholic counterpart, University College Dublin.

"Trinity insulted me and through me the Catholic people of Dublin," he said in 2001. "We were celebrating the millennium of the city of Dublin [in 1988] and they invited me to come along to watch Donald Caird receiving an honorary degree... so I have a certain view of Trinity."

Dr Connell, a professor of philosophy at UCD, had never served in a parish until he was appointed Archbishop of Dublin in 1988 by Pope John Paul 11. He retired in 2004 but took part in the papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI the following year.

Dr Donald Arthur Caird was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity. He was, like many of his faith, an ardent Irish language enthusiast who learned Gaeilge during visits to the Kerry Gaeltacht and the Blasket Islands, where he stayed with local families, including the famous Kruger Kavanagh in Dun Chaoin.

"To learn another language is to gain another life, or at least to enter another world where the spirit may be refreshed and invigorated," he said in later life.

He was the last Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe before being appointed to Kildare and Meath, where he served until 1985.

He was then appointed Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland and served as head of the Church of Ireland until retirement in 1996. He was also a member of Bord na Gaeilge.

Sunday Independent

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