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Two seventeenth-century Franciscans from Thomond:
Dermot McBruodin (d.1617) ‘the mad friar’ and Antonius Bruodin (c.1618–80)

by Luke McInerney

One of the most extraordinary stories to have survived from seventeenth-century County Clare is that of Dermot McBruodin, the so-called ‘mad friar’ of Ennis. This story has received the attention of antiquaries and historians and has come down to us primarily in translated excerpts from the original Latin text. This article provides an account of the life and ministry of the Clare-born Franciscan friar, Dermot McBruodin, who returned to Ireland from studies in Spain in 1575. The author of this life was a kinsman and confrère who published it as part of a larger work in 1669. Presented here is a full translation of the life of Dermot McBruodin which details his arrest, trial and acquittal in 1603, along with a contextualisation of his life and activities. Also presented is a discussion about the author’s motivation for recording McBruodin’s life, which was written some 50 years after the friar’s death.

First published in Vol. 47 of Studia Hibernica (2021). Clare County Library is grateful to Luke McInerney for donating this article.

Two 17th century Franciscans from Thomond by Luke McInerney (PDF)


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