Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A diplomatist and historian, born in Kerry, Ireland, 1595; died at Lisbon, 30 June, 1662. On his mother's side he belonged to the Desmond branch of the Geraldines, of which branch his paternal ancestors were the hereditary chroniclers or bards. He be came a Dominican in Tralee, Co. Kerry; took his vows in Lugo, studied at Burgos, gained his doctorate of theology in Bordeaux, and returned as priest to Tralee. In 1627 he was sent to teach theology in the newly established College for Irish Dominicans at Louvain. In 1629 he went to Madrid on business connected with this college and, seeing that Philip IV of Spain favoured the project, he, assisted by three of his Irish brethren, established, in Lisbon, the Irish Dominican College of which he became the first rector. He conceived the project of erecting, near Lisbon, a convent of Irish Dominican nuns, to serve as a refuge in time of persecution. Philip granted permission to do so on condition that he should raise a body of Irish soldiers for Spanish service in the Low Countries. O'Daly set sail for Limerick and got the men. On his return to Madrid (1639), Belem on the Tagus, four miles below the city, was selected as a site and, with the assistance of the Countess of Atalaya, the convent of Our Lady of Bom Successo was built. The king had such confidence in him that he made him envoy to Charles I of England, to the exiled Charles II, and to Pope Innocent X (1650). The Queen of Portugal also sent him as envoy to Pope Alexander VIII .

In the year 1655 he was sent as envoy from John IV of Portugal to Anne of Austria and Louis XIV to conclude a treaty between Portugal and France. Here as elsewhere, success attended him; but while negotiations abroad and matters of government at home afforded opportunities of serving the House of Braganza, he would not accept any honour in return. His acquaintances praise his straightforwardness, honesty, tact, and disinterestedness. He refused the Archbishopric of Braga and the Primacy of Goa and the Bishopric of Coimbra; nor would he accept the titles of Privy Councillor or Queen's Confessor, though he held both offices. In 1665 he published "Initium, Incrementum, et Exitus Familiæ Geraldinorum, Desmoniæ Comitum, Palatinorum Kyerriæ in Hibernia, ac Persecutionis Hæreticorum Descriptio" etc., his work on the Earls of Desmond, for which he availed himself of the traditional knowledge of his ancestors. In the first part he describes the origin of the Munster Geraldines, their varying fortunes, and their end in the heroic struggle for faith and fatherland. It is our chief authority on this subject. The second part treats of the cruelties inflicted on the Irish Catholics, and of the martyrdom of twenty Dominicans, many of whom had been with him in Lisbon. The work was translated into French by Abbé Joubert (1697), and into English by the Rev. C.P. Meehan, Dublin (2nd edition annotated, 1878.) During these years his chief concern was to put his college on a firm basis and to make it render the greatest possible service to Ireland. Bom Successo became too small for the number of students. In 1659 he laid the first stone of a larger building which was called Corpo Santo. To provide funds for these houses he consented to become Bishop of Coimbra and, in consequence, President of the Privy Council; but before the papal Bull arrived he died. His remains reposed in the cloister of Corpo Santo until the earthquake of 1755; the inscription on his tomb recorded that he was "In varus Regum legationibus felix, . . . Vir Prudentia, Litteris, and Religione conspicuus." (Successful in embassies for kings . . . A man distinguished for prudence, knowledge, and virtue.) A few years after the catastrophe, on the same spot, with the same name and object, a new college and church arose, which, with Bom Successo, keep O'Daly's memory fresh in Lisbon to the present day.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to lead a life worthy ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains, the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud looming up in the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2016 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, ... Read More