Clareman appointed new Catholic Bishop of Waterford & Lismore

Had been teacher and entertainer before studying for priesthood

A 55 year old Clareman and late vocation to the priesthood has been appointed the new Catholic Bishop of Waterford & Lismore. Fr Alphonsus Cullinan had been parish priest of Rathkeale Co Limerick this past four years. He succeeds Bishop William Lee who retired in October 2013 due to ill health.

A priest of Limerick diocese Fr Cullinan was born in Lahinch, Co Clare and has four sisters and five brothers. The family moved to Limerick city where he attended the Salesians for early education at John F Kennedy national school, followed by the Jesuits at Crescent College.

He did teacher training at Mary Immaculate College of Education Limerick from 1978 and qualified as a primary teacher in 1981 after which he taught for six years in Castleconnell, Co Limerick.

He also worked part-time for four years with the Bunratty Castle Entertainers. In 1987 he went to Spain where he taught English for two years in Valladolid. It was while there he decided on the priesthood so, in 1989 at the age of 30, he began studies at St Patrick's College Maynooth.


In 1994 hHe was ordained by Bishop Jeremiah Newman at St John's Cathedral, Limerick, and appointed curate in the city's St Munchin's parish where he remained until 1996.

He was chaplain at the Regional Hospital in Limerick for five years until 2001, when he went to Rome to study for a doctorate in moral theology. On return in 2004 he was appointed chaplain to the Limerick Institute of Technology 2004 where he remained until 2011 when he was appointed parish priest of Rathkeale

Commenting on the appointed the Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin said that "as a priest who is already well used to being out among his people, Fr Alphonsus will have so much to offer as a Bishop."

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times