Portrait of Fethard’s Archbishop Everard presented to FHC Experience
There was a homecoming event of a different kind on last Wednesday evening, July 28, when Tom Everard, his wife Mary and the extended Everard family from County Tipperary, visited the Fethard Horse Country Experience. They brought with them, a portrait of Archbishop Patrick Everard, who was born in Fethard, which they have donated in perpetuity to the museum to mark the bicentenary of his death on March 31, 1821. In line with Covid-19 guidelines, it was very much an ‘in house’ event; restricted numbers and all necessary protocols re social distancing, hand sanitising etc. were observed.
Mary Hanrahan, FHC Experience, welcomed the Everard family and noted how appropriate it was that Archbishop Everard’s portrait should be displayed in the Tholsel (Fethard Town Hall) since this building was originally built by Sir John Everard in 1608 as an Almshouse. The foundation plaque on the facade of the building was erected by Amy Everard in 1645 in honour of her husband, also John Everard, and his grandfather. Local tradition tells us that the Augustinian Fr. William Tirry, was also present to bless the building when the plaque was installed. The facade also bears the arms of John Everard impaled with those of his wife Amy Everard, daughter of Viscount Roche of Fermoy. Mary also pointed out that the family has a modern connection to the town as Tom’s brother Fr. Liam Everard has been parish priest in Fethard since2017.
Maurice Moloney, FHCE committee, then spoke briefly about the restoration of the building and the installation of the current interactive museum. The exhibits narrate the history of Fethard coupled with the history of the horse in the area through the ages. There are, of course, numerous references to the Everards throughout the exhibition. He, too, welcomed the addition of the Everard portrait to the FHC Experience’s collection of artefacts. Finally, Tom Everard told the story of his ancestor Archbishop Patrick Everard and explained how his portrait came into their possession. On the occasion of his death on March 31, 1821, the Archbishop bequeathed £10,000 for the establishment of a college in Thurles for the education of Catholic youth in general and of future priests in particular. As a result of this bequest, St Patrick’s College Thurles was opened in 1837.In 2016, the college was incorporated into MIC Limerick. As a result, it was possible for Fr. Liam EverardP.P. to acquire the portrait of his ancestor that had graced the halls of the building since its foundation. The portrait is quite fragile, not surprising given its age, so the Everard family commissioned Clonmel artist, Dónal Sorahan, to reproduce the original in pastels. A print of this new copy was then made to be presented to the FHC Experience.
The presentation of the portrait of Archbishop Patrick Everard took place outside on the overlooking the medieval Holy Trinity Church. Following light refreshments, the visitors watched the audio-visual presentation and were given a guided tour decking of the building. The portrait is now displayed in the window embrasure adjacent to the café area and everyone is welcome to pop in to the FHC Experience to view the portrait and to learn a little about this eminent son of Fethard Archbishop Patrick Everard biography Patrick Everard was born in Fethard circa 1751.
According to Richard Everard’s account of his life, Patrick’s father’s identity is unclear. He was probably either a George or a Patrick Everard and was engaged in tanning and the leather trade in Fethard. His mother was an O’Meagher of Kilmoyler, Co Tipperary. The young Patrick was educated in a local classical school, and he then studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Salamanca from 1778. Coincidentally, Fr. John Ryan, the priest who built the current Holy Trinity RC church in 1818-‘19 also studied for the priesthood in Salamanca. His sojourn there is believed to have influenced the architecture of the church facade.Patrick Everard was ordained in the church of San Ildefonso, Salamanca in May 1784.
He was President of the Irish College Salamanca for a short while before deciding to return to Ireland. On his way home, he stopped in Bordeaux to visit friends and was asked to become President of the Irish College there. He fulfilled this role for ten years until the college was suppressed by the French revolutionary authorities in 1794. During this period, he was also appointed vicar general by the imprisoned Archbishop of Bordeaux,Mgr de Ceci, and entrusted with the administration of the archdiocese. In October 1793, Fr. Everard had a narrow escape when an armed mob attempted to seize him. The story goes that it was thanks to the fact that his soutane was so worn and old that it tore off in the hands of his assailants, giving him the opportunity to escape.
He then returned to Spain and went from there to England where he purchased a Jesuit boarding school in Ulverston, Lancashire. Dr. Everard ran the school for the next fifteen years, educating the sons of the Catholic English aristocracy. On June 29, 1810, the Irish bishops appointed him president of Maynooth College. In October 1814, he was appointed coadjutor to Thomas Bray, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, with the right of succession. On April 23, 1815 he was consecrated in Cork.
Eventually, on December 9, 1820, he succeeded Archbishop Bray. Unfortunately, he was Archbishop of Cashel and Emly for less than four months, as he died on March 31, 1821. He is buried in the Church of St. John the Baptist, Cashel. His grave is marked by two simple memorial stones: one on the floor bearing the inscription Beneath are the remains of Archbishop Everard and the other on the south wall of the church near the grave Beneath are the remains of Most Rev. Patrick Everard D.D., coadjutor archbishop 1814-1820, archbishop of Cashel and Emly 1820-1821. When St. Patrick’s College, Thurles was opened in 1837 a marble bust was put up in the college chapel in memory of Archbishop Patrick Everard. His portrait was hung in the main hall and another portrait of him was displayed in Maynooth College. The picture now on display in the Fethard Horse Country Experience is a copy of the original Thurles portrait of Archbishop Patrick Everard.