Fr Jim Byrne was born at the RIC Barracks in the Square, Millstreet, Co. Cork on the 2nd of February, 1915. The son of Mary (Riordan) and William Byrne, he commenced his primary education from 1920 to 1923 at the Presentation Convent, Millstreet. He then re-located to Nottingham and pursued his primary education there form 1923 to 1925. The remainder of this stage of his education was at the Patrician Brothers Tullow, from 1925 to 1929. It was there he did his secondary education from 1929 to 1934. In 1934, he entered Kiltegan and was ordained in December, 1941. Due to war time travel restrictions, it was 1943 when he reached Nigeria.
He ministered in Calabar during the years 1943 to 1945. From that year until 1947, he served as Chaplain to the Nigerian armed forces. Having completed this stint, he returned to Calabar where he was to minister until 1961. In that year ill-health forced him to return to Ireland.
From 1964 to 1970, he served in the Diocese of Clifton in England and then in Westminster from 1970 to 1979, when he returned to Kiltegan. He remained there until his sudden death on the 10th of June, 1981.
Fr Jim (pictured on the left) at Urua Akpan in Nigeria (photo is from Holy Child West Aftica Missions – Return to Africa)
1915 February 2nd: Birth of James Byrne at the Barrack, Millstreet, to Mary Byrne (née Riordan) and William Byrne, Constable RIC.
Also: read about Fr. Jim’s father William Byrne who was an R.I.C. Constable and Sergeant in Millstreet from 1914 to 1922, his mother Mary Riordan, and his other siblings, on our article on them