Mister, Are You a Priest?
Recollections by Bishop Edward Daly
Edward Daly was bishop of Derry from 1974 to 1993. Before then he had been a curate in the Bogside during some of the most turbulent and dramatic years of the Northern Troubles. In this book he tells the story of the years before he was appointed bishop of Derry.
He recalls his childhood in Belleek, County Fermanagh during World War 2, his years as a reluctant boarder in St Columb's College in Derry and his studies for the priesthood in the Irish College in Rome. He describes the experience of his first years of priesthood in Castlederg in Co Tyrone.
In 1962, he was appointed as curate in St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry and the area of the parish allocated to him incorporated the Bogside. On his first day there, a little boy greeted him with the question 'Hi Mister, are you a Priest?' thus the title of this book. He was horrified by the conditions in which many people were forced to live. During his time in Derry, he took part in the Civil Rights Marches; he had first hand experience of the Battle of the Bogside in 1969, the early years of the Troubles, internment, the events of Bloody Sunday 1972 and Operation Motorman. In this publication, he describes those experiences as he saw them and the personal impact that those events had on him.
But there is much more in this book. Edward Daly was deeply involved in the theatrical and entertainment life of Derry in the Sixties. He was ordained a few years before the Second Vatican Council and he recalls the challenges and opportunities that the Council posed to his ministry and life as a priest.
After twelve years as curate in Derry, he went to work with RTÉ in Dublin as a Religious Adviser. During his time there, he was appointed as Bishop of Derry. This book offers a fascinating glimpse into the manner in which the Vatican appoints an Irish bishop.
Edward Daly, a native of Fermanagh, retired from his position as bishop of Derry in 1993. He is the co-author of The Clergy of the Diocese of Derry: an Index (1997) and has contributed an essay to A History of the Diocese of Derry (1999). Once the religious advisor for the Catholic Church at RTE, he has appeared on numerous television programmes and contributed to many television documentaries on religious and Northern Ireland affairs.