Search our Archive


Funeral arrangements for much-loved priest who died in Donegal

Fr James Byrne will be laid to rest in his adopted parish of Stranorlar

Sadness in Donegal at sudden death of much-loved priest

Funeral arrangement for Fr James Byrne

UPDATE: The Funeral of Fr James Byrne will go ahead as planned. This follows an announcement earlier that the funeral had been postponed.


There is much sadness in the parishes of Stranorlar and Kilteevogue at the sudden death of 81-year-old Fr James Byrne.

The much-loved priest died suddenly on Friday. 

Fr Byrne’s remains will repose in the Church of Mary Immaculate, Stranorlar on Monday from 6pm with Rosary at 9pm. He is being laid to rest in Drumboe cemetery on Tuesday morning following 11am Requiem Mass in the Church of Mary Immaculate, Stranorlar.

The Rosary and Requiem Mass will be streamed live via the Parish Webcam at

The Interment will be streamed live via the Parish Facebook Page at

An Australian native, Fr Byrne was of Irish descent and had  family connections to Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. 

He had moved to the  area  following his retirement in Australia  seven years ago, setting up home in Curraghamone, Ballybofey. 

Prior to that, he was Pastor of the Sacred Heart Parish in Wilsonton in the Diocese of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

He quickly settled into the area and very much  enjoyed being part of the community. Fr Byrne provided great assistance to the  local clergy, regularly helping parish priests Fr Kieran McAteer and Fr Lorcan Sharkey in their respective parishes of Stranorlar and Kilteevogue (Glenfin). 

 The dedicated priest also served St Joseph’s Community Hospital and was chaplain to the local Legion of Mary.

He had concelebrated Mass with Fr McAteer, PP of Stranorlar on Friday morning, only hours before his death.

Fr McAteer said: "Ourselves and the parishioners are very sorry to hear this news.

"He had a great way with him and was very sociable. He loved singing. We were all very fond of him.

"We were only just discussing plans for Christmas Mass in St Joseph’s.

“We are very thankful for his Ministry.”

Fr McAteer expressed sympathy to the late priest’s brothers and sisters in Australia, his entire family circle, his devoted housekeeper, his brother priests, former parishioners and his many friends here in Ireland.


This selection of tributes from Stranorlar Parish Facebook page shows  the extent to which the community had embraced Fr James  Byrne:

- We were the richest for knowing you who beamed joy, compassion, faith, kindness and goodness into our lives.

- Rest in peace to a wonderful lovely priest. Fr James will be sorely missed within the Twin Towns community. He had a great smile, always jolly and happy.

- Very sorry to hear this sad news about Fr Byrne. Such a wealth of knowledge, amazing array of stories, and a great singer. May he rest in peace.

- RIP Fr James you were very easy got on with in the parish and your singing second to none.

- May his gentle soul rest in peace. A truly beautiful priest whom we had the privilege of knowing as a priest and friend. He certainly proclaimed the Word of God in his daily life and was such an inspiration to us all. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.


More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.