John Henry Bernard

1919 – 1927 (c. 1860 -1927)

John Henry BernardJohn Henry Bernard came from a family long established in Kerry, but he was born in India, where his father was working as an engineer.1 He entered Trinity College in 1875 and graduated with honours in mathematics and philosophy; in 1884 he was elected a Fellow. From 1888 to 1911 he held the post of Archbishop King's Lecturer (after 1906 Professor) in Divinity, and had a profound influence on many generations of ordinands.  In 1902 he became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral; from 1911 to 1915 he was Bishop of Ossory; and in 1915 he was elected Archbishop of Dublin. For a few months in 1919 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University, but in the same year he was appointed Provost, a post which he held until his death.  Although a convinced Unionist, he steered the College successfully through the political and financial difficulties of the early years of the Irish Free State.  Bernard wrote extensively on philosophy, theology and Church history; his major work, a commentary on St John’s gospel, was published after his death.

Painting Details

By Leo Whelan
Oil on canvas

  1. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 22.