John Mary Harty was born in Murroe, County Limerick in 1867. He received his education at Jesuit College, Limerick, Saint Patrick's College, Thurles, and Maynooth. He entered First Philosophy on 1 September 1887 and was ordained priest on 20 May 1894 in Clonliffe College, Dublin, by Dr. William Walsh of Dublin. The next year, after a competitive examination, he was appointed to the Chair of Dogmatic Theology in Maynooth, the year after ordination being spent in postgraduate study in Dunboyne.
He published treatises on Grace and on the Sacraments. Later he was appointed Senior Professor of Moral Theology and held this chair till his appointment as Archbishop on the resignation of Dr. Fennell. The voting of P.P.'s for new Bishop was Dr. Harty, Maynooth College - 20; Dr. John Slattery, Thurles College - 10; Rev. Tom F. Power P.P. V.F. Galbally - 8; Mgr. Riordan, Rector, Irish College, Rome - 2; Canon Arthur Ryan P.P. V.G. - 6. Tipperary - 1; Dr. Kelly, Bishop of Ross - 1.
Dr. Harty was appointed in November 1913 and consecrated in Thurles on 8 January 1914 by Archbishop Fennelly. After consecration the priests of the Archdiocese presented him with a motor car costing £500. His gentle manners and kindly disposition endeared him to all - both clergy and laity. For a number of years before his death, ill-health restricted his activities. He requested a Coadjutor from the Holy See, indicating that his wish was Dr. Jeremiah Kinnane, Bishop of Waterford since 1932, and a priest of the Archdiocese. In 1942, the Holy See acceded to his wish and Dr. Kinnane resigned his see of Waterford and became Coadjutor Archbishop of Cashel and titular Archbishop of Dercos and Dean of Cashel Diocesan Chapter, with Cashel as his parish.
Totally confined to the Archbishop's Palace by progressive debility from this period till his death on 1 September 1946, Archbishop Harty died aged 79 years. He was for many years President of the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland (from 14 October1914) and Patron of G.A.A. from 1928.
Dr. Harty received letter of appointment as Archbishop on 2 December 1913, and Bulls of appointment on 8 December 1913. The Bulls stated that perpetual administration of the see of Emly is attached to the see of Cashel. Dr. Harty had Pallasgreen and Solohead as mensal parishes - latter permitted by Rome (January 1915) while Dr. Fennelly lived.
Photograph courtesy of Michael Keating, from family archive.