Father Edmund Flannery

Edmund was born in Newtownshandrum, north-west County Cork, on 4th October 1840; the son of James and Margaret (née Hallinan) Flannery. Both the Tithe Applotment Books (1830) and Griffith's Primary Valuation (1851) record a James Flannery farming a holding of sixteen acres in the townland of Ardglass in the civil parish of Shandrum, and Griffith's also records an additional holding of eight acres in the townland of Ardglass in the adjacent civil parish of Aglishdrinagh. The modern RC parish is called Shandrum + Dromina in the diocese of Cloyne.

His education at All Hallows College in Dublin was sponsored by Fr. Anthony Fahy (who was based in Argentina since 1844 and, in 1847, launched the Irish Relief Fund and encouraged his countrymen to migrate to Argentina to escape the aftermath of the Great Famine), and was one of the twelve permanent chaplains sent to Argentina in the 1860s. Padre Edmund was ordained for Buenos Aires on 29th September 1868 and ministered to San Pedro (about one hundred and ten miles north of Buenos Aires) for over half a century.

About twenty miles west of San Pedro, in the open camp, Padre Flannery commenced building his church (Saint Patrick's Chapel). The place was then the centre of a populous Irish district, and lay from fifteen to twenty miles from the nearest church or chapel. Such an edifice was a deeply felt want indeed, as the response of those concerned to the appeal of their pastor in the matter proclaims as decisively as it does their generosity and piety. The Church and priest's house were completed and opened to service in 1876.

A press report of the inauguration of the new Chapel had this to say: "The chapel and priest's house built by the parishioners of Father Flannery surpass anything of the kind we have seen in this country. The new buildings are situated on very high ground; the steeple of the church is visible at a distance of seven leagues. The worthy pastor deserves the highest praise for his exertions to establish a permanent Irish mission in San Pedro by building there an Irish Church with a residence for a priest attached. The disinterestedness of Father Flannery is well known to his flock; hence their willingness to assist him. The church is a handsome building with a handsome spire. The priest's residence is a well-built brick house of five rooms. The land was generously given by Mr. John Harrington, who also gave a handsome donation towards the erection of the church, heading the list with $10,000 m/c. The building cost 2,000 sterling; there is yet a deficit of 500 sterling, but it will be paid off. The Irish were well represented at the ceremony. There were the Harringtons, Mooneys, Austins, Kennedys', Doyles, Youngs, McDonnells, Owens, Newmans, Martins, Griffins, Keoghs, Eustaces, Quinns, Flahertys, Walls, Cullens, Kearneys, Roches, Wheelers, Cummins, Riardons, Nallys, Cloughisseys, Cavanaghs, Hogans, Brownes, Daltons, Kennys, Wades, Streets, Caseys, Brennans and a host of others. Wexford, Longford and Westmeath were well represented." Soon after the opening Father Flannery published the following statement: "All the neighboring Irish people and many natives have subscribed liberally. The accounts stand thus: Cost of Church, $261,402; amount subscribed, $195,846; balance due, $65,556." The building is eighty feet long, twenty-six feet wide and thirty feet in height; it has a tower fifty feet high. Archdeacon Dillon performed the ceremony of consecration'.

Padre Edmund died in Buenos Aires on 10th August 1923.

[his portrait is illustrated above; courtesy of the Society for Irish Latin American Studies]