Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Anthony Dominic Fahy
(Ussher 1951)

Fahy [Fahey], Anthony Dominic (1805-1871), Dominican priest and missionary, was born on 11 January 1844 in Loughrea, Co. Galway, the eldest son of Patrick Fahy (d.1810) and Belinda Cloran (d.1843).

At the age of twenty Fahy joined the order of Saint Dominic, and received the habit on 4 August 1828. Immediately after profession he was sent to Rome to study for the priesthood in Saint Clement's College. Anthony Fahy was ordained priest on 19 March 1831 and completed his studies in 1834. He left Rome for St. Joseph's Convent, Somerset, Ohio (United States), where he stayed up to 1836, and returned to Ireland and was nominated Prior of Black Abbey Convent in Kilkenny.

In 1843, Fr. Fahy was appointed by Archbishop of Dublin Daniel Murray to the Irish chaplaincy of Buenos Aires. Fahy arrived in Buenos Aires to replace Fr. O'Gorman. He lived in in an apartment lent by Thomas Armstrong, which was in the same building of Botica de Cranwell. In 1847 Fr. Fahy organised his first fundraising campaign, and collected £441-1s-10d for the victims of the Irish famine. The following year, during the events leading to Camila O'Gorman's and Uladislao Gutierrez's execution, Fr. Fahy played a key role. "The Irish Catholic Church, dominated by the formidable figure of Fr. Fahy who for years had been instrumental in the immigration of his people into Argentina, demanded an exemplary punishment for the wayward daughter, that was also giving the industrious and well-regarded community a bad name" (Julianello 2000). In 1849, perhaps to gain greater support from Juan Manuel de Rosas, Fr. Fahy wrote a public letter in refutation of allegations published in England against the governor and to acknowledge his favour. In 1854 a new parish was created in Avellaneda. Fr Fahy, whose ministry had been directed at the Irish working meat-curing plants, did not change the orientation of his mission. "This did not please the incumbent of the new parish, so he complained to the Bishop that the Irish Chaplain was violating the canonical regulations, principally by blessing the matrimonial unions of the 'Irlandeses'"' (Ussher 1951: 153). Fr. Fahy organised his flock in chaplaincies in Buenos Aires province, and appointed twelve Irish priests to these areas. He personally paid for their studies at All Hallows seminar of Dublin. Sometimes there were conflicts between these chaplains and Fr. Fahy. Some of them recommended that patients use the British Hospital instead of the Irish Hospital. 

Fahy has a reputation of matchmaker. During the five years ending in 1856 Fahy blessed 185 Irish marriages. On 19 May 1864 President Mitre appointed Anthony D. Fahy honorary canon of the cathedral church of Buenos Aires. On 12 July 1865 a committee presided by Michael Carroll presented Fr. Fahy a gift of $76,500 currency (about £600) "as a general expression of your countrymen, both in town and camp districts, [...] an evidence of the esteem of so many of your co-religionists shared in by several of different persuasions, who voluntarily desired to be associated in so well merited a testimonial." Among the subscribers there were many English, Anglo-Irish, and "a Protestant Admirer of Fr Fahey" (Murray 1919: 322-327).

Fr. Anthony Fahy died of a heart attack on 20 February 1871, though chronicles report that he died a victim of the yellow fever owing to his attending to the sick. "It has often been stated and most people have taken it for granted that he died of yellow fever, […] but the certificate of death signed by two medical men, states that he died from heart disease" (Murray 1919: 344). He suffered from heart problems long time before his death.

Edmundo Murray


- Ussher, James M., Father Fahy: a Biography of Anthony Dominic Fahy, O.P., Irish Missionary in Argentina, 1805-1871 (Buenos Aires, 1951).

- Murray, Thomas, The Story of the Irish in Argentina (New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1919).

- Julianello, Maria Teresa, The Scarlet Trinity: The Doomed Struggle of Camila O'Gorman against Family, Church and State in 19th C Buenos Aires (Cork: Irish Centre for Migration Studies, 2000).

Copyright � Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

Online published: 1 November 2005
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Fahy, Anthony D. (1805-1871)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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