Kirwan, Walter Blake

Kirwan, Walter Blake an eminent Irish divine, and one of the most celebrated and popular preachers of the last half of the 18th century, was born at Galway about 1754. He was educated at the college of the English Jesuits at St. Omer; was ordained priest, and was for a time professor of natural and moral philosophy at Louvain. Having embraced Protestantism in 1787, he became successively minister of St. Peter's Church, Dublin; prebendary of Howth, minister of St. Nicholas Without in 1788, and dean of Killala in 1800. He died in 1805. Few preachers of any age have enjoyed such popularity as Walter Blake Kirwan. So great was the throng to listen to his sermons that it was found necessary to defend the entrance of the church where he was to preach with guards and palisades. I-le was a man of fine feelings, amiable and benevolent, and his irresistible powers of persuasion were chiefly devoted to the preaching of charity sermons. It is said that the collections taken up after his sermons seldom fell short of £1000. These addresses have been published under the title of Sermons, with a sketch of his life (London, 1814, 8vo). See Darling, Cyclopaedia, Bibliographica, ii, 1735; Allibone, Dict. of English and Amer. Authors, ii, 1038; Lond. Quart. Rev. 11:130 sq.; Lord Brougham, Contrib. to the Edinb. Rev. (Lond. and Glasgow, 1856), i, 104 sq. (J. H. W.)

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