Bryan, Patrick (d. 1663), lawyer and politician, was third son of James FitzJohn Bryan of Whiteswall and Eleanor, daughter of Piers Butler of Callan, Co. Kilkenny. Patrick qualified as a barrister, having studied in Gray's Inns in the late 1630s, and married a daughter of James Dryland of Kilberaghan, Co. Kilkenny. He supported the new confederate regime from the beginning, and the first general assembly in October 1642 elected him to the Leinster provincial council. Throughout the war Bryan served as a commissioner for the affairs of Leinster, supervising the activities of the provincial army, led by the veteran general Thomas Preston (qv). In 1646 the confederates established a new committee, comprised of Bryan, Patrick Netterville, and William Hore, to supply provisions for the confederate campaigns in Munster and Connacht, a task that it accomplished with considerable success.
After the overthrow of the 1646 peace treaty agreed with the lord lieutenant, James Butler (qv), marquess of Ormond, the new regime led by the papal nuncio, GianBattista Rinuccini (qv), retained Bryan as a commissioner, and in this capacity he witnessed the disastrous defeat suffered by the Leinster army at Dungan's Hill (August 1647). He attended the general assembly later in 1647 and was appointed to the executive supreme council (December) as a resident member for Leinster. At a specially convened meeting of the Leinster provincial council (April 1648), Bryan approved of the cessation with the protestant military commander, Murrough O'Brien (qv), Lord Inchiquin, a move that infuriated the papal nuncio. The following month, Bryan and Geoffrey Barron (qv), another moderate member of the supreme council, tried to negotiate a compromise settlement with Rinuccini, but without success. As the confederate civil war intensified, the final general assembly (September 1648) appointed a committee, including Bryan, to negotiate with Ormond, who had recently returned to Ireland. He fully supported the second peace treaty agreed in January 1649, and remained politically active during the Cromwellian war. He examined Randal MacDonnell (qv), marquis of Antrim, over his links with the English parliament, and acted as an agent for Donough MacCarthy (qv), 2nd Viscount Muskerry, in Leinster.
After the final defeat of the royalists (1652) Bryan disappeared from public life until the restoration of Charles II eight years later. He resumed his legal career, representing catholics who had lost their estates, with an extensive client list which included his cousin Patrick Archer (qv), Alexander MacDonnell (qv), and Sir Luke Bathe among others. Bryan was also employed as counsel by Lewis O'Dempsey, 2nd Viscount Clanmalier, in a protracted land dispute with the English secretary of state, Sir Henry Bennett. He died suddenly in early June 1663, much to the distress of his clients, who were about to present their cases for restoration of estates to the new court of claims. His son and heir Pierce Bryan of Shrule, Queen's Co. (Laois), subsequently sat as MP for Maryborough in the Jacobite parliament of 1689.