Ronan, Myles Vincent (1877–1959), priest, church historian, and controversialist, was born 19 July 1877, third son of Myles Ronan, originally from Co. Wexford, and Margaret Ronan (neé Kenny), at 36 Fishamble St., Dublin. He was first educated by the Christian Brothers at Mary's Place, Dublin, and Sandymount, Co. Dublin, where he became friendly with Arthur Griffith (qv). After four years at Clonliffe College, Dublin, he entered (1898) the Propaganda College, Rome. He was ordained in Rome (20 May 1900), and took up a curacy at Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow. After two years he transferred to St Michan's parish, Dublin, where he spent another two years and became secretary to William Walsh (qv), archbishop of Dublin. In 1904 he began a history of the parish of St Michan's (published 1948). He was curate (1907–22) at the pro-cathedral, Dublin, before being moved to a curacy in Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire), Co. Dublin. He was appointed parish priest of St Michan's in 1942.
Through the Catholic Truth Society he wrote on clerical practice in eleven pamphlets (1910–31), ranging in subjects from the sacraments to daily priestly duties. He continued to write for the Irish Catholic, the Irish Rosary, and other popular catholic magazines. His first major historical work was The reformation in Dublin 1536–1558 (1926). Pioneering at the time, it remains a useful reference work, though some details are now questioned. His articles in the RSAI Jn. (1927–30) on the deaneries of Arklow and Wicklow and the union of the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough traced for the first time Co. Wicklow's ancient church history. He also edited the Catholic emancipation centenary record (1929). The reformation under Elizabeth (1930) completed his major study of the early modern Irish church. His apologia for Irish catholicism, Irish martyrs of the penal laws (1935), was a useful addition at the time to early modern Irish church history.
While in London in 1936 researching church history he discovered a collection of Erasmus Smith documents at Christ's Hospital, London, unstudied for over 200 years. His four days in the witness box, in a high court case in Dublin on the Erasmus Smith endowment during early June 1937, contributed greatly to the outcome of the case, when the Abbey School, Tipperary, was handed over to the Christian Brothers and £65,000 (half of the Erasmus Smith endowment fund) was transferred to the minister for education, for the upkeep and education of catholic boys at the Abbey School on the former lands of the endowment. His Erasmus Smith endowment: a romance of Irish confiscation (1937) surveyed the events. He developed an interest in the events of 1798: Insurgent Wicklow (1938), based on the papers of Luke Cullen (qv), was followed by his ‘Robert Emmet and Michael Dwyer’ in the Dublin Historical Record (1943). The publication in Archivium Hibernicum (1944) of the correspondence of Archbishop John Troy (qv) with Dublin Castle illuminated the subtleties of church–state politics at the time of the 1798 rebellion. Ronan contributed nineteen articles to the Irish Ecclesiastical Record (1916–53). His ‘Royal visitation of Dublin, 1615’ and ‘Archbishop Bulkeley's visitation of Dublin, 1630’ in Archivium Hibernicum (1941) remain critical sources for understanding the established church in early Stuart Ireland. He also penned many articles for other scholarly journals, and popular essays on the history of Dublin in the Irish Independent, Evening Herald, and other newspapers.
Elected FRSAI (1923), MRIA (1927), FRHS (1930), honorary member of the Old Dublin Historical Society (1935), and trustee of the NLI (1931), he served as RSAI vice-president, was vice-president of the Academy of Christian Art and honorary member of the Historical Institute of France. He was also chairman of the literary committee of Aonach Tailteann, and won the Tailteann gold medal for literary works for three successive years. In 1942 the NUI conferred on him the degree of D.Litt. He was acknowledged as ‘the historian of Dublin's catholic traditions and of Dublin's piety’ (Gwynn, 232). In failing health by the late 1950s, he died 7 April 1959 at St Michan's parish house and was buried at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.