Russell, Patrick (1629/30–1692), catholic archbishop of Dublin, was born at Rush, Co. Dublin, the son of James Russell of that parish. He probably received his early education locally, but he then travelled to Lisbon, where he studied at St Patrick's seminary. He was ordained at Lisbon in 1654. He cannot have returned to Ireland before the restoration in 1660, but he is not heard of until 1675 in Dublin, where he held the parish of St Nicholas in Francis Street and was made vicar general of the diocese in succession to Angel Goulding, who died in that year. During the popish plot (1678) the archbishop of Dublin, Peter Talbot (qv), was arrested, and died in prison in 1680. Russell was thus left with responsibility for the diocese, though during the persecution that followed the popish plot he was forced to retire from his residence in Francis Street to the house of his kinsman Geoffrey Russell. The pope's brief elevating Russell to the archbishopric was dated 2 August 1683, three years after Talbot's death; no record of his consecration survives.
The succession of James II (qv) in 1685 and the suspension of the penal laws allowed Russell to reorganise the church within the archdiocese. During his tenure as archbishop of Dublin he convened two provincial assemblies in 1685 and 1688 and three diocesan synods in 1686, 1688, and 1689. Having confirmed the decrees of the synods held in 1614 by Eugene Matthews (qv) and in 1641 by Thomas Fleming (qv), he set out to curb clerical abuses in the archdiocese. He also issued a proviso for the better observance of the feast of St Lawrence O'Toole (qv) and the conception of the Blessed Virgin. In July 1685 he signed the petition presented by the catholic hierarchy to James II asking him to empower the earl of Tyrconnell (qv) to protect them in the exercise of their ministry and suggesting to the king the best way of securing religious liberty for catholics. Lord Lieutenant Clarendon (qv) thought Russell ‘a good man but no politician’ (Dalton, 449), and gloated over the rivalry between the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, which stemmed from the age-old question of primacy. The king bestowed on Russell a pension of £200, and when James came to Dublin in March 1689 Russell enjoyed the distinction of performing the services and rites of the catholic church in the king's presence: the last such occasion was the consecration of a Benedictine nunnery in Channel Row.
After James's flight to France in 1690, Russell fled to the Stuart court at St Germain-en-Laye, but he later returned to minister to his flock. He lay concealed for some time in the country but was captured and imprisoned at Dublin castle. In a letter to the Propaganda Fide on 28 October 1692, his episcopal colleague James Lynch (qv) of Tuam told how Russell had been apprehended in Dublin, and gave a vivid description of his trials and death. He concluded: ‘God grant he may have a successor who will imitate his piety and show the same zeal in his ministry’ (Renehan, 233). Russell died in prison in 1692. In the 1850s the inscribed plate from his coffin was dug up in the graveyard of Lusk, Co. Dublin, near his birthplace of Rush, where he had asked to be buried; it gives the date of his death as 14 July 1692 (presumably old style). The coffin-plate was in the possession of the Rev. A. Fagan, parish priest of Lusk, at the beginning of the twentieth century. A thurible and incense boat, inscribed in Latin with the names of Patrick Russell, archbishop of Dublin, and his brother (or half-brother) James Russell, dean of Dublin, were in the Francis Street church at the beginning of the twentieth century.