Tyrrell, Patrick (d. 1692), catholic bishop of Clogher and Meath, was descended from the Tyrrells of Fertullagh, Co. Westmeath, but nothing more is known of his parents. He probably joined the local Franciscan friary at Multyfarnham at an early age. He spent part of his early noviciate in Spain, attended the University of Alcala, and was probably ordained in Rome in 1652/3. He later studied at St Isidore's under Luke Wadding (qv). He lectured in theology in his alma mater, and also taught theology in Naples. In 1665 he became vice-secretary-general of the Franciscan order. On May 1670 he was elected definitor-general and guardian of St Isidore's. His guardianship was a landmark in the history of the college. He commissioned a local artist to paint the walls of the theological college with exquisite fresco portraits, including Johannes Duns Scotus, Luke Wadding, Bartholomew Baron (qv), and John Punch (qv).
Tyrrell was nominated as bishop of Clogher on 4 May 1676 in succession to his confrère, the Monaghan Franciscan Patrick Duffy (qv). In June 1676 he set out from Rome with Peter Creagh (qv), recently appointed to Cork and Cloyne. In his diocese he displayed all the qualities of a zealous pastor. However, as a consequence of being a Palesman and outsider, he faced a revolt from certain sections of the Clogher clergy. The primate, Oliver Plunkett (qv), went in person to assist the new bishop to assert his authority and regarded him as ‘a truly learned, exemplary and affable prelate’ (Hanly, Letters, 482–3).
Propaganda appointed Tyrrell as vicar apostolic of the vacant diocese of Kilmore and he took possession in February 1678. As administrator he faced opposition from sections of the Kilmore clergy which only ceased with the death in Flanders of his main opponent, Thomas Fitzsimons, who had been excommunicated for stirring up opposition to him. Forced into hiding on the outbreak of the popish plot crisis in autumn 1678, he lay for a time in the house of a dying woman. He was thrown into prison but escaped with the collusion of sympathetic gaolers. On 21 October 1680 he was again arrested and charged with high treason on the evidence of John MacMoyer (qv), though he suffered no ill consequences. On 14 March 1684 he was proposed by the secular clergy of Armagh for the vacant archdiocese of Armagh. The fact that he was a friar and a native of Leinster militated against his appointment. In addition, his deposition of Brian McGurk, vicar-general of Armagh, was deemed to have been detrimental to his elevation, as well as the fact that he was accused of having appointed ‘unworthy’ vicars to Derry and Raphoe.
After the accession of James II (qv), Tyrrell accompanied the primate, Dominic Maguire (qv), to London to wait on the king and negotiate the future treatment of the Irish church. They appear to have remained in England until Easter 1686, when they were duty bound to return to the diocese. They persuaded the king to permit the catholic bishops to wear episcopal garb. Back in Ireland, Tyrell maintained a correspondence with James II; in December 1685 he expressed the opinion that James could dispense with all the penal restrictions in Ireland, as they had never been passed by act of parliament, but only enforced by the executive. In August 1686 he wrote to James, warning him not to trust protestant advisors and advising him to appoint Richard Talbot (qv), earl of Tyrconnell, as lord lieutenant. He was appointed Tyrconnell's chief secretary in February 1688. In December he was nominated bishop of Meath; he was appointed on 14 January 1689. There is a strong tradition that Tyrrell said mass for some Jacobite officers at the tomb of his predecessor James Cusack (d. 1688) in the ruined church at Duleek on the morning of the battle of the Boyne. Tyrrell was one of the two prelates (Patrick Russell (qv) of Dublin being the other) who resolved to remain in Ireland after the war. But while Russell died in jail, Tyrrell died among friends and family in 1692.
Letters in French and Spanish in Tyrrell's hand survive in the Propaganda Fide archives in Rome and in the Franciscan archives at UCD. Tyrrell was also the subject of two poems in Irish by the Franciscan priest-poet and lexicographer Proinsias Ó Maolmhuaidh (qv). Ó Maolmhuaidh also prepared a little grammar in Irish for Tyrrell. A manuscript written in Madrid in September 1659 and inscribed by Tuilenga Ó Maolchonaire (Conroy) survives in TCD.