Boylan, Eugene (Richard Kevin) (1904–64), physicist, monk, and writer, was born 3 February 1904 in Bray, Co. Wicklow, and was baptised Richard Kevin Boylan, one of at least three sons and two daughters of Richard Joseph Boylan, manager of the Hibernian Bank, and Agnes Honoria Boylan (née Colclough), prominent in Dublin musical circles. He was educated at the CBS, Derry, and the O'Connell Schools, Dublin, before graduating B.Sc. (1924) – with first-class honours in experimental physics – and M.Sc. (1925) from UCD, where he was auditor of the Literary and Historical Society. A keen swimmer, he represented UCD, Leinster, and Ireland in the Tailteann Games (1924). Awarded a travelling scholarship (1926) and a Rockefeller scholarship (1928), he studied atomic physics at Vienna University (1926–8). Regarded as an authority on fog formations, he collaborated with Professor John J. Dowling (c.1892–1960) on the first automatic fog signal at the port of Dublin (1926) and published papers in the RIA's Proceedings and two textbooks on experimental physics.
Declining a lectureship in physics at TCD, he entered the Cistercian monastery at Mount St Joseph, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary (1931), was professed (1936), and taught philosophy and moral theology. Fluent in seven languages, he taught French and German at Roscrea College. He was the abbey's public confessor, and was visited so often by people from far afield that he became known as the ‘refuge of sinners’ (Tipperary Star). Well known as a retreat master in Europe and America, he was the first Cistercian to visit Australia, where he was sent to found the Notre Dame abbey, Tarrawarra, Victoria (1954), formed by a community from Roscrea. He was appointed prior of the monastery of Our Lady and St Samson, Caldey Island, Wales (1956–9), which was suffering financial difficulties; assisted by a Polish monk in the community, he made it economically viable by producing and selling perfumes distilled from local plants, which were sold in London and New York, and was largely responsible for the priory achieving the status of an abbey. Returning (1959) to Mount St Joseph, Roscrea, he was appointed abbot (1962–4). Described as one of the most ‘colourful of Irish religionists’ (Ir. Times), and a noted scholar, he published several books on the spiritual life – including Difficulties in mental prayer (1943), which was translated into nine languages; This tremendous lover (1946), which had a worldwide sale; The spiritual life of the priest (1949), and The priest's way to God (1962) – and contributed articles to international journals. His brother, Stephen Mary Boylan, was superior of the Carthusian monastery, Arlington, Vermont, USA; one of his sisters was Mother Mary Fintan of the convent of Marie Reparatrice, Cincinnati, Ohio, another was Mother Mary Magdelene, of St Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Co. Waterford. He died 5 January 1964 in Roscommon and was buried in the abbey cemetery, Roscrea.