Boylan, Patrick Joseph (1879–1974), priest, biblical scholar, and Egyptologist, was born 2 December 1879 in Barrowhouse, near Athy, Co. Kildare, son of Patrick Boylan, a teacher at Shanganamore national school, and his wife Anne (née Walker), of Queen's County (Laois). Educated at Shanganamore national school (1884–94) and Holy Cross College, Clonliffe (1895–1900), in 1898 he graduated BA (RUI) in mental and moral sciences, and MA (RUI) in 1899; he was subsequently awarded an RUI studentship of £300. He entered St Patrick's College, Maynooth, in 1900 and began theological studies; two years later he was awarded an RUI junior fellowship in mental and moral sciences worth £800. He was ordained priest on 25 January 1903 and taught biblical studies and philosophy at Clonliffe. In October 1904 he registered at the University of Berlin (Die Königlichen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Berlin), apparently to learn Arabic so that he could study the Arabic commentaries on Aristotle. However, Hermann Junker (1877–1962), a young German priest, who later became professor of Egyptology at Vienna, persuaded him to take up the study of ancient Egyptian and become a worker on the great Egyptian dictionary under the supervision of Adolf Erman at Berlin. Boylan followed his friend's advice and his name appears in the preface of the Wörterbuch der ägyptische Sprache, part 1 (1926). Boylan's registration books (Anmeldbücher) for his years in Berlin show that he attended courses in Semitic languages, Celtic philology and even psychology.
Following his appointment as professor of scripture at Maynooth in 1905, Boylan had to take a break from his work at Berlin but he returned there for the summer semester 1907. In October 1907 he was examined for the degree of Ph.D. (RUI). He was in Berlin again in 1909, taking courses in Arabic, Persian and Russian in addition to Egyptian. He had the good fortune to study under some distinguished German orientalists, including Jakob Barth, Friedrich Delitzsch, Martin Hartmann, Eduard Sachau, and Hugo Winckler. He joined the staff at UCD in 1909, first as lecturer in eastern languages and then as professor of eastern languages (1912–56). He was a member of the UCD governing body (1944–70) and of the NUI senate (1934–59). In 1911 he was elected to the RIA and later served as RIA president (1952–5). He was chairman of the governing board of the School of Celtic Studies (DIAS) from its inception in 1941. He was appointed chairman of the censorship of publications board in 1930, serving until 1942. His publications included Thoth, the Hermes of Egypt (1922), for which the NUI awarded him the degree of D.Litt., The Psalms, 2 vols (1920–24); The epistle to the Hebrews (1922); St Paul's epistle to the Romans (1934).
Boylan became vice-president of St Patrick's College, Maynooth in 1922. Parish priest of St Michael's, Dún Laoghaire, from 1934, he was appointed vicar-general of the Dublin diocese in 1939. He died 22 November 1974 in Dún Laoghaire.