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123. father fahy ◊

Father Fahy, Recoleta Cemetery

Born in 1805 in Galway County, Ireland, Anthony Fahy was ordained in Rome in 1831. During his first mission abroad to the US, health issues forced Fahy to return to Ireland. In 1844, the Archbishop of Dublin appointed Fahy to the Chaplaincy of the Irish in Argentina & arrived in Buenos Aires on his 39th birthday.

Providing more than just spiritual support to Irish immigrants in Argentina, Father Fahy traveled the nation, getting to know his fellow countrymen who worked in the Pampas & managed to find many an Irish bride. His matchmaking skills had no limits… people claim that Fahy brought over Irish girls from his hometown when their weren’t enough in Buenos Aires.

Even though his time in the US had been brief, Father Fahy immediately fell in love with Argentina. Just read this letter to All Hallows College in Dublin:

Would to God that Irish emigrants would come to this country, instead of going to the United States. Here they would feel at home, they would have plenty employment and experience a sympathy from the natives very different from what now drives too many of them from the States back to Ireland. There is not a finer country in the world for a poor man to come to, especially with a family. Vast plains lying idle for want of hands to cultivate them and where the government offers every protection and encouragement to the foreigner.

Fahy also set up a hospital run by the Sisters of Mercy to help immigrants recover from the long, stressful voyage from Ireland. The hospital eventually transformed into one of the most respected private high schools in Buenos Aires, the Colegio de Santa Brígida. Restored in 2007, this Tudor castle sits next to Plaza Irlanda in the neighborhood of Caballito:

Colegio de Santa Brígida, Caballito, Buenos Aires

One of the many unfortunate victims of a yellow fever epidemic in 1871, Father Fahy was buried inside the Iglesia de Pilar & given a plaque on the church wall shared with Recoleta Cemetery:

Father Fahy, Recoleta Cemetery

But more recognizable is the cenotaph in the center of the cemetery dedicated to the most famous Irish Catholic in Argentina:

Father Fahy, Recoleta Cemetery

Father Fahy, Recoleta Cemetery

Father Fahy, Recoleta Cemetery

Published inHistory


  1. Mike Guilfoyle Mike Guilfoyle

    Visited the graves of Father Fahy and Admiral Brown while in Bueno Aires recently. Well worth the trip they are in pole position in the Recoleta cemetry.

    It was a proud moment for me to reflect on the huge contribution both men had made in their lifetime in Argentina.

  2. Mike – They were both indeed very important to local & national history. One thing I didn’t mention above is that Father Fahy performed the last rites for Admiral Brown when he passed away in his home. I wonder how well they knew each other in life.

  3. Hi David – I doubt Anthony Fahy would be of any direct relation since Irish Catholic priests don’t marry… in other words, they don’t have kids. Maybe someone of the same family?

  4. Val Val

    Today I went to the cementery of Recoleta, by casuality I saw the memorial about the chaplain Fahy.
    today is 20th of February the day that he day.
    So I just say, Rest in peace.
    I was curious to know was the chaplain Fahy, I would like to see a image of him.
    Thanks for this post.

    • Hello Val – Thanks for the comment. The bust of Father Fahy is an accurate representation of him… always keeping an eye on everyone who visits the cemetery. Saludos!

  5. Maureen Egan Maureen Egan

    Dear Robert,

    I visited Recoleta Cemetery about 10 days ago and was impressed and inspired by the memorials to both Father Fahy and Admiral Brown. Inscribed on the base of Father Fahy’s Cenotaph is the name Earleys of Dublin, who crafted the Cenotaph. Have you any data on who commissioned this work? Was it a gift from some organisation to commemorate Fr. Fahy? I would be grateful for any information re this. It is a most impressive cenotaph.

    • Hello Maureen – Both are indeed impressive & have a wonderful location at the juncture of so many footpaths. I searched through some old photos & found one with the sculptor company’s name:

      Father Fahy, Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Earley & Co.

      Earley & Co. were quite an accomplished firm but in the two major websites I found about them, neither mention this monument (Mapping Sculpture & the Dictionary of Irish Architects).

      According to one source, the Irish community in Argentina had long wanted to commemorate Fahy’s commitment but often ran into problems. The Asociación de Señoras San José finally made it happen when the monument was inaugurated in 1912… 41 years after Fahy’s death. Thanks for the comment!

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