The Most Reverend Richard Lionel Clarke M.A., B.D., Ph.D.

Archbishop of Armagh


Richard Clarke was born in Dublin in 1949.  After school at Wesley College, he studied history at Trinity College Dublin and Theology at King’s College, London, where he also met his wife, Linda, who died in 2009.  He was made deacon for the curacy of Holywood in 1975, ordained priest in the following year, and, in 1977, returned to Dublin to the curacy of St Bartholomew’s with Christ Church Leeson Park.  Between 1979 and 1984 he was Dean of Residence in Trinity College, Dublin, before moving to be Rector of Bandon, Co. Cork.  In 1991 he became Dean of Cork, incumbent of the Cathedral parish, and chaplain to University College, Cork.

After his election as Bishop of Meath and Kildare, Dr Clarke was consecrated in Christ Church, Dublin on 14th September 1996.  As Bishop of Meath, he has attended two Lambeth Conferences.  In addition to all the usual responsibilities of a diocesan bishop, he has a particular commitment to the search for Christian unity.  He co-chairs, with the Revd Winston Graham, the Covenant Council of the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland.  He chairs the Church of Ireland’s Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, and was the preacher in 201l at the annual services for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Belfast and Armagh.

The new archbishop continues his engagement in historical research, and has contributed to a number of journals in the field.  More recently he has become fascinated also by philosophical theology and by the relationship between literature and theology.  His first exploration of this area was in his book ‘And is it True? — God, Truth and No-man’s Land’ (2000).  Since then he has begun to write on aspects of social theology with particular reference to Irish society, including a second book, ‘A Whisper of God’, on the witness of the Christian in the world of today.

Dr Clarke brings to the Hill of Armagh a 1979 MGB, and a Boxer dog.  He has two children, Nicholas and Lindsey, both doctors.  Indeed, his son and daughter-in-law are both hospital doctors in Belfast, and have a son eighteen months old.  He lists his recreations as poetry, biography and music, both classical and jazz, and follows rugby, cricket (Worcestershire) and a North London football club whose twenty-first century stadium was sponsored by a certain Arabian airline.