The Most Reverend
|Archbishop of Armagh|
Primate of All Ireland
|Church||Church of Ireland|
|Elected||25 February 1980|
|Ordination||24 December 1939|
|Consecration||21 September 1968|
by George Simms
|Born||30 September 1915|
|Died||21 July 1987 (aged 71)|
Skerries, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
|Buried||St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin|
|Parents||John Armstrong & Elizabeth Ward|
|Spouse||Doris Winifred Harrison|
|Previous post(s)||Bishop of Cashel and Waterford (1968-1977)|
Bishop of Cashel and Ossory (1977-1980)
Education and Priestly Ministry
Armstrong was born in Belfast, the eldest of four sons (there were no daughters) of John Armstrong, a Belfast corporation official, and his wife, Elizabeth Ward. He was educated at the Belfast Royal Academy and Trinity College, Dublin. He was ordained deacon in 1938, and his first position was at All Saints Church, Grangegorman. He was ordained priest on 24 December 1939. He was the clerical vicar at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin and then Dean's Vicar at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin until 1944. He was then rector of Christ Church, Leeson Park, Dublin until he became the Dean of St Patrick's.
Armstrong served as Bishop of Cashel and Waterford from 1968 to 1977, Bishop of Cashel and Ossory from 1977 to 1980. His translation to the See of Armagh in 1980 catapulted him into the fraught world of Northern Irish politics, a deteriorating security situation and the heightened community tensions of the Hunger Strikes and later still, the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Along with fellow Church of Ireland bishops he regularly met political leaders to offer analysis and informed opinion: government minutes of some of those meetings have now been released. These meetings took place with political leaders in both jurisdictions on the island and Armstrong often led delegations to Dublin for talks.
He formed such a warm and effective working relationship with his Armagh neighbour Cardinal Tomas O'Fiach that when he announced his retirement, it was recorded his successor Robin Eames was regarded - by comparison - as a "cold fish".
He retired in February 1986 at the age of 70 and spent his short retirement in Skerries, Co. Dublin. He died in July 1987.
- New Primate of Ireland surprised by choice, The Times, 26 February 1980; pg. 3; Issue 60560; col C
- St Patrick's Cathedral website
- E. B. Pryde; D. E. Greenway (23 February 1996). Handbook of British Chronology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-56350-5.
- Crockford's Clerical Directory1947-48 Oxford, OUP, 1947
- “Who was Who” 1897-2007 London, A & C Black, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-954087-7
- The Times, 21 November 1958; pg. 14; Issue 54314; col D, Ecclesiastical News Church Appointments
- https://www.historyireland.com/volume-23/church-opinion-in-northern-ireland-1983/[bare URL]
- https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/nai/1986/nai_TSCH-2016-52-9_1986-01-17.pdf[bare URL]
- https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/declassified-files-catholic-leader-thought-eames-was-cold-fish-1166998[bare URL]
|Church of England titles|
William Cecil De Pauley
| Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Victor Gilbert Benjamin Griffin
| Bishop of Cashel, Emly, Waterford and Lismore
Noel Vincent Willoughby
George Otto Simms
| Archbishop of Armagh
1980 – 1986
Robin Henry Alexander Eames