Archbishop Sean Brady, who today becomes a cardinal, has come a long way since his Cavan childhood.
He grew up on a mixed farm where his father Andrew bred Aberdeen Angus cattle, and remains a keen GAA fan, reminiscing about the days when Cavan won the All-Ireland in 1947, 1948 and 1952.
Sean Brady was educated at Caulfield National School in Laragh, later becoming a boarder at St Patrick's College in his home county.
Although he considered agricultural science, he decided to study for the priesthood at Maynooth and later at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
He then taught at his old college in Cavan for 13 years before returning to Rome where he became vice-rector and then rector of the Pontifical College, later becoming parish priest at Castletara back in Cavan.
After only 13 months there, he was chosen as the new Catholic Primate to succeed Cardinal Cahal Daly.
In October 1996 he became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland as well as chairman of the Irish Episcopal Conference.
A few years ago he made headlines after accepting an invitation from Presbyterian Moderator Dr Ken Newell to be his personal guest at the opening night of the Presbyterian Assembly.
Outside, a protest at his presence was led by Free Presbyterian Moderator and now First Minister, the Rev Ian Paisley.
He is a strong supporter of ecumenism and when Archbishop Alan Harper became the new Church of Ireland Primate earlier this year, the two leaders made a joint visit to both Armagh cathedrals on St Patrick's Day.
Politically, Dr Brady has worked hard to solidify the peace process and has led a delegation of his senior clergy to meet the Mr Paisley at Stormont for an exchange of views.
In recent months, Dr Brady has made a series of major speeches outlining basic Christian values at a time of increasing secularisation in Ireland and earlier this year he led Irish bishops to meet Pope Benedict at the Vatican.