The third of seven children, Daly was born in Loughguile, Northern Ireland, on October 1, 1917. After university, he entered the National Seminary, St. Patrick College, then specialized in Philosophy at the Catholic Institute in Paris. On June 22, 1941, he was ordained. He dedicated himself to scholarship for 30 years. Brought up in Northern Ireland but living for 15 years in Ireland, Daly published several books seeking to bring about understanding between the warring factions. He was appointed Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise on May 26, 1967. From 1974 on, he devoted himself to ecumenical activities for the Vatican's Secretariat for Christian Unity. His famous pastoral letter to Protestants, written in 1979, pleaded for Christian unity. Transferred to Down and Connor on August 24, 1982, and promoted Archbishop of Armagh on November 6, 1990, he was elevated to the cardinalate by John Paul II during the Consistory of June 28, 1991. He retired on October 1, 1996 at the age of 79.