Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Saint Forannan of Waulsort, April 30

April 30 is the commemoration of a tenth-century Irish monastic who became abbot of the monastery of Waulsort in Belgium, Saint Forannan. His hagiography records that he left Ireland accompanied by twelve followers, but in his own country he has tended to be confused with two other saints of the same name, one a ninth-century abbot of Armagh and another a bishop of Donaghmore, who is believed to have flourished some centuries earlier. Canon O'Hanlon assembles a huge amount of information in his article on the saint, some of which relates to Forannan of Donaghmore rather than to the Belgian missionary. I have therefore taken a summary of both the life of Forannan and of the monastery he headed from a paper on Irish Saints in Belgium. I found it particularly touching that the name of Forannan was preserved through the centuries as a name for members and leaders of this monastic community, sadly it fell victim to the impiety of the French Revolution, as author T.A. Walsh explains. He too begins by identifying Forannan as the Bishop of Donaghmore, but is concerned only with the Belgian career of the saint, to which he provides a useful introduction:



ST. FORANNAN.


After his consecration at Semagh as Bishop of Mor-Donnach St. Forannan passed over to Belgium with twelve companions and joined the monastic community at Waulsort. Owing to the reputation he enjoyed for sanctity and learning he was, in 967, chosen Abbot, the fifth to hold that office since the foundation of the Abbey twenty-three years previously, the immediate successor of St. Macalan being, as we have seen, St. Cadroe; and such was the success in every respect of Forannan's administration that he came to be regarded as the real founder of the Abbey. In the chronicles of the period he is so referred to. It was during St. Forannan's rule that the monastery of Hastiere, farther up the Meuse, near Givet, was placed under the jurisdiction of Waulsort. In 976 the Abbot Forannan and Count Eilbert, the munificent benefactor of Waulsort and Hastiere, proceeded to Rome and obtained the approbation of Pope Benedict VII for the two foundations.

St. Forannan was held in particular affection by Count Eilbert and his pious Countess, Heresinde, both of whom had given a cordial welcome to the Irish monks on their arrival in their territories. He was presented by the Count at the Court of Otho the Great, into whose hands Eilbert surrendered all his rights over the Abbey; the King accorded to Forannan the investiture of the monastery and took him under his special protection. It was at the request of the holy Abbot that Count Eilbert procured the translation of the relics of the Irish missionary St. Eloque from Grigny-sur-Oise to the Abbey of Waulsort, where they were received with great popular veneration.

St. Forannan died on the 30th of April, 980, or as some authorities say, 982, and his tomb, illustrated by miracles, was much frequented by pilgrims. In the diocese of Namur to which Waulsort now belongs, a special commemoration is made of St. Forannan on the 30th of April, on which day his feast is observed...

THE ABBEY OF WAULSORT, OR WAUSSOR.

Under the name of Lotharingie the Low Countries were subject in the tenth century to the King of Germany, and at the time of the foundation of Waulsort (944) the reigning sovereign was Otho I. The Irish immigrant monks found in this prince a patron and protector. By a charter dated the 10th of September, 946, King Otho approved of the foundation of the monastery and ratified the grants made by Count Eilbert for its support. He further ordained, by the same instrument, that the new abbey should always remain the appanage of Irish monks, for whom it had in fact been originally erected, that a religious of their nationality should be its abbot as long as the community numbered Irishmen among its members; finally, that the abbey should be especially affected to foreigners and travellers, conformably with the intentions of its founders. This is expressed in the name which the abbey received - Monasterium peregrinorum. During several years King Otho's prescriptions seem to have been observed; but when the supply of Irish monks ceased it was of course found impossible any longer to adhere to them; hence subsequent to the death of St. Forannan all, or nearly all, the religious were natives of the country, and the office of abbot necessarily came to be held by other than Irishmen. In such records as survive relating to Waulsort we find no mention of any Irish connexion with the Abbey from the commencement of the eleventh century until its suppression at the close of the eighteenth.

The inestimable services which the Abbey of Waulsort rendered to religion and country during the eight hundred and fifty years it existed, may be fitly described in the words of the following passage from M. Godefroid Kurth, in which the distinguished Belgian historian admirably summarizes the manifold activities of the monastic institutions of the period:

" Le monastère," writes M. Kurth, "était une benediction pour toute le contrée environnante. Son église servait de paroisse a la population disseminée dans les alentours qui venait y écouter la parole de Dieu et assister avec ravissement aux fêtes splendides de la liturgie catholique. Les moines de fricherent les forets, dessechèrent les marècages, ils mirent en valeur les terres steriles, ils introduisirent de nouvelles cultures, et chaque monastère etait comme une ferme modéle, où les habitants du voisinage pouvait s'initier aux procés agricoles les plus perfectionnés. Ils trouvèrent aussi, dans le monastére, des médecins qui savaient soigner les maladies, et des maitres d'école qui se devouaient a l’éducation des enfants; ils y trouvaient encore la securité et la paix, parceque 1'abbaye était protégée par le respect qu' on portait á son saint. Un proverbe disait: II fait bon vivre sous la crosse. Aussi les habitations se multiplièrent-elles autour des monastères, et fondés dans des solitudes ceux-ci devinrent les berceaux d'autant de villes."

During the French Revolution Waulsort experienced the fate of many another Catholic institution. In 1793 the Abbey was pillaged and the church destroyed by the champions of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity; three years afterwards, in 1796, the ruin was complete; the monastery was suppressed, its property confiscated, and its religious dispersed. It is noteworthy that among the fifteen members then constituting the community was one bearing the name of Forannan. And in a published list of the monks assisting at the eight chapters held for the election of Abbot between the years 1629 and 1756, when the last Abbot was chosen, the names of Forannan, Eloque and Nonce recur on each occasion. It would thus seem as if the memory of the holy Irish Abbot and of the other Irish saints whose relics had been preserved in the monastery had been affectionately cherished throughout the whole period of the Abbey's existence.

The British Museum is in possession of a most interesting and valuable relic of the Abbey of Waulsort. Count Eilbert, its founder, presented to the monastery an exquisite intaglio, in rock crystal, representing the history of the Chaste Susanna, a chef-d'eeuvre which, as the inscription testifies, was executed for Lothaire, King of the Franks, probably Lothaire I. This precious work of art was jealously preserved by the monks of Waulsort for upward of eight hundred years, but disappeared on the suppression of the Abbey. It subsequently came into the hands of a Lyonese amateur, from whom it was purchased in 1857 by the authorities of the Museum.

T. A. WALSH.
Namur, Belgium.

American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 39 (1908) 122-140.

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Monday, 28 April 2014

A Feast of Saint Christopher on the Irish Calendars

On April 28, the early Irish calendars commemorate a feast of Saint Christopher, the Martyr. His main feast is celebrated on July 25, although in the East he is commemorated on May 9. Canon O'Hanlon cites a medieval document which suggests that the April 28 date marks a feast of the translation of the martyr's relics and helpfully notes the other early calendars which also record it. In the account below, taken from Volume IV of the Lives of the Irish Saints, I have inserted the verse in honour of St Christopher from the Martyrology of Aengus, quoted in the footnotes into the main text. The illustration of Saint Christopher on the left also has an Irish connection, it is taken from the personal collection of the nineteenth-century Belfast antiquarian, F. J. Bigger:

Festival of St. Christopher, Martyr

In the Leabhar Breac copy of St. Aengus' Felire, a festival of St. Christopher is commemorated, at the 28th of April. In a scholion affixed to this accounthe is set down as a martyr, who suffered under Decius, with no less than 10,403 martyrs. An Irish poem is quoted, containing the following eulogy, translated by Dr. Whitley Stokes:

He was a cleric with purity:
he was a pious Christian:
before the call without reproach over sea
his proper name was Christopher.

In the genuine Martyrology of Bede, as also in the Martyrologies of St. Raban Maur, and in the Manuscripts at Monte Cassino, at St. Maximin's and at St. Martin's church of Treves, and in Ado's Manuscript copy belonging to the Queen of Sweden, this feast has been recorded. However, in a certain document of the Carthusians, at Bruxelles, it is set down as the Translation of St. Christopher's relics. The Natal day of this holy Martyr is thought to be the 25th of July. There is a beautiful allusion to this holy martyr, who is thought to have carried Christ on his shoulders, over a sea; although the allegorical meaning seems to be, that he carried our Redeemer in his breast, while wading through a sea of temporal tribulation.

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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Saint Cas of Bangor, April 26

 Last year I made a post on an abbot of Bangor, Indreachtach, commemorated on April 26, whose death is recorded in the Irish annals at the year 901. Canon O'Hanlon remarked that we should therefore not be surprised to find this holy man's name missing from the earliest of the Irish calendars, the Martyrology of Tallaght, which modern scholarship seems to date to around the year 830. There is, however, a second saint commemorated on April 26 associated with the famous County Down monastery, Cas, whose name is recorded in the Tallaght Martyrology. His feast is also noted in the later Martyrology of Donegal and by Bishop Reeves, translator of Adamnan's Life of Saint Columba, in a calendar of local saints compiled as an appendix to his work Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor and Dromore. Other details, however, are lacking, as Canon O'Hanlon explains:

St. Cas, of Bennchar, or Bangor, County of Down.

We find an entry in the Martyrology of Tallagh; at this date, regarding Cas of Bennchair. The Bollandists record Cassius Benchorensis, at the 26th of April. We know not whether he attained any superior position, in this celebrated monastery. The Martyrology of Donegal mentions, that Cas, of Bennchar, had a festival on this day. In the Irish Calendar, contained in the Common Place Book F, we have his name also entered. In that calendar, moreover, compiled by the Rev. William Reeves, his name occurs.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Saint Suairleach of Linn Duachaille, April 23

April 23 is the commemoration of an eighth-century abbot of the monastery of Linn Duachaille, Saint Suairleach. The locality of this monastery has been the subject of some dispute; in the mid-nineteenth century the Anglican Bishop William Reeves was confident that Linn Duachaille was to be identified with Magheralin in County Down but at the beginning of the twentieth century this thesis was challenged by another Anglican cleric in favour of Annagassan, County Louth. In his entry for today's saint, Canon O'Hanlon, writing in the 1870s, follows the thinking of Bishop Reeves and describes the saint as being from Magheralin, County Down. I will bring you that account first and then the evidence in favour of Annagassan. Whatever the truth of the location of this monastery, it was a sufficiently well-known foundation that the repose of some of its abbots were recorded in the Irish Annals. Saint Suairleach is among these. Sadly, Linn Duachaille monastery features even more heavily in the Annals thanks to the frequency of the Viking attacks upon it beginning in the ninth century.

St. Suairleach, Abbot of Magheralin, County of Down.

According to one account, this holy man is said to have belonged to the northern province, and to the parish of Magheralin. This lies, partly in the barony of Oneilland East, county of Armagh, but chiefly in that of Lower Iveagh, county of Down. However, the entry in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 23rd of April, for the saint of this day, is Soardlech ind Edhnen. There he seems to be associated in locality, with the holy man, of whom a notice succeeds. One townland in the parish of Magheralin is yet called Linn Huachuille, where the old monastery stood. It was so called, from St. Colman, or Mocholmoc, the founder, who died in 699. On this day, the Martyrology of Donegal, registers a festival in honour of Suairleach, Abbot of Linn Duachaille. According to some accounts, this holy abbot died, A.D. 770; while A.D. 774 is set down for that event, in the Annals of Ulster. Subsequently to this date, that place was frequently ravaged by the Danish invaders, as recorded in our chronicles.

Rev John O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints , Volume IV, (Dublin, 1875), 465.

Monastery of Linn Duachaill.—It is in the townland of Linns, close to the village of Annagassan, that we find the first trace of an ecclesiastical establishment in the Parish of Gernonstown. St. Colman MacLuachan is said to have founded a church or monastery here in the seventh century. It was known by the name of Linn Duachaill (i.e.. Duachaill's pool), or Linn Uachaill from a demon named Duachaill, who is said to have infested the place and terrified the neighbourhood until destroyed by St. Colman. Duachaill's pool is still pointed out at the junction of the Clyde and Dee before they enter the sea at Annagassan. Dr. O' Donovan once thought that Linn Duachaill was Magheralin. Co. Down, and at first Bishop Reeves seems to have had the same opinion. But both those antiquaries found it necessary to correct their opinion on becoming acquainted with the topography and traditions of Annagassan. For Linn Duachaill was on the banks of the river called Casan Linne (Martyr. Doneg., Mar. 30, p. 91, cp Colgan Acta SS., pp. 792-703), and this river is mentioned in the "Circuit of Ireland " as lying between the Vale of Newry, or Glen Righe, and Ath Gabhla on the Boyne. The name " Casan''="paths" survives in Annagassan. According to Joyce (Names of Places, p. 373) "Casan " was originally joined with "Linne Duachaill" and became shortened to " Casan linne," which is preserved in Annagassan=Ath-na-gcasan, "the ford of the paths." Dr. Todd, who has an important note on the subject in " Wars of the Gaedhil with the Gall," p. lxii., says, Annagassan=Aonach g Casain, i.e., the " Fair of Casan." Joyce's interpretation is, I think, to be preferred, as the people still speak of the "Pass of Linns " and this pass, as pointed out, lay further up the River Glyde, about a quarter of a mile from Duachaill's pool, and near the spot where the monastery founded by St. Colman is believed to have stood.

The Four Masters and Annals of Ulster do not tell very much about the Monastery of Linn Duachaill. The following entries in the former refer to it : —

699. — Colman of Linn Duachaill died on 30 March.

752. — Siadhail, Abbot of Linn Duachaill, died.

758.— Anfadan, Abbot of Linn Duachaill, died.

770. — Suairlech, Abbot of Linn Duachaill, died.

803. — Thomas, Bishop, Scribe, and Abbot of Linn Duachaill, died.

826. — Clemens, Abbot of Linn Duachaill, died.

Rev. J. B. Leslie, History of Kilsaran Union of Parishes in the County of Louth, (Dundalk, 1908), 89-91.

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Saint Berach of Bangor, April 21


April 21 is the commemoration of Saint Berach, one of the abbots of the monastery of Bangor, founded by Saint Comgall.  It seems that the abbacy of our saint Berach lasted for a short time, as Canon O'Hanlon, drawing on the evidence from the Irish Annals, explains:

St. Berach, Abbot of Bangor, County of Down.
[Seventh Century]

...The whole of Ireland was filled with monastic houses of great extent. Among these, the famous Abbey of Bangor sent many of its holy inmates from earth, to people the courts of the Heavenly Jerusalem. The name of Berach, Abbot of Bennchair, occurs, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 21st of April. He was born, most probably, towards the opening of the seventh century. We know not the place of his nativity; but, it seems not improbable, he belonged to the community at Bangor, where St. Mac Laisre, the Abbot, died, A.D. 645. We find another Abbot, St. Segan O'Cuinn, who departed, A.D. 662. The holy man Berach was probably his immediate successor; and, if such be the case, he could not have long survived, to rule over that establishment. He died, in the year 663, according to the Annals of Ulster, and of the Four Masters. According to the Martyrology of Donegal, on this day was venerated, Berach, Abbot of Bennchar.

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Saint Maelochtraigh, April 20

Among the saints commemorated at April 20 Saint Maelochtraigh, apparently the only saint of this name to be recorded in the Irish calendars. It is a name though that he shares with an eighth-century County Meath abbot whose repose is recorded in the Irish Annals at the year 737, as Canon O'Hanlon explains:

St. Moelochtraigh, or Maelochtraigh.

Like their Divine Master, the truly great among his followers labour with indefatigable zeal and love, to mitigate the afflictions of the poor, the broken-hearted and the erring. The name of this servant of Christ appears, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 20th of April, as Moelochtraigh. This, too, is the only saint of the name, to be found in our Calendars. It is difficult to identify him. We find, a Maelochtraigh, Abbot of Cill-Foibrigh, who died A.D. 737. But, it is not certain, if he be identical with this saint. His place has been set down as Kilbrew, a townland and parish in the barony of Ratoath, in thecounty of Meath. Here, there was an ancient monastery. The old church of Kilbrew has been uprooted, and a Protestant edifice has been built on its site. The parish is dedicated, as we are told, to St. Brigid. This day was set apart for the veneration of Maelochtraigh, according to the Martyrology of Donegal.

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Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Sons of Erc, April 19

On April 19 we meet another of the groups of Irish saints, the Sons of Erc of Darmagh. Following the work of Meath diocesan historian, Dean Anthony Cogan, Canon O'Hanlon identifies this place with the Columban monastery of Durrow. We have no further specifics about Erc's saintly sons, but interestingly, the calendars appear to preserve a second feast day for them at November 12:

The Sons of Erc, of Darmagh, said to have been Durrow, King's County.

The Martyrology of Tallagh enters as a festival, MacErcca of Dermaigh, at this same date [i.e. April 19]. This place, which is Anglicised 'the plain of the Oaks' is said to have been identical with the present Durrow, a parish, partly in the barony of Moycashel, county of Westmeath, but principally in that of Ballycowan, King's County. This monastery was founded by St. Columkille, about the year 550; and on a site, granted by Bredan, a chief of Teffia. Other accounts have the foundation of Durrow, at A.D. 546. It was subsequently governed by St. Lasren; but, St, Columba retired here, and drew up certain rules and instructions, for the future good government of this celebrated house. We have a long list of annalistic entries, referring to it, and reaching down to the time of its suppression, by Queen Elizabeth.

The saints here commemorated appear to have had a second festival, at November the 12th. Marianus O'Gorman, at this day, has an entry of those holy men; and, at this date also, quoting his authority, and that of the Tallagh Martyrology, the Bollandists enter Filii Ercae de Dermagia. The festival in honour of the sons of Erc, of Dermagh, was celebrated, on this day, as we read in the Martyrology of Donegal.

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Saint Moninnsen of Mainistir, April 18

On April 18 we can add yet another name to the list of obscure Irish saints, of whom only the recording of a feastday survives, Moninnsen of Mainistir. Canon O'Hanlon brings the details preserved in the earliest of the Irish calendars, the Martyrology of Tallaght:

St. Moninnsen, of Mainistir

From the appendix to this proper name, we may assume, probably, that he was a monk, and belonging to some particular monastery. At this date, a festival is recorded, in the Martyrology of Tallagh in honour of a St. Moninnsen, of Manister. There are so many localities, in different parts of Ireland, compounded with the word Mainistir, signifying "a monastery' that in the absence of further accounts regarding this saint, it will be difficult to identify him, or his place of retreat. Quoting the Martyrology of Tallagh, as their authority, the Bollandists enter Monindus senex de monasterio; and if this be correct, we should probably infer, that the present holy recluse lived to an old age.

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Saint Lughaidh Mac Garbain, April 17

April 17 is the commemoration of a saint with alleged Patrician links, Lughaidh Mac Garbain, as Canon O'Hanlon explains:

St. Lughaidh Mac Garbain, possibly of Teglaisreann, County of Louth.

At this date, a festival is set down, in the Martyrology of Tallagh in honour of Lughaidh Mac Garbain. He is thought, by Colgan, to have been brother to St. Bega, whose feast occurs at the 10th of February. The Bollandists have entered Lugadius filius Garvani, at the 17th of April. They notice, likewise, a particular Lugadius Praesbyter, who is mentioned in the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, and who is thought, by Colgan, to have been one of those saints, so-called, in the Irish Calendars, at this date. In our account of St. Meallan, the name of that Lugadius occurs, as a companion. He was one of those six students, who, it has been stated, met St. Patrick on his going to Rome. To them, St. Patrick gave a hide, which he had under his side, for twelve years. Of it, they made a satchel, for their books. This custom of keeping books in cases or satchels seems to have been prevalent in the early times. Those circumstances, connected with the foregoing incident, are more fully detailed, in the First Volume of this work. [See the entry for Saint Meallan on January 28, pp. 465-467.]

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Saint Failbe of Killower, April 16

April 16 is the commemoration of Bishop Failbe of Killower in County Galway. The 17th-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan, sought to identify him with a bishop Fáilbe, for whom Saint Patrick had founded a church. Canon O'Hanlon can only bring these few details:

Saint Failbe or Falbe, Bishop.

The name of Failbe appears, in the Martyrology of Tallagh at the 16th day of April. By Colgan, as St. Falbe is called Bishop of Kill-Fore, or Fobhuir, while his festival is assigned to the 11th of January, or to the 16th of April. He is classed among the disciples of St. Patrick. The name of Failbhe is set down in the Martyrology of Donegal as having been venerated, on this day; but, it is not at all certain, when he flourished, or when he lived.

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Sons of Terchur, April 13

On April 13 the earliest of the Irish calendars, the Martyrology of Tallaght, commemorates a group of saints associated with the lakeland area of County Fermanagh, the Sons of Terchur. There are quite a few saints grouped under their patronymic to be found in the Irish calendars. In some cases we have names preserved for the individuals but in many others they are simply known collectively. The memory of the sons of Terchur is carried forward into the 17th-century Martyrology of Donegal, but without any further detail. Canon O'Hanlon fills up some of the space in his article by a romantic description of the scenery of the saints' locality, accompanied by an engraving, and by way of contrast to their holy way of life selects a later medieval episode from the Irish Annals:

The Sons of Terchur, of Loch-mac-Nein.

On the 13th of April, we find entered, in the Martyrology of Tallagh Mac Tarchair, Locha mic Nina. This place was identical with Lough-Mac-Nen, now Lough Macnean, situated between the counties of Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim. The very romantic scenery, about the margin of Lough Mac Nean, is enhanced greatly by that beautiful sheet of water, extending between the counties of Fermanagh and of Leitrim, while several islands seem to float over its surface. On one of these, called Innisshee, there is a crannog, and it lies to the left of the Hanging Rock, a magnificent cliff over the Lake, and which is shown in the engraving. The Island itself is in the centre of the Lough, and the view as presented in our illustration is that appearing from Belcoo. A bridge at this village carries the road across to the northern extremity, which is situated in the county of Cavan.








The sons of Terchur, are mentioned, in the Martyrology of Donegal, as having had veneration paid to them, on this day. They are also said to have been of Loch-mac-Nein; but, whether their place of retirement was on an Island, situated in the lake itself, or whether it was to be found on the shores which border it, we have now apparently no clue left us, which could serve to discover that particular site.


In the year 1499, the Annals of the Four Masters' state, that Con Carragh and John O'Roorke took Melaghlin Mac Rannall, a prisoner, and they conveyed him to Inis-Ochta, an Island on Lough Mac Nen. But Rory Maguire rescued the prisoner, and slew these two sons of O'Roorke. It seems hurtful to generous and refined feeling, that deeds of violence should be associated with so charming a locality; and, even more so, when it is known, that holy men had once sanctified those places which are historic, by their living presence, although we can only learn of them and their associations with the scene, through the patronymic above recorded.

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Saint Brynach of Carn Engyli, April 7

April 7 is the feast day of an early Welsh saint, Brynach of Carn Engyli. The details of this holy man's life are shrouded in obscurity, but one suggestion is that he may have started life as Brenach, an Irishman. This is a thesis that Canon O'Hanlon is happy to embrace in the April volume of his Lives of the Irish Saints. He begins by saying that the 12th-century Life of the saint has been published by Rees, this volume, Lives of the Cambro British saints, of the fifth and immediate succeeding centuries, from ancient Welsh & Latin mss. in the British Museum and elsewhere, with English translations, and explanatory notes, to give it its full title, is available at the Internet Archive here. There is also a ready-formatted translation from the 1944 work of A.W. Wade-Evans, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae, available here. This medieval Life depicts our saint as voluntarily renouncing the comforts of his high-born status in order to embrace the hardships of the peregrinatio pro Christo. It ends with this tribute:

With how many and how great miracles this saint shone, while he sojourned in the body, with difficulty could any one tell. At last it pleased the Most High to snatch his saint from this preparatory and unstable habitation, and to place him happily in celestial glory among his holy and elect ones. He passed from this world on the seventh day of April, and his body lies buried below the eastern wall of his church. Brynach, saint of God, rejoices in heaven, and great wonders are frequently done on earth, our Lord Jesus Christ performing them.

Canon O'Hanlon has this short account:

St. Brynach, or Brenach, of Carn Engyli, Wales.

[Fifth Century.]

His Life, which is to be found in a Manuscript, belonging to the British Museum, has been lately published by Rees. St. Brynach, as he is called by the Welsh writers, or Brenach, was an Irishman by birth. In Michael Alford's work, the name of Bernacus Abbas is entered, in his Index, as being among the Saints of Anglia; but, the reference to his place, in the Annals, finds only a counterpart in omission. The Bollandists notice him, at the 7th of April, as Abbot Bernacus; and, they state, that his place of abode was traditionally held to have been, in northern Cambria. But, as not having ascertained the genuineness of his Acts, nor his place in history, nor having had time to investigate properly his cultus, they pass over Bernacus Abbas, for want of better information- He is said to have flourished, before the middle of the fifth century. This saint performed great miracles. He lived in a solitary spot, on the banks of the Caman, where he erected a cell and a church. These were encompassed by hills. Here he served God faithfully, until summoned to his heavenly reward. He often ascended a high eminence, to enjoy the vision and discourse of Angels. It was afterwards called the "Mountain of Angels." It now bears the name Carn Engyli, and it overhangs the Nevern. At its foot was built a church. St. Brenach passed out of this world, on the 7th of April. His relics were placed, under the eastern wall of his church.

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Saint Cathur, or Cathub, Bishop of Achadhcinn, April 6

At April 6 the Irish calendars commemorate an obscure early saint, Cathur or Cathub. Canon O'Hanlon is unable to bring many details but discounts the possibility raised by the seventeenth-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan, that he was associated with the mission of Saint Patrick:

St. Cathur, or Cathub, Bishop of Achadhcinn, Probably Aughnakeely, County of Antrim

Sacred biography should be a record of useful individual traits of character, and of social facts, on which religious philosophy, as a science, might be based. But, we have, very frequently, in the case of Ireland's saints, materials too scanty for information, and instruction, in most of our hagiographical essays. The Bollandists have a mere notice to this holy man, but his name is incorrectly given. St.  Cathub was born, in the early part of the fifth century, and in the year 404. He was son of Fergus. The present holy man has been classed, but incorrectly, among the disciples of St. Patrick. He is said to have been bishop of Achadh-cinn, or Achid-cinn. Some authorities only style him Abbot. His place is supposed to have been identical with the present Aughnakeely,  one of the four townlands of Craigs, barony of Kilconway, and county of Antrim. In Colgan's time, it was called Achadh na Cille, and it lay within the boundaries of Dalriadia. At this spot, there was an ancient burial ground, although its name is not marked on the Ordnance Survey Maps. A very capable investigator has remarked, that Dalriada, or the Route, ends at the southern boundary of Kilconway, which is but a short distance from this place, It has been conjectured, that Loch Cathbadh, Latinized, Lacus Cathbadii, adjoining Dalaradia, may have taken its denomination, from the present holy man. He flourished before and after the commencement of the sixth century, and he died, on the 6th of April, A.D. 554.  It is said,  that he lived, for one hundred and fifty years. This account also agrees with a statement in the  Chronicon Scotorum; but, the year of his death was 555, according to the latter authority. It must be observed, that Rev. Dr. Lanigan doubts the attainment of his extraordinary term of life, and accounts for the story of that great age, on a conjecture of his own. Colgan suspected, that the priest, named Fothrath  or Cathbad, who was placed over a church at Fothrat, might have been the same as St. Cathub, who was revered at Achadcinn, or Achadnacill. Yet, this latter place is not named in the Tripartite, nor in any of St. Patrick's various Acts. The Martyrology of Tallagh registers the name merely, as Cathub, Bishop, at the 6th of April. On this day was venerated, according to the Martyrology of Donegal, Cathur, son of Fergus, Bishop, over Achadh-cinn.

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Friday, 4 April 2014

Saint Tighernach of Clones, April 4

On April 4 we commemorate the memory of Saint Tighernach of Clones, County Monaghan. There is a surviving Life of the saint preserved in the Salamanca Manuscripts and other sources. Canon O'Hanlon brings us a useful summary of these sources in his account of Saint Tighernach in Volume IV of his Lives of the Irish Saints. I often edit such accounts but this one is complete (apart from the footnotes) and is a testament to the sheer hard work which Canon O'Hanlon put into his researches. He ends the piece on a wistful note, such sighing over vanished former glories remains a feature of 'Celtic Christianity' even in our own day.  Finally, it's worth noting that the name of our saint Tighernach (Tiernach, Tighearnach) is derived from the old Irish tighearn, 'lord',  as this may help to explain some of the details in the hagiography:

ST. TIGHERNACH. ABBOT OF CLONES, AND BISHOP OF CLOGHER.

[FIFTH AND SIXTH CENTURIES.]

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION—AUTHORITIES— PARENTAGE AND BIRTH OF ST. TIGERNACH—HIS
EDUCATION UNDER ST. MONENNIUS— HIS JOURNEY TO ROME, AND HIS RETURN TO
BRITAIN—HE EMBARKS FOR IRELAND—MIRACLES.


FORMERLY, in Ireland, the spirit of the ecclesiastic and of the recluse diffused sanctity to the very sheeling of the clansman, to the home of the brugach, and to the castle of the chieftain. Foremost among clerics were the venerable bishops, respected and venerated in this land of St. Patrick. And, at the present day, we are to record the memory of an early and a holy prelate, yet remembered in his own special locality, and there greatly reverenced.

The Bollandists have published the Life of St. Tighernach, but not at this date, from a parchment Manuscript, which formerly belonged to Salamanca College, in Spain. They compared it with another Codex, belonging to Father Hugh Ward. A third copy had been procured, from Father Henry Fitzsimon, and, as remarked, in the Bollandists' notes, some proper names in it are differently rendered, from those found in the preceding Manuscripts. This Life was written at a period, long subsequent to St. Tigernach's death, and perhaps, after the English invasion, as the editors remark. His biography is based on traditionary accounts of the Saint; but, as traditions have undergone strange alterations and amplifications, in from six to seven centuries, the Acts are of little value, in a historical sense. Among the Burgundian Library Manuscripts, Bruxelles, there is yet preserved, the Latin Vita S. Tygernachi, which has been printed by the Bollandists. Again, there is a Codex, probably containing similar matter, in the Bodleian Library, at Oxford. In the Franciscan Convent, Dublin, there is a Manuscript, intituled, " Vitae Sanctorum," ex Cod. Inisensi. It contains a Vita S. Tigernachi. Reference is probably made to the latter, where on Colgan's list, some Acts of St. Tighernach seem to have been designed for publication, at this day. Some brief memoranda, regarding this distinguished and saintly prelate, have been placed on record, by Bishop Challoner, by the Rev. Alban Butler, and by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould.

As his old Acts inform us, St. Tigernach was of royal birth, being grandson to King Eochod, whose daughter Dearfraych, or Dervail, was married to a warrior of her father, named Corbre, a Leinster man by birth. Dearfraych, who was exceedingly beautiful, concealed herself from man's sight,  during the time she bore our Saint. When he was born, Corbre brought the infant into his native province. While approaching the city of Kildare, St. Bridget had a revelation, which she communicated to her nuns. It regarded the approach of her respected visitors. That holy virgin went out to meet the infant, whom she pressed to her bosom. The child was baptized by Bishop Conlath, while Bridget is said to have been his sponsor. She requested, that his name should be Tigernach, which is expressive of royalty. The father of our Saint brought the child to his own part of the country, where he was carefully educated. One day, while sleeping in the presence of his mother, the latter observed a breath, that issued from his mouth, which presented a white appearance; a second breath, which appeared of a reddish hue; and a third, which had a yellowish colour. On Tigernach's awaking, he was asked, what he had seen during sleep. Then he answered, " I dreamed, that three streams of Divine origin were flowing into my mouth; the first, a rivulet of milk, the second one of wine, the third one of oil; and, afterwards, I saw a man of venerable aspect, clothed in a white habit. He prophesied after this manner, "In the land of thy mother shalt thou found an illustrious church.'" This was understood, as having reference to the future church of Clones.

Whilst a boy, Tigernach was taken captive by pirates, who brought him to the King of Britain. This monarch was so much captivated with his beautiful appearance and with his virtues, that he allowed our Saint to sleep on the royal bed, which appeared oftentimes surrounded with a miraculous light.  Hereupon the queen said, "This Irish child causes light to descend on us from Heaven ; and, for this reason, let us remove him to that bed, in which our sons repose." When he had slept with the monarch's two sons, on the following morning, both were found dead. The king and queen sent immediately to St. Movennus, or Monennius, requesting his attendance at court, to consult with him, in such an emergency. On his arrival, this saint indicated to Tighernach, that he should lie between the children who were dead, and order them to arise with him. To the great joy of the parents, both their sons were restored to life. Our saint was then set at liberty ; and afterwards, he became the disciple of a bishop, known as St. Monennius, or Ninio—supposed to have been Ninian—in his monastery of Alba. It is thought, that Rosnat, or Whitethorn, was the place. Others will say, that the locality was within the principality of Wales, and not in Scotland. By such an experienced master, Tighernach was instructed in science and virtue. It may be questioned, if this holy teacher were not identical with St. Manchan, the master of St. David of Wales. Having received the benediction of his superior, Tigernach set out on a pilgrimage to Rome. Thence he bore relics of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, to his own country. He journeyed towards the city of Tours, in company with St. Keeran, son to  Euchad. It being the time of winter, they were received in a hospice, where nine persons died on that same night. St. Keeran requested his companion to compassionate the wailings of their friends, and to unite with him in earnest entreaty, for their restoration to life. Fervently praying together, the Almighty was pleased to grant their request. From that time forward, both saints were joined in the strictest bonds of friendship. When our saint approached the shore of the Irish sea, it happened, that Ethnea, daughter to the King of Munster, had been brought to the place, whence he intended to embark for Ireland. She was attended by soldiers, belonging to the King of Britain, a prince who wished to marry her. Seeing the saint, with his companions, at that port, Ethnea said, "O holy Father, do not permit me to remain with the infidels, for I have devoted myself to Christ, whose faith and love animate my whole heart." The saint besought the soldiers to release her, but disregarding this request, they brought their captive to the ruler. Being forced against her inclination into the King's presence, she became insensible, and immediately yielded up her spirit. Astonished at this circumstance, the king required his soldiers to give a full account of what had taken place, during their journey. Afterwards, he ordered the royal maiden's dead body to be given without delay to the strange pilgrim, who had required her release, at their hands. This being done, the corpse was placed in a coffin, by Tigernach. He then ordered the sailors to put out for sea. When they were a distance from land, our saint prepared to celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is said, that at a time, when it was necessary to pour water into the wine, a drop of rain-water fell from Heaven. When  the navigators had reached the wished-for port, turning towards the virgin's body, Tigernach said,  "O Ethnea, thou art buried in a long sleep. In the name of Jesus Christ arise, and disembark from this vessel, first of all." Immediately, she arose, and to the great astonishment and admiration of its crew,  Ethnea went on shore. Having forgotten a thurible, at that port from which he embarked, Tighernach found it at the spot, near which he landed. He remained some time with St. Bridgid. This illustrious virgin received him with great honour. The fame of his sanctity in Ireland soon brought many to a profession of the true faith.


CHAPTER II.

ST. TIGHERNACH VISITS MUNSTER AND CHAINS A DEMON—A RULER, NAMED FIACHRIUS, GRANTS HIM THE SITE FOR A MONASTERY—HE THEN VISITS KILDARE, AND ON THE NOMINATION OF ST. BRIDGET, HE IS CONSECRATED A BISHOP—TIGHERNACH RETURNS TO CLOGHER, WHERE HE IS SET OVER A MONASTERY—HE RAISES DUACH, ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH, TO LIFE—KING TACHODRUS GRANTS HIM THE SITE FOR A MONASTERY, AT CLONES—REMARKABLE MOAT THERE—ST. TIGERNACH'S RESIDENCE AT CLONES.

From that part of the country, in which he dwelt for a time, Tighernach went into Munster. He arrived at a place, where its inhabitants worshipped a demon, under the shape of a idol. This evil spirit had excited his worshippers to slay the servant of God. Armed with the shield of faith, and fortified by devout prayer, Tigernach besought the Lord to mitigate their fury. Addressing the multitude, and asking permission to exhibit their idol in its true shape, he made a sign of the cross. Thereupon that image appeared to all, in the form of a foul demon. Afterwards, he was banished to a rock, situated  near the sea, where his groans and lamentations were distinctly heard. All of those idolators, acknowledging their errors, became converts to the faith, and they were baptized by our saint. After this, he returned towards his own part of the country. There, he asked for a site, whereon to found a  monastery. A king of the territory, who was named Fiachrius, had possession of the place. Tigernach's request was granted, and that ruler requested him to dig a deep trench around the place, giving him lands to serve as a perpetual foundation for his monastery. On a subsequent occasion, the king requiring hay from one of his servants, and it being brought, he asked where it had been procured. Being told, that it was taken from land given to our saint, Fiachrius said, in a loud voice, to those present, "I shall never use the produce of that land, I have given to God, either for my own wants, or for those of my successors." After this, the ruler asked a blessing from the saint on his arms, so that he might obtain a victory over enemies, who were about to contend with him, on the following day. That request he obtained, for on the very next day, his enemies fled before joining battle with the king. Having established his monastery, and left some religious brethren therein, St. Tigernach directed his course towards Kildare, on a visit to his spiritual mother, St. Bridget. She had a revelation, that her godson was worthy of promotion, to the episcopal rank, and having convoked some bishops, our saint was received into their order. The Patroness of Kildare had obtained so much influence, and had so great a reputation for sanctity, that she was privileged, by the clergy and people of Ireland, to nominate several Bishops. Immediately on his consecration having taken place, Tigernach repaired to his maternal grandfather, Eochod, who received him with much joy; and, the satisfaction of his mother, Dearfraych, was equally great. The potentate declared, that he would grant the holy Bishop Machadin's rank, and the rule of Clogher monastery, in favour of his grandson. It seems, he expelled Machadin, from his territories. But, despising worldly honours, and avoiding the king and his parents, the servant of Christ betook himself to a distant mountain. There he remained, buried in a cell, which he had founded.

The fame of our Saint's virtues being diffused abroad, many holy men flocked to visit him, and to engage in useful and pious conferences. Among others, Duach, Archbishop of Armagh, was received with great honour and attention, by the saint. At his departure, Tigernach offered up earnest prayers to God. While travelling through a plain, called Marchuir-eglas, or Glassen, the Archbishop departed this life, a circumstance which was revealed to our saint. He ordered a charioteer, to put horses under his chariot. Having ascended it, the driver was desired not to open his eyes, without a special permission. Tigernach declared, likewise, that he would hold the reins, on that day; for, he knew, that the Angels should accompany them, on the way. The event corresponded with his anticipations. Having journeyed a considerable distance, the charioteer ventured to uncover his head, contrary to the Bishop's advice, but not with impunity. He was instantly deprived of sight. However, this was again restored, on his master signing him with a cross. When they came to that place, where the Archbishop's corpse lay, blessing holy water, Tigernach sprinkled it on the body. Then, earnestly  addressing his prayers to God, our saint requested the return of the Archbishop's soul to his body. Immediately, Duach arose, and then he said, 'Tigernach on earth, Tigernach in heaven'; as if he would say, that whilst our Saint's body remained on earth, his soul and dwelling were in Heaven.  Afterwards, both these servants of God, receiving from each other a kiss of peace, conceived most tender sentiments of mutual and fraternal love." A short time after this event, the Angel of the Lord advised our saint to go into the territories of King Tachodrus, his grandsire. There, he was ordered to  erect a monastery. Our saint complied, and when he had come to the place designated, he built a monastery. With a holy band of brethren, he there engaged in his devotions, and he performed many miracles.



Near the town of Clones, there is a very curious elevated Moat, on the summit of a hill. Three tiers of earth mounds rise in concentric circles, gradually diminishing in area to the topmost height. Immediately north of the moat was a square fortification; and resembling one at Dromore, in every  particular. It had been most scandalously defaced by an occupier, who hurled its proud ramparts into the ditches beneath, in order to extend his garden, at a time when John O'Donovan visited the place, A.D. 1835. This was regarded, by him, as the principal enclosure around the mansion of the ancient chief of Oriel, while the Moat was his watchtower, each being surrounded by a ditch, filled with water. The inhabitants of Clones state, that there is cave running from the Diamond, in their town, to the top of this Moat. It is said, that Tigemach fixed his residence at Clones, while he retained the  government of Clogher church and See. On this account, he was called Ferdacrioch, or "the Man of the two districts.'' Some writers have erroneously applied this term to his predecessor, in the See of Clogher, St. Maccarthann. But, all accounts agree, that the real name of Maccarthen's successor was Tigernach, while Ferdachrioch was merely a surname, which agreed very well with the circumstances, in which our saint was placed, but it did not suit Bishop Maccarthen. This is a mistake, into which Walter Harris has fallen, and in a measure it is excusable; but, not so his saying,  that Tigernach might have been the same as Tigernach, Bishop of Clonmacnois. There was no religious establishment, either See or monastery at Clonraacnois, until the year 548; while our Tigernach was Bishop at Clones, since 506, nor was there any Tigernach of Clonmacnois, in those ancient times. At Clones, a great number of holy men and women afterwards served God. For the last thirty years of our saint's life, he was deprived of the use of sight. He lived alone, in his cell. There, he led the life of an anchoret, devoting his whole time to prayer and to heavenly contemplation.

CHAPTER III.

TRADITION OF ST. TIGERNACH HAVING BEEN LEGATE IN IRELAND, AND OF HIS HAVING RECEIVED THE BISHOPRIC OF CLOGHER FROM ST. MACCARTHINN—ECCLESIASTICAL REMAINS AT CLONES—ANGELIC VISITS TOWARDS THE CLOSE OF ST. TIGERNACH's LIFE—HIS DEPARTURE TO BLISS—HIS FESTIVALS, COMMEMORATIONS AND MEMORIALS— CONCLUSION.

According to the Registry of Clogher, our saint is said to have been Legate of Ireland, and to have received the benediction of St. Maccartin, who bequeathed the bishopric of Clogher to him. Moved by an inspiration from Heaven, however, Tighernach resigned his monastery, in this place, to the care of his friend, St. Comgall, while he went towards the east, and to a more fertile country. Here, he founded the monastery of Clones; but, we have little information, regarding his course of life, while he presided over the community, there established. 




At the present time, a very ancient round tower may be seen at Clones. It is broken on the top, however, and round the doorway. This latter is very low in position, and near the surface of the adjoining graveyard. The old people gave the Round Tower here the name of Cloichteach, or Belfry. Very ancient crosses and fragment of tombs are to be seen there. On the other side of the principal street, in Clones, there is a ruined monastery. Fine square and chiselled stones are on its outside. Old tombs lie scattered through the cemetery, which is surrounded by a wall. In the "Diamond", or public square, an old Irish cross stands.

Towards the close of life, a multitude of celestial Spirits came from heaven, to receive the soul of St. Tighernach, when it was about to leave his body; and, they returned to the place of his rest, singing canticles of ravishing harmony." According to Fitzsimon's Manuscript, our saint died, on the XI. of the Kalends of January (22nd of December) ; but, the Bollandists remark, that they found no feast recorded, in any of the Calendars, and referring to him, on that day. Two chapters of our Saint's life, as given by them, have been added, from the MS. of Ward's Hymns for Vespers and Matins, in which  Tigernach's virtues are particularly recorded. From the Annals of the Four Masters, we learn, on the year 548, that several saints fell victims to a pestilence, which proved fatal to many of the clergy and people of Ireland. Our saint, however, was not one of the many victims to this plague, although he  died within that year. The Annals of the Four Masters state, that Tighernach died, on the 4th of April, A.D. 548. But, Ussher, in his Chronological Index, assigns his death to the year 550; as, in like manner, we find it in the Chronicon Scotorum. The Rev. Jeffrey Keating merely states, that the pious Tighernach, Bishop of Cluain Eos, died during the reign of King Diarmiud, which he extends, from A.D. 528, to 550. Dr. Lanigan, also, places the death of this saint, at the year 549, following the authority of the Four Masters, with his usual mode of emendation. In a Catalogue of the Bishops of Clogher, according to a Registry of that See, transcribed by Ware, the death of St. Tigernach is said to have occurred, on the 5th of April, 555, or in 549, according to other accounts. He died, on the 2nd of March, according to some accounts. The Nones (5th of April), or as Usher remarks, the day previous, was that assigned for his feast. St. Aengus the Culdee has the Feast of St. Tighernach entered, in his Festilogy, at the 4th of April. We find, the entry, Tighearnach, Cluna Eoais, only, set down in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the same date. Several ancient foreign Martyrologies commemorate the festival of St. Tigernach of Clones. Thus, the Utrecht Martyrology of St. Jerome, Florarius, Maurolycus, Felicius, and Ferrarius; the Manuscript Martyrologies of Canons Regular at Albergense, of St. Caecilia, at Leyden, of St. Gudule, at Bruxelles, and of Florarius, as also Greven. The Martyrology, printed at Cologne, A.D. 1490, and also, that printed, at Lubeck, the same year, have notices of this saint. We find entered, in the Martyrology of Donegal, as having been venerated on this day, Tigernach, who was Bishop of Cluaineois, or Clones, in Fera-Manach. Between Fera Manach and Oirghialla, Cluain-eois lies. In Scotland, he was venerated, also, on this day, as we find  an entry, in the Kalendar of Drummond, and inThomas Dempster's "MenologiumScoticum." Under the head of Cluain-eois, Duald Mac Firbis enters Tighernach, son of Cairbre, the holy bishop of Cluain-eois, quievit 548, April 4th. Even yet, the people in and about Clones have a great veneration for St. Tierney, as the patron is locally called. Several curious memorials of him are remaining. Thus, the natives point out, on the Belturbet road, and close to the town, where stood a stone, which was denominated Cloch Tighernach, and which seems to have had some former connexion with the saint. 

No longer does the matin bell call the cloistered monk from his last slumbers in Clones. The old procession, the rites and ceremonies of former times, have not been witnessed there, for many a long day; since the sacrilegious spoiler and exterminator have left only ruins, to attest the holiness of this  spot. Round tower, moat, abbey church, and old graves, lend an air of solemnity and awe to the scene, which even in desolation must deeply impress the imagination and thought of a pensive tourist or an antiquary, when he turns thither, from the more crowded thoroughfares of our larger towns and cities. The religious mind is filled with like emotions, while the wreck around discloses ample proof of time's changes, and proclaims the mutability of a nation's fortunes.

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Saint Coman, April 3

At April 3 Canon O'Hanlon has a brief notice of Saint Coman, son of Domainghin:




St. Coman, son of Domainghin.

The Martyrology of Tallagh inserts an entry, at the 3rd of April, regarding St. Coman, who is called the son of Domangin. We may suppose him—from the name of their respective fathers—to have been a distinct person from the St. Comman, who gave name to Roscommon, where, at present, are to be seen the ruins of a beautiful Dominican Abbey, founded by Phelim Mac Cathal Crovdearg O'Conor, King of Connaught, A.D. 1257, and who was buried there, in the year 1265. On this day, likewise, we find recorded, in the Martyrology of Donegal, as having veneration paid to him, a St. Coman, the son of Domainghin. Similar to this record, in the Irish Calendar, which belonged to the Ordnance Survey Office, Phoenix Park, at the Third of April Nones, corresponding with the same day of this month, we meet only the entry of one saint. The Bollandists conjecture, that he may have been the same as Cuanna, Abbot of Maghbile.

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Saint Conall of Clonallan, April 2

April 2 is the feast day of a sixth-century County Down bishop, Conall of Clonallan. Not a great deal is known of him, but he was said to have succeeded the founder bishop of Coleraine around the year 570. Adamnan's Life of Saint Columba in Chapter 50 of the first book records a Bishop Conall of Coleraine having prepared a welcome for Saint Columba on one of his Irish visits, but it is not known if this was our saint.

St. Conall, Bishop of Clonallan, County or Down.
[Sixth Century.]

In the Martyrology of Tallagh, the name of Conall, son of Aedha, is found, entered at the 2nd of April. The Bollandists', while deferring an opinion on the subject, until the Acts of the Irish Saints should receive further illustration, remark, that the saint, venerated on this day at Cluain-dallain, is thought, by Colgan, to have been Connall, Abbot of Killchonail, in the territory, known as Maine, or Hy-Maine. The O'Clerys state, that the saint, venerated on the 2nd of April, belonged to the race of Irial, son to Conall Cearnach. At first, St Conall was president over Clonallan church, county of Down, at an early period. He afterwards succeeded St. Carbreus, as Bishop of Coleraine, about the year 570. His parish was evidently near Carlingford Lough, which becomes contracted at Caol, "narrow," in the same sense, as that used by the Scotch, in the word Kyles, now the Narrow Water. The name of this church is said, however, to have been derived from St Dalian, who flourished in the sixth century. The O'Clerys' Calendar states, that his place was near Snamh Each, i.e. the harbour near unto the Cael, in Ui Eathach, of Uladh. We read, in the Martyrology of Donegal, that veneration was paid, on this day, to Conall, son of Aedh, of Cluain, i.e. of Cluain Dallain, now Clonallan parish.

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Saint Tuan of Tamlacht, April 1

A County Down saint, Tuan of Tamlacht, is commemorated on April 1. In his account below, Canon O'Hanlon expresses his irritation at the medieval commentator Giraldus Cambrensis, who confounded this saint with a legendary figure called Ruanus and concluded that he was 1500 years old when he died! As Professor Padráig Ó Riain, in his new Dictionary of Irish Saints, wryly remarks ' Not inappropriately, Tuán's feast fell on 1 April'....

St. Tuan, of Tamlacht, County of Down.

The Bollandists record,"Tuanus filius Carilli," in their collection, at this date, andthey quote as authority, the Irish Calendar next mentioned. The Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 1st of April, inserts the name of Tuan, son of Cairill. This saint is said to have been called Ruanus, by Giraldus Cambrensis; yet, we do not find any warrant for such an assertion, although, indeed, that writer has an account of a Ruanus, who is reported to have survived a great pestilence, which devastated Ireland, A.M. 2820. The incrediblestatement is made, that he survived to the time of St. Patrick, who baptized him, and that he lived to be 1,500 years old, when he died. This is one of the many fables, with which Giraldus Cambrensis was pleased to overload his writings. According to the Martyrology of Donegal, Tuan, son of Coirell, of Tamlachta, in Boirche, had veneration paid him, at this date. The previous identification serves, for this particular locality.

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