Thursday, 22 January 2015

Saint Guaire Mór of Aghadowy, January 22

January 22 is the commemoration of a northern saint, Guaire Mór of Aghadowy, County Derry. Canon O'Hanlon has this to tell us:

St. Goar, Guarius, or Guaire Mór, of Aghadowy, County of Londonderry. [Probably in the Seventh or Eighth Century.]

In the days of early youth, most probably this holy man had fought his way into the sanctuary of God as a young priest, and had arrived at distinction in the Church. We read in the Martyrology of Donegal, as having been venerated on this day, Guaire Mór, of Achadh Dubhthaigh, now the parish of Aghadowy or Aghadoey, county of Londonderry, on the banks of the Lower Banna, or River Bann. He was the son of Colman, son to Fuactage, son to Ferguss, son to Leogaire, son to Fiachre, son to Colla Uais, who was Monarch of Ireland. He is styled abbot of the foregoing place, in the plain of Li. The Martyrology of Tallaght records him on the 22nd of January, under the simple designation of Guaire. It does not seem probable this saint was the original founder of the monastery at this place, nor does his epithet of Mór, "great," seem equivalent to "elder." He was first cousin, yet removed by a later generation, to the saint, bearing this same name, whose feast occurs on the 9th of this month; and our present Guaire Mór probably succeeded the other in order of time. Perhaps, indeed, notwithstanding such a probability, and his apparently junior age, this Guaire Mór may have founded Aghadowey Church singly, or in conjunction with his cousin; and the term applied to the present saint might indicate superiority, celebrity, or position. Perhaps simply a difference of stature may have caused the distinction in names between Guaire Mór and Guaire Beg.

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