April  (Aibrean)  15


1642 - Ormond defeats insurgents at Kilrush, Co. Kildare

1642 - A Scottish army under Robert Munroe lands at Carrickfergus

1707 - Birth of Sir Henry Cavendish, MP and incompetent Teller of the Exchequer who left chaos in his wake


1784 - First unmanned balloon in Ireland is launched by Richard Crosbie


1837 - Birth of Horace Porter, Brevet Brigadier General (Union Army), died in 1921 (his great grandfather was an Irish Presbyterian immigrant).

1840 - The Repeal Association is founded by Daniel O'Connell


1848 - On Abbey Street in Dublin, the tricolor national flag of Ireland is presented to the public for the first time by Thomas Francis Meagher and the Young Ireland Party
(see yesterday's links)


1864 - The first Dublin Horse Show is held


1882 - Mary Swanzy, painter, is born in Dublin


1908 - Birth in Greenock, Scotland of Dennis Devlin, poet, translator and diplomat


1912 - The Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage with the loss of 1,513 souls, many of them Irish; 732 survive

1912 - Molly Brown avoids sinking with the Titanic


1931 - Birth of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Northern Ireland public servant


1968 - Birth of rock guitarist Ed O'Brien, grandson of a Tipperary emigrant


1951 - John O'Keeffe, Kerry Gaelic footballer, is born

1974 - The 78th Boston Marathon is won by Neil Cusack of Co. Limerick in 2:13:39. He is the first Irishman to win this race


2000 - The generosity of two Londoners, Alice and Charles Armstrong, turns a dream into reality as a new state-of-the-art lifeboat is handed over to the RNLI. The craft is named Alice and Charles after its benefactors


2001 - Security on the border is tightened after a third case of foot-and-mouth is confirmed in Cushendall, Co Antrim


2001 - Hundreds of people greet the relics of St Therese of Lisieux at Rosslare for the start of a 75 day tour of the country


Feast Day:


St. Ruadan of Lorrha (Lothra), Abbot
(Ruadhan, Rodan, Rowan)

Born in Leinster, Ireland; died 584. Saint Ruadan, born of royal Munster stock, became a disciple of Saint Finian of Clonard (f.d.
December 12). Because he was the founding abbot of Lorrha-Lothra Monastery in Tipperary, where he directed 150 fervent monks who produced
the masterpiece Stowe Missal, Ruadan is considered one of the 12 apostles of Ireland. He divided his time between prayer and manual
labour sanctified by prayer.


One legend of Ruadan involves the Cursing of Tara, wherein the saintly abbot invoked a solemn curse against the High King of Tara for violating
the sanctuary of the monastery to capture the king of Connaught. It is said that the curse was so efficacious that Tara was ruined and
deserted. However, the Ardri continued to reside at Tara till his death (564). The legend as to Tara's halls having been deserted after 564 is
of comparatively late origin, and is contradicted by the fact that a Feis was held at Tara in 697.


St. Ruadhan's hand was preserved in a silver shrine at Lorrha until the great vandalism of the Reformation. The parish church of Lorrha is
built on to an ancient oratory, which may be that of Ruadan.


The little town of Lorrha near Lough Derg, is still set in the surrounds of ancient monastic ruins. The churches, whether in ruins or still in
use, are noted for their stone-carving, wood-carving and other crafts (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Healy, Husenbeth, Montague,


Another Life:


One of the early saints of Ireland, and the founder and first abbot of Lothra in County Tipperary, Ruadhan was educated by St. Finnian of
Clonard, and was reckoned as one of the most distinguished of his disciples. The Lives which have come down to us are late versions and
unfortunately are so full of fabulous additions that it is difficult to be sure of what is actually historical. S. Ruadhan is chiefly remembered
for his cursing of Tara, and the account describes how the place was blasted to the ground and wiped out from all the subsequent history of


There is no doubt that there was animosity and rivalry between Ruadhan and King Dermot, but the King had a healthy regard for the abbot. When
one of the nobles fled from the King, he took refuge first with his relative Senach, but Senach passed on this cousin of his, who was called
Odo, to Ruadhan, reckoning that he would give him greater protection. Ruadhan had a chamber or crypt beneath his oratory and concealed the
fugitive there, placing a chair over the hatch. Dermot, arriving at the cell, seated himself on the chair and demanded where Odo was hidden.
Ruadhan answered truthfully, "I cannot say, unless he is beneath your chair".


Tara was not only the seat of the High King but also the centre of the Druidic religion, and the cursing may well be a way of describing how
the Celtic civilisation was altered and revitalised by the Christian Church. The significance of the thirty sea-green horses paid to King
Dermot by St. Ruadhan as ransom for Odo is more difficult to explain. The story of the saint's dealing with lepers, of how he struck his staff
in the ground and a fountain gushed forth cleansing twelve lepers from their disease, is much easier to understand.


The old parish church at Lorrha is built on the site of St. Ruadhan's monastery, and the stumps of two High Crosses are to be found in the
church yard there. The Stowe Missal, with its fine shrine, now in the National Museum in Dublin used to be at this monastery, and S. Ruadhan's
Bell is in the British Museum in London (Bowen).


Some sources note the Feast Day as April 5th.


The Cursing of Tara