St. Caedmon
Caedmon (d. c. 680) is the first known poet of the vernacular in English. He is thought to have been a Celt, who was already old at the time he came to Whitby to tend the animals. Too shy to join in the communal singing after meals, he slipped out to work with the animals. One night, according to Bede, Cædmon fell asleep and had a vision in which he learned a hymn; when he awoke, he knew the song and could recite it perfectly. After his performance, Hilda urged him to become a monk. Cædmon remained illiterate but retained his ability to versify. He listened to the lessons the monks read and reworked them into English verse, which made the Scripture accessible to the laity. His verse form is said to have been the traditional, oral form of the Anglo-Saxons. His only surviving poem is the "Hymn of Creation," the poem he learned in his dream. 

St. Caellainn
d. 6th century Feastday: February 3

Irish saint also called Caoilfionn. She is listed in the Martymlogy of Donegal, and a church in Roscommon is named in her honor. 

St. Caidoc & Fricor
d. 7th century Feastday: April 1

Irish missionaries in northern France. One of their converts was St Ricarius. Their relics are in the parish of Saint-Riquier near Amiens, France. In some lists Fricor is called Adrian. 

St. Caimin of Lough Derg (of Inniskeltra), Abbot(Camin, Cammin)
d. 653 Feastday: March 24

An Irish hermit of Inniskeltra. He lived on an island in Loughberg, founding a monastery and a chapel on the island of the Seven Churches with St. Senan. A fragment of his psalter still remains. 

The Irish Saint Caimin was half-brother to King Guaire of Connaught and Cumian Fada (f.d. November 12), and himself a distinguished scholar. But he retired from the vanities of the world to live asa hermit on Inish-Keltra (Caltra) in Lough Derg near Galway. Although Saint Columba of Terryglass (f.d. December 12) had founded a monastery on the island a century earlier, Saint Caimin is the reason the people call it "Holy Island" after many disciples were drawn there because of his reputation for holiness. Later in life he founded a monastery and church, named Tempul-Cammin, on the island of the Seven Churches.

The monastery on Inish-Keltra thrived through 1010 (when its last recorded abbot died) despite its being in the direct path of the Danish invaders. The abbey was plundered c. 836 and again in 922. Brian Boru restored the church c. 1009. Now, however, only ruins recall the grandeur of Inish-Keltra's past: the 80-foot tall round tower, early grave markers, and ivy-covered church ruins.

Saint Caimin was a fellow-worker with Saint Senan (f.d. April 29). A fragment of the "Psalter of Saint Caimin," claimed by some to have been copied by his own hand, still exists in the Franciscan library at Killiney, County Dublin. He is also credited with authorship of the "Commentary on the Hebrew Text of the Psalms" (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Healy, Husenbeth, Montague, Muirhead, Neeson).

St. Cairlon (Caorlan) of Cashel, Bishop
Feastday: March 24

6th century. Saint Cairlon was an Irish abbot who died and was raised again to life by Saint Dageus (f.d. August 18). Afterwards, when Saint Cairlon had been made archbishop of Cashel, Saint Dageus placed himself and his monks under his rule (Benedictines).

Troparion of St Cairlon tone 4 O holy Cairlon, thou didst repose in the Lord/ and wast raised to life by Saint Daga./ Then living the risen life while yet on earth/ thou didst spend thy years in apostolic labours./ Pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

St. Canice (or Kenny), Bishop, Ossory diocese
Feast day: October 11

Commemorated on 11 October, born in 515 or 516, at Glengiven, in what is now County Derry, Ireland; died at Aghaboe in 600. He was descended from Ui-Dalainn, a Waterford tribe which dwelt on an island now identified as Inis-Doimhle in the Suir. The father of the saint was a distinguished bard who found his way to the North and settled at Glengiven in Cinachta under its chief. His mother was called Maul; her name is commemorated in the church of Thomplamaul, Kilkenny, dedicated to God under her invocation. The early years of Canice were spent in watching his chieftain's flocks, but, God calling him to higher aims, we find him in 543 at Clonard, under St. Finian, where he was a fellow-pupil of St. Columba. In 544 he was studying in the school of Glasnevin, with St. Kieran of Clonmacnoise and St. Comgall of Bangor, under the tuition of St. Mobhi. He was ordained priest in 545 in the monastery of Llancarvan in Glamorganshire, and set out for Rome to obtain the blessing of the reigning pontiff. In 550 we find him again at Glengiven, where he converted his foster-brother, Geal-Breagach, who afterwards assisted him in founding Drumachose. In 565 he passed over to Scotland, where his name is recalled in the ruins of an ancient church, Kil-Chainnech on Tiree Island, and in a burial ground, Kil-Chainnech, in Iona. He built cells on the island of Ibdon and Eninis, an oratory called Lagan-Kenny on the shores of Lough Lagan, and a monastery in Fifeshire on the banks of the Eden. He is known in Scotland as St. Kenneth, was closely associated with St. Columba in the latter's missionary work, and, next to him and St. Bridget, is the favourite Irish saint in Scotland (Eammack). See Reeve's "Adamnàn" (Dublin, 1857, xxvi, xxxi); also the ancient lives in the "Codex Solmanticensis" edited by De Smedt and Backer (see below), and the "Liber Kilkenniensis" in Marsh's Library, Dublin. His Irish foundations were Drumachose, two miles southeast of Limavady, Kilkenny West, in County Westmeath, and the great Abbey of Aghaboe in Ossory, Queens County. Tradition asserts that he founded a monastery in Kilkenny by the round tower and cathedral which bears his name. A man of great eloquence and learning, he wrote a commentary on the Gospels, known for centuries as Glas-Chainnigh.

St. Cannera
d.c. 530 Feastday: January 28

An Irish hermitess, a friend of St. Senan. She is also called Cainder or Kinnera. She lived as a recluse near Bantry, Ireland, and was buried on St. Senan's Island, Enniscarthy.

St. Carthach
d.c. 540 Feastday: March 5

An Irish bishop, called “the Elder” and Carthage. He was the successor of St. Kieman in Ossory. He was the son or grandson of a local king.

St. Carthach the Younger (Lismore Diocese)
d.c. 637 Feastday: May 14

 St. Carthage, whose name is also given as Mochuda, was born of a good family, in what is now County Kerry , Ireland, about the year 555. He spent his youth as a swineherd near Castlemaine, and became a monk in a neighbouring monastery under the guidance of St. Carthage the Elder, subsequently receiving priest's orders. In 580 he determined to lead a hermit's life, and he built a cell at Kiltallagh, where his fame soon attracted pilgrims. After a few years the jealousy of two neighbouring bishops forced him to quit his hermitage, and he proceeded on a visit to Bangor, where he spent a year. On the advice of St. Comgall he returned to Kerry and founded churches at Kilcarragh and Kilfeighney. He then visited Waterford, Clonfert-molua (Kyle), and Lynally, whence, on the recommendation of St. Colman Elo, he settled at Rahan, near Tullamore, in the present King's County.

St. Carthage founded his monastery of Rahan about 590, and soon had hundred of disciples. He was consecrated Abbot-Bishop of the Fercal district, and composed a rule for his monks, an Irish metrical poem of 580 lines, divided into nine separate sections -- one of the most interesting literary rellics of the early Irish Church. Numerous miracles are also recorded to him. At length, Blathmaic, a Meathian prince, instigated by the neighbouring monks, ordered St. Carthage to leave Rahan. This expulsion of the saint and eight hundred of his community took place at Eastertide of the year 635. Journeying by Saigher, Roscrea, Cashel, and Ardfinnan, St. Carthage at length came to the banks of the River Blackwater, where he was given a foundation by the Prince of the Decies, and thus sprang up the episcopal city of Lios-mor, or Lismore, County Waterford.

Great as was the fame of Rahan, it was completely eclipsed by that of Lisemore, although St. Carthage lived less than two years at his new foundation. He spent the last eighteen months of his life in contemplation and prayer, in a cave near the present St. Carthage's Well. When at the point of death, he summoned his monks and gave them his farewell exhortation and blessing. Fortified by the Body of Christ he died on the 14th of May, 637, on which day his feast is celebrated as first Bishop and Patron of Lismore. Short as was St. Carthage's stay in Lismore, he left an ineffaceable impress of his labours in a famous abbey, cathedral, and infant university, but more so in the shining example of an austere and blameless life. Purity was his transcendent virtue, and to guard it he practised the severest penances. On this account St. Cuimin of Connor thus writes of him in an Irish quatrain:

The beloved Mochuda of mortification,
Admirable every page of his history.
Before his time there was no one who shed
Half so many tears as he shed.

Usher had two manuscript copies of the Irish life of St. Carthage; and in 1634 Philip O'Sullivan Beare sent a Latin translation to Father John Bollandus, S.J. The "Vita Secunda" is the one usually quoted. In 1891 the present writer discovered the site of the Relig Mochuda in which St. Carthage was buried.

St. Cataldus
d. 7th century Feastday: May 10

Born in Munster, Ireland, 7th century. Saint Cataldus was a pupil, then the headmaster of the monastic school of Lismore in Waterford after the death of its founder, Saint Carthage. Upon his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he was shipwrecked at Taranto in southern Italy and chosen by the people as their bishop. He is the titular of Taranto's cathedral and the principal patron of the diocese. This epitaph is given under an image of Saint Catald in Rome:

Me tulit Hiberne, Solyme traxere,
Tarentum Nunc tenet: huic ritus,
dogmata, jura dedi.

This has been loosely translated as: Hibernia gave me birth: thence wafted over, I sought the sacred Solymean shore. To thee Tarentum, holy rites I gave, Precepts divine; and thou to me a grave.

It is odd that an Irishman, should be so honoured throughout Italy, Malta, and France, but have almost no recognition in his homeland. His Irish origins were discovered only two or three centuries after his death, when his relics were recovered during the renovation of the cathedral of Taranto. A small golden cross, of 7th- or 8th- century Irish workmanship, was with the relics. Further investigations identified him with Cathal, the teacher of Lismore.

Veneration to Catald spread, especially in southern Italy, after the May 10, 1017, translation of his relics when the cathedral was being rebuilt following its destruction at the hands of Saracens in 927. Four remarkable cures occurred as the relics were moved to the new cathedral. When his coffin was open at that time, a pastoral staff of Irish workmanship was found with the inscription Cathaldus Rachau. There is a town of San Cataldo in Sicily and another on the southeast coast of Italy (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague, Neeson, Tommasini).

Saint Catald is depicted in art as an early Christian bishop with a mitre and pallium in a 12th century mosaic at Palermo (Roeder). He is the subject of a painting on the 8th pillar of the nave on the left in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem (D'Arcy, Montague). There are also 12th-century mosaics in Palermo and Monreale depicting the saint (Farmer). Catald is invoked against plagues, drought, and storms (Farmer).

St. Ceallach (Kellach) of Killala, Bishop
Feastday: May 1

6th century. A disciple of Saint Kieran of Clonmacnoise, Saint Ceallach became bishop of Killala but ended his life as a hermit, perhaps as a martyr (Benedictines).

St. Cearan
d. 870 Feastday: June 14

Irish abbot called “the Devout,” also known as Ciaran. He was abbot of Bellach-Duin now Castle Kerrant, County Meath.

St. Cellach (Ceilach, Keilach, Kelly) of Armagh Bishop
Feastday: April 1

9th century. It seems that Saint Cellach may have been the abbot of Iona. He also seems to have founded of the abbey of Kells before his consecration as archbishop of Armagh, Ireland (Benedictines).

St. Celsus
Feastday: April 7 

Celsus of Armagh was a layman named Ceallach mac Aedha. He succeeded to the bishopric of Armagh (it was a hereditary See) in 1105 when he was twenty-six, was consecrated bishop, put into effect many reforms in his diocese, and ruled well and effectively. He mediated between warring Irish factions, was a friend of St. Malachy, and ended the hereditary succession to his See by naming Malachy as his successor on his deathbed. He died on April at Ardpatrick, Munster. His feast day is April 7th.  

St. Cera
d. 7th century Feastday: January 5

An Irish abbess, also called Ciar, Cior, Cyra, or Ceara. She was born in Tipperary and served as abbess of a monastery at Kilkeary and another one at Tehelly.

St. Chad
d. 673 Feastday: March 2

 Irish archbishop and brother of St. Cedd, also called Ceadda. He was trained by St. Aidan in Lindisfarne and in England. He also spent time with St. Egbert in Ireland. Made the archbishop of York by King Oswy, Chad was disciplined by Theodore, the newly arrived archbishop of Canterbury, in 669. Chad accepted Theodore’s charges of impropriety with such humility and grace that Theodore regularized his consecration and ap­pointed him the bishop of Mercia. He established a see at Lichfield. His relics are en­shrined in Birmingham. In litur­gical art he is depicted as a bishop, holding a church.

St. Charles Inglis, bishop. 18th century.
Feastday: August 16

Charles Inglis was the son of a rector of Glencolumbkille in County Donegal (diocese of Raphoe). After ordination, he served in New York at the down-town Trinity Church, and later had the distinction of being consecrated at Lambeth Palace as the first bishop of Nova Scotia and first bishop in the British Empire overseas (1787). He is remembered regularly in the Church at Glencolumbkille each August.

St. Chillien
d. 7th centuryFeastday: November 13

An Irish missionary, a relative of St. Fiacre. Chillien worked in Artois, France, to spread the faith. He is buried in Aubigny.

Bl. Christian O'Conarchy 
Feastday: March 18

Beyond the fact that he was Abbot of the first Cistercian monastery ever established in Ireland, practically nothing at all can be stated with certainty about Blessed Christian, otherwise called Christian O'Conarchy or Giolla Criost Ua Condoirche. The various traditions and legends are confused and conflicting. According to some accounts, he was born at Bangor in Ulster, and Colgan says that he was the disciple and afterwards the archdeacon of St. Malachy of Armagh, and that he probably accompanied the prelate on a visit to Rome, staying at Clairvaux on his way there. He would appear to have been one of the four disciples who remained behind at Clairvaux on the homeward journey and who received the habit from St. Bernard himself. Upon his return to Ireland, St. Malachy was anxious to introduce the Cistercian Order into his country, and at his prompting Donouth O'Carroll set about building Mellifont. Malachy applied to the founder for a superior and some monks to start the new foundation, and St. Bernard sent Christian and several French brothers in 1142. Abbot Christian is said by some writers to have become bishop of Lismore and papal legate for Ireland. An ancient anonymous Irish analyst notes the year 1186 as the date of the death of Christian, the illustrious prelate of Lismore, "formally legate of Ireland, emulator of the virtues which he saw and heard from his holy father St. Bernard and from the supreme pontiff, the venerable man Eugenius, with whom he was in the novitiate at Clairvaux". His feast day is March 18th.

St. Chuniald & Gislar
d. 7th century Feastday: September 24

Irish or Scottish missionaries to southern Germany and Austria. They labored as disciples of St. Rupert of Salzburg.

St. Cianan (Kenan)
Bishop of Duleek in Ireland 
November 24 
A.D. 489 
According to his acts quoted by Usher, he was a pupil of the religious man, Nathan; and, when a youth, was one of the fifty hostages whom the princes of Ireland gave to king Leogair, by whom he was set free at the intercession of bishop Kiaran. He then went into France, and passed some time with great fervor at Tours in the monastery of St. Martin. 
Returning to his native country, he converted great numbers to Christianity in Connaught. Thence he proceeded to Leinster, and founded a church in a place called to this day The wood of Cianan. At length he went into the territory of Owen, (that is, Tir-oen,) so called from king Owen, whose niece, Ethne, was St. Cianan's mother. There he broke down an 
idol with an altar that was dedicated to it, and on the place built a Christian church. In the office of St. Cianan extant in MS. in the library at Cambridge, it is said that the saint built here a church of stone, on that account called Damliag, corrupted into Duleek. St. Cianan was descended from the royal blood of the kings of Munster. He died on the 24th of  November, in 489. Duleek having suffered greatly by several fires and devastations of the Danes, its episcopal see was united to Meath. See Usher, Antiq. 1. 29, and Primord. p. 1070; Ind. Chron. ad ann. 450; Ware's bishops, p. 137, and on St. Ultas, 4 Sept. p. 39. 

Ciaran of Clonmacnois. circa 545
September 9

Clonmacnoise on the east bank of the river Shannon, where the ancient chariot-road through the centre of Ireland crossed the river, was an outstanding centre of prayer and study and monastic life. Many missionaries went out from here to the European Continent, including Virgilius (Fergal), Archbishop of Salzburg, and Alcuin's teacher, Colgu. Among the books written here were the Annals of Clonmacnoise, the Book of the Dun Cow, and the Annals of Tigernach (Tierney). Ciaran from Connaught was the founder. The stones, the cross of the Scriptures and the stone churches encircling "the great stone church", a thousand years old, make an impressive sight.

St. Ciaran of Saigher, Bishop and Confessor of Ossory, Ireland Feastday March 5

5th century. St. Ciaran or Kieran, the Elder is believed to have been a contemporary of St. Patrick if not a precursor of this great saint. He was born at Cape Clear, where there is a church reputedly built by him, but he went to the Continent for his education and was ordained and consecrated bishop there before returning to Ireland. He settled as a hermit at Saighir near to the Slieve Bloom Mountains but soon disciples were attracted to him and a large monastery grew up round his cell, which became the chosen burial place for the Kings of Ossory. His mother Liaden is said to have gone to Saighir with a group of women who devoted their lives to the service of God and the members of her son's community.

There are many stories of miracles wrought by God through Ciaran, including several restorations to life of those who had died, and there are charming tales of his relations with the animal kingdom. One of these related how the most blessed bishop and first begotten of the Saints of Ireland "as a youth saw a hawk swooping down and snatching a fledgling from its nest. Ciaran, moved with pity for the little creature, prayed for its deliverance and the hawk flew down and laid it at his feet, torn and bleeding, but at once it was wonderfully restored to health and strength. There are considerable remains at Saighir among them the carved base of a high cross and St. Ciaran is regarded as the Patron of Munster with the fifth of March as his feast day. and:

This St. Kieran is commemorated in all dioceses of Ireland, for he is reputed to have been the "firstborn" of Irish saints.

Kieran's biography is full of obscurities. It is commonly said, however, that he left Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick. Already a Christian, and of royal Ulster blood, he had determined to study for the Church; hence, he secured an education at Tours and Rome. On his return from France, he built himself a little cell in the woods of Upper Ossory.

There he spent the next few years as a hermit. Inevitably, however, other devout men joined him to form a monastery called "Saigher" (that is, "Sier-Ciaran," - "Kieran's Seat"). Later, he built nearby a monastery for women, the care of which he entrusted to his mother Liadan. Thus Kieran, rather than Brigid, seems to have been the pioneer founder of Irish women's convents. Around these foundations arose a village called Saigher, after the monastery.

When St. Patrick arrived in Ireland to carry the Faith throughout Erin, Abbot Kieran gave him his glad assistance. Some writers say that Kieran was then already a bishop, having been ordained while on the continent. It seems more likely, however, that he was one of the twelve men that Patrick, on his arrival, consecrated as helpers. It was customary in the early days for abbots to be ordained as bishops but to remain heads of their monasteries. The Diocese of Ossory considers Abbot Kieran as its first bishop. (He may also be the St. "Piran" venerated in Cornwall, Wales and Brittany.)

Many legends inevitably arose, too charming to leave untold, about this ancient hermit and bishop.

One story involves the Christmas communion of St. Cuach, Abbess of a monastery far away from Saigher. She had been Kieran's nurse when he was a child, and as a priest he always celebrated Mass for her community on Christmas night, after having presided at the midnight Mass of his own abbey. But nobody could figure out how he got to the convent of Ross-Bennchuir, so many miles distant, and returned that same night. The chronicler of the story suggests that it was by a miracle like that in which God once lifted up the prophet Habakkuk by the hair of his head and sped him from Palestine to Chaldea.

A second tale was that of Chrichidh, the boy from Clonmacnois whom St. Kieran had admitted to his monastery as a servant. One Easter the young servant mischievously extinguished the Easter Fire. (This was lighted at the monastery annually on Holy Saturday, and then kept burning all year as the only source of warmth or light in the monastic household.) Kieran predicted that for this thoughtless act, the lad would meet an untimely death. The very next day, as Chrichidh sauntered through the woods, he was killed and eaten by a wolf.

Soon afterward, St. Kieran the Younger (of Clonmacnois) arrived at Saigher, and was invited to dine by its monks. But he said he would not eat with them until his young friend Chrichidh from Clonmacnois had been restored to life. Out of hospitality in their chilly abbey, the older Kieran prayed for a little heat, and a ball of fire landed in his lap, which sufficed to warm up monks and visitor. Bishop Kieran then told his namesake that he should not hesitate to sit at table with them, for the boy was about to enter. Thereupon Chrichidh, raised from the dead, came in, sat down, and began to eat with his usual gusto.

The last story also concerns a miraculous resuscitation. King Aengus of Munster had seven minstrels whose songs about dead heroes pleased him. These minstrels, wandering through the land, were one day murdered by the king's enemies. They threw the bodies into the waters of a bog and hung their harps on a tree. Aengus mourned the loss. But St. Kieran informed him that the identity of the murderers and the place of the killing had been revealed to him. The king accompanied the saint to the spot. After Kieran had fasted a day on bread and water, the bog went dry, and he and Aengus saw the seven bodies of the songsters lying in the mud. Kieran then prayed that they might come back to life. Although a month dead, all seven promptly arose, their lives fully restored. Taking their harps, they thanked their benefactors with a recital of their sweetest songs. The chronicler concluded, "That bog has remained dry ever since." Whatever the truth of this legend, one central fact remains certain: that God will heed the prayers of a worthy person. "Ask," said our Lord, "and you shall receive." --Father Robert F. McNamara

Troparion of St Kieran Tone 4 Leaving the darkness of paganism,/ thou wast drawn by the radiance of our pure and saving Faith, O Father Kieran,/ and shunning the costly raiment of the episcopate,/ thou didst spend thy life in severest asceticism,/ thereby seeking the salvation of men's souls.

Kontakion of St Kieran Tone 8 Bread was thy meat and water thy wine, O blessed ascetic and great Father Kieran./ Rejecting clothing and comfort, thou didst enfold thyself in prayer, becoming a model of piety./ Wherefore we pray that, being stripped of all worldly affection,/ our lives may be transformed into a visible prayer to our Triune God.

St. Cillene
d.c. 752 Feastday: July 3

An abbot of lona, Scotland. He was Irish and became abbot around 726.

St. Cinnia of Ulster Virgin
Feastday: February 1

5th century. Saint Patrick (f.d. March 17) brought about the conversion of this princess of Ulster and later gave her the veil (Benedictines).

St. Cogitosus of Kildare
Feastday: April 18

8th century. Saint Cogitosus may have been a monk at Kildare, Ireland. Traditionally, he is named as the author of the life of Saint Brigid (f.d. February 1), which provides the legends and miracles of Bride. The work details the monastic life at Kildare and description of the church during his life, including the separate accommodation made in the church for monks and nuns.

Cogitosus expounded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versified it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarship in the mid-eighth century.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et inaltum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabulatis". The rood-screen was formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully decorated curtains. The original manuscript is in the Dominican convent at Eichstadt in Bavaria (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Kenney, Montague, O'Hanlon, Stokes, Tommasini).

And, from

An Irishman, an author, and a monk of Kildare; the date and place of his birth and of his death are unknown, it is uncertain even in what century he lived. In the one work which he wrote, his life of St. Brigid, he asks a prayer "pro me nepote culpabili," from which both Ware and Ussher conclude that he was a nephew of St. Brigid, and, accordingly, he is put down by them among the writers of the sixth century. But the word nepos may also be applied to one who, like the prodigal, had lived riotously, and it may be, that Cogitosus, recalling some former lapses from virtue, so uses the word of himself. At all events, his editor, Vossius, is quite satisfied that Cogitosus was no nephew of St. Brigid, because in two genealogical menologies which Vossius had, in which were enumerated the names of fourteen holy men of that saint's family the name of Cogitosus is not to be found.

Nor did Cogitosus live in the sixth century because he speaks of a long succession of bishops and abbesses at Kildare, showing that he writes of a period long after the time of St. Brigid, who died in 525, and of St. Conleth, who died a few years earlier. Besides this, the description of the church of Kildare belongs to a much later time; and the author calls St. Conleth an archbishop, a term not usual in the Western church until the opening of the ninth century. On the other hand, he describes Kildare before it was plundered by the Danes, in 835, and before St. Brigades remains were removed to Down.

The probability therefore is that he lived and wrote the life of St. Brigid about the beginning of the ninth century. His work is a panegyric rather than a biography. He gives so few details of the saint's life that he omits the date and place of her birth and the date of her death; nor does he make mention of any of her contemporaries if we except St. Conleth, the first Bishop of Kildare, an Macaille from whom she received the veil. He gives the names of her parents, but is careful to conceal the fact that she was illegitimate, and that her mother was a slave. On the other hand, he dwells with evident satisfaction on her piety, her humility, her charity, her zeal for religion, the esteem in which she was held by all. And he narrates at length the many miracles she wrought, and tells of the numbers who came as pilgrims to Kildare, attracted by her fame. In his anxiety to exalt her he says she had as abbess authority over all the abbesses of Ireland, although as a matter of fact she could govern only those who followed her rule; and his statement that she appointed the Bishop of Kildare could not, of course, mean that she conferred any jurisdiction.

Cogitosus writes in fairly good Latin, much better indeed than might be expected in that age, and his description of the church of Kildare with its interior decorations is specially interesting for the history of early Irish art and architecture. [E.A. D'Alton]

Lisa Bitel's Commentary on the Life of Brigid in which she makes extensive use of Cogitosus' "Life of Brigid." Presented at Fordham University, February, 2001

St. Colgan (Colchu, Colgu) of Clonmacnoise, Abbot
Feastday: February 20

Died c. 796. Colgan, surnamed 'the Wise' and 'the Chief Scribe of the Scots,' was abbot of Clonmacnoise in Offaly. He was a friend and teacher of the Blessed Alcuin (f.d. May 19). Colgan is noted for the influence he exerted on the imperial schools in France, through his students (Benedictines, Montague).

St. Colman of Cloyne

Feast Day: 24 NOVEMBER

He was born in Munster, Ireland, son of Lenin. He became a poet and later, royal bard at Cashel. He was baptized by St. Brendan when he was fifty years old with the name Colman. He was ordained, and was reputed to be St. Columba's teacher. He became the first bishop of Cloyne, of which he is patron, in eastern Cork.

At the Synod of Whitby, in 664 AD a decision was made on the supremacy of Rome as opposed to the Celtic monastic traditions and the method of calculating the date of Easter were taken in favour of the English/Roman church. Colman, who had pleaded the Celtic cause, resigned as Bishop of Lindisfarne, and he and thirty Saxon monks and the large body of Irish monks living on Lindisfarne retreated to Iona. 

They spent two years on the island of Iona in prayer and contemplation following which they set sail for Ireland. They founded a monastery on the island of Inishbofin, off the coast of County Galway. Disputes arose between the Saxon and Irish monks after a short time. Colman brought his Saxon followers onto the mainland and founded a monastery for them at "Magh Eó" - the Plain of Yew Trees. They were joined there by Gerald and a large community of monks who were living at nearby Rosslee. Gerald was the son of a Saxon prince and a follower of Colman. He, his three brothers and a large group of Picts had left Northumbria following the Synod at Whitby and eventually came to Rosslee, which is in the west of the modern parish of Mayo Abbey, where they founded a monastery. The community was ravaged by plague and many died. They moved to Magh Eó and Gerald was appointed as first abbot of the newly founded monastery. Colman returned to Inishbofin where he died some years later. 

St. Colman (Columbanus) McO'Laoighse, Abbot
Feastday: May 15th

6th century. A disciple of Saint Columba (f.d. June 9) and Saint Fintan of Clonenagh (f.d. February 17), Saint Colman founded and governed the monastery of Oughaval, of which only a few stones remain (Benedictines).

Saint Colman was a disciple of St. Columba, Abbot of Iona and Sr. Fintan, Abbot of Clonenangh. In the Martyrology of Tallagh he is included as Colman Mac h Laighsi on 15 May. He was of the family (clan) of Laoighsigh Ceannmoir, son of Conall Cearnach, a celebrated Ultonian hero who lived in the first century. His father was Lugna and his grandfather was Eugene. Their tribe-name was Mac Ua Loighse.

The first mention of St. Colman, a pious youth and native of the Portlaoise area in the Province of Leinster, is in the Life of St. Fintan of Clonenagh. He desired to dedicate his whole life to the service of Christ in prayer and ascetic labour. To this end he made a pilgrimage to Iona to seek spiritual counsel from the renowned abbot of that holy island, St. Columba. He remained at Iona for several years as a novice learning the disciplines of the monastic life.

Later Colman felt the call to return to Ireland and he asked St. Columba how it would be possible to live there without being able to confess his sins to his abbot. St. Colman said, “Go to that pious man whom I see standing among the Angels and before the tribunal of Christ, on each Sunday night”. Colman asked, “Who and what sort of man is he?” and the holy Abbot answered, “There is a certain saintly and handsome man, in your part of the country, whose complexion is florid, whose eyes are brightly sparkling, and whose white locks of hair are thinly scattered on his head.” To this Colman replied, “I know of no man answering this description, in my country, except Abbot Fintan.” Then St. Columba confirmed, “He it is, my son, whom I see before the tribunal of Christ, as I have already told you. Go to him, for he is a true shepherd of Christ’s flock and he shall bring many souls with him to the kingdom of Christ.”

Colman received the blessing of St. Columba and set out on the journey to his native land. Comimg to St. Fintan, Colman told him all that the holy Abbot of Iona had said. On hearing these things the elderly abbot blushed deeply so it seemed as though his face was on fire. He cautioned Colman not to report these things to anyone, at least, during his own lifetime.

Colman selected Oughaval, a town land within the present-day Parish of Stradbally in county Laois, as the site of his monastic settlement. The exact date of the founding of the monastery is unknown but it was shortly before the repose of Saint Fintan in about the year 595. The place can still be identified and the burial ground is still be use. However it is impossible recognise the actual church or monastic building since the stone was reused at the beginning of the 18th century to build a mausoleum. It was a mediaeval church until 18th century. The Mick walls and Tower at West End are very, very old.

Colman is very popular name in Ireland. The Martyrology of Donegal lists 96 saints of this name and the Book of Leinster records no less than 209. In addition there seems to be some confusion in ancient texts between Colman (Colmanus in Latin) and Columbanus. Not long before his own death, St. Columba of Iona foresaw the death of a certain holy man named Columbanus, a bishop in the Province of Leinster and some hagiographers have identied this saint with St. Colman of Oughaval. However there seems to be no serious historical foundation for this assumption, and indeed we have no evidence that our patron was a bishop. As is well known, Celtic lands in general and Ireland in particular, during this period had few large settlements that could be described as cities or towns. Thus church administration was based more on the local monastery than on a diocesan structure. The abbot of a large monastery therefore had greater influence than most bishops whose basic function was to ordain.

The fate of St. Colman’s monastic foundation is something of a mystery. It had ceased to function long before the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. The history of the monastery subsequent to the repose of St. Colman is the subject of current research. Saint Colman of Oughaval pray for us

St. Colman of Dromore
Feast day June 7 

Colman was the first bishop of Dromore, Co. Down, and founded a monastery there. 

It is said that there are as many as 200 Colmans in the list of Irish saints. Colman of Dromore is to be distinguished from Colman of Cloyne (remembered on November 24). Dromore's Colman is included in the ancient calendars of both Scotland and Wales. Famed as a teacher of St Finnian of Moville, Colman continued the pastoral and teaching traditions of St Patrick. Dromore cathedral dedicated to Christ the Redeemer has drawn inspiration through the centuries from Colman's zeal for faith and truth.

St. Colman, Cloyne diocese. 601.
Feastday:November 24

The Colman who built the first church at Cloyne in Co. Cork was ordained late in life at the age of 50. He was influenced by Brendan the Navigator as he searched for his vocation. Brendan called him a column or a pillar (columna) of the church and also a dove (columba).

St. Colman of Kilmacduagh
Feast day: October 29

Made a bishop against he will, Colman founded a monastery at Kilmacduagh. 

St. Colman of Kilroot, Bishop

Feastday: October 17


6th century. Bishop Colman of Kilroot, near Carrickfergus, was a disciple of Saint Ailbe of Emly (f.d. September 12). He retained his

abbacy while also in the episcopal chair (Benedictines).

Troparion of St Colman of Kilroot tone 1

Thou hast shown thyself to be a teacher of the Faith,/ guide of monastics and bright star of the Church, O Hierarch Colman./ Wherefore

we cry to thee to intercede with Christ our God/ that He will save our souls.

St. Columba 521-597 Life of St. Columba

There are several accounts of Columba's life, all attesting to the miraculous signs which preceded his birth at Gartan, Co. Donegal, in 521. An angel assured his mother that she would bear a son of great beauty who would be remembered among the Lord's prophets. Saint Buite, the dying abbot of Monasterboice in Co. Louth, is said to have foretold the birth of "a child illustrious before God and men". Columba was of royal blood. His father Phelim was of the Uí Néill clan and descended from the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages, while his mother Eithne was descended from a king of Leinster. 

He studied at Moville under St. Finnian then in Leinster at the monastery of Clonard under another St. Finnian. He was gentle to the weak and hospitable to the stranger, noble heritage to become a wanderer for Christ, but continually involved himself in the politics of Scotland and Ireland. 

He was ordaine before he was twenty-five and spent the next fifteen years preaching and setting up foundations at Derry, Durrow, and Kells. 

Possibly because of a family feud which resulted in the death of 3000 and for which he considered himself partly responsible he left Ireland at 42 and landed on the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland. There he built the monastery which was to become world famous. With Saints Canice and Comgall he spread the gospel to the Picts; he also developed a monastic rule which many followed until the introduction of St. Benedicts. He died on
Iona and is also known as Colm, Colum and Columcille. 

St. Columbanus, abbot. Down diocese. 615
Feastday: November 23

From Leinster, Columbanus went to Bangor where he spent many years in monastic life there with St Comgall. Then, about the year 590, he set out with 12 companions for France (Gaul). He is counted as the most important of the Irish Missionaries who went out "into voluntary exile" to evangelise the European continent. Travelling through France, Germany and Switzerland, he finally settled at Bobbio in north Italy. His rule was a strict one and was largely superseded by the rule of St Benedict later in. Bobbio's monastery, which he founded is famous for its library and insular (Irish style) biblical manuscripts.

St. Columbanus of Ghent, Hermit
Feastday: February 2

Died February 15, 959. Saint Columbanus was probably an Irish abbot who led his community to Belgium following the constant raids of the Norsemen. On February 2, 957, Columbanus became a hermit in the cemetery near the church of Saint-Bavo at Ghent, where he acquired a wide reputation for holiness. He is buried in the cathedral and is one of the patrons of Belgium (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick2, Montague).

St. Comgall of Bangor

Comgall was born in the Irish kingdom of Dalriada, and studied under Saint Fintan of Clonenagh, Co. Laois. While there, he is said to have restored a blind man's sight by pressing saliva to his eyes. In later life, he is said to have spat into a beggar's pocket, where a gold ring immediately appeared. Comgall returned to the northern province of Ulster, living first on an island in Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh, where the regime was so austere that seven companions died of cold and hunger. He then moved to Bangor, Co. Down, founding a monastery which attracted thousands of monks . Among them were Saints Columbanus, Gall and Moluag. Curiously, despite the fact that Comgall allowed himself only one meal a day, many of his miracles concerned food. In one instance thieves became blind after stealing the monastery's vegetables, and when an ungenerous farmer refused to let the monks have grain, it was devoured by mice. The saint died following illnesses which some said were a punishment for the severity of Bangor's discipline. 

Another life:

In the Martyrology of Tallaght, St Colman is commemorated on February 3, but in other Calendars and in Ireland today he is remembered on October 29.

Born at Corker, Kiltartan, Galway, Ireland, c. 550; died 632. Son of the Irish chieftain Duac, Colman was educated at Saint Enda's (f.d. March 21) monastery in Aran. Thereafter he was a recluse, living in prayer and prolonged fastings, at Arranmore and then at Burren in County Clare. With King Guaire of Connaught he founded the monastery of Kilmacduagh, i.e., the church of the son of Duac, and governed it as abbot-bishop. The "leaning tower of Kilmacduagh," 112 feet high, is almost twice as old as the famous town in Pisa. The Irish round tower was restored in 1880.

There is a legend that angels brought King Guaire to him by causing his festive Easter dinner to disappear from his table. The king and his court followed the angels to the place where Colman had kept the Lenten fast and now was without food. The path of this legendary journey is called the "road of the dishes."

As with many relics, Saint Colman's abbatial crozier has been used through the centuries for the swearing of oaths. Although it was in the custodianship of the O'Heynes of Kiltartan (descendants of King Guaire) and their relatives, the O'Shaughnessys, it can now be seen in theNational Museum in Dublin (Attwater, Benedictines, Carty, D'Arcy, Farmer, MacLysaght, Montague, Stokes).

Other tales are recounted about Saint Colman, who loved birds and animals. He had a pet rooster who served as an alarm clock. The rooster would begin his song at the breaking of dawn and continue until Colman would come out and speak to it. Colman would then call the other monks to prayer by ringing the bells.

But the monks wanted to pray the night hours, too, and couldn't count on the rooster to awaken them at midnight and 3:00 a.m. So Colman made a pet out of a mouse that often kept him company in the night by giving it crumbs to eat. Eventually the mouse was tamed and Colman asked its help:

"So you are awake all night, are you? It isn't your time for sleep, is it? My friend, the cock, gives me great help, waking me every morning. Couldn't you do the same for me at night, while the cock is asleep? If you do not find me stirring at the usual time, couldn't you call me? Will you do that?"

It was a long time before Colman tested the understanding of the mouse. After a long day of preaching and travelling on foot, Colman slept very soundly. When he did not awake at the usual hour in the middle of the night for Lauds, the mouse pattered over to the bed, climbed on the pillow, and rubbed his tiny head against Colman's ear. Not enough to awaken the exhausted monk. So the mouse tried again, but Colman shook him off impatiently. Making one last effort, the mouse nibbled on the saint's ear and Colman immediately arose--laughing. The mouse, looking very serious and important, just sat there on the pillow staring at the monk, while Colman continued to laugh in disbelief that the mouse had indeed understood its job.

When he regained his composure, Colman praised the clever mouse for his faithfulness and fed him extra treats. Then he entered God's presence in prayer. Thereafter, Colman always waited for the mouse to rub his ear before arising, whether he was awake or not. The mouse never failed in his mission.

The monk had another strange pet: a fly. Each day Colman would spend some time reading a large, awkward parchment manuscript prayer book. Each day the fly would perch on the margin of the sheet. Eventually Colman began to talk to the fly, thanked him for his company, and asked for his help:

"Do you think you could do something useful for me? You see yourself that everyone who lives in the monastery is useful. Well, if I am called away, as I often am, while I am reading, don't you go too; stay here on the spot I mark with my finger, so that I'll know exactly where to start when I come back. Do you see what I mean?"

So, as with the mouse, it was a long time before Colman put the understanding of the fly to the test. He probably provided the insect with treats as he did the mouse--perhaps a single drop of honey or crumb of cake. One day Colman was called to attend a visitor. He pointed the spot on the manuscript where he had stopped and asked the fly to stay there until he returned. The fly did as the saint requested, obediently remaining still for over an hour. Colman was delighted. Thereafter, he often gave the faithful fly a little task that it was proud to do for him. The other monks thought it was such a marvel that they wrote it done in the monastery records, which is how we know about it.

But a fly's life is short. At the end of summer, Colman's little friend was dead. While still mourning the death of the fly, the mouse died, too, as did the rooster. Colman's heart was so heavy at the loss of his last pet that he wrote to his friend Saint Columba (f.d. June 9). Columba responded:

"You were too rich when you had them. That is why you are sad now. Great troubles only come where there are great riches. Be rich no more."

Troparion of St Colman of Kilmacduagh tone 8 Rejecting the nobility of thy birth, O Father Colman,/thou didst seek God in the solitude of desert places./ Thy virtue, like a beacon, drew men unto thee/ and thou didst guide them into the way of salvation./ Guide us also by thy prayers, that our souls may be saved.

A Prayer:

May God's angels guard us
and save us till day's end,
protected by God and Mary
and *Mac Duach and Mac Daire
and Colm Cille
till days' end.

Aingil De dar gcoimhdeacht
's dar sabhail aris go fuin;
ar coimri De is Mhuire,
Mhic Duach is Mhic Daire
agus Colm Cille
aris go fuin.

*St. Colman MacDuagh

"An Duanaire 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed"

St. Comgall, Bishop and Founder of Bangor Monastery 602
May 10

Born in Ulster, Ireland, c. 517; died at Bangor, Ireland, in 603; some list his feast as May 11. It is said that Comgall was a warrior as a young man, but that he studied under Saint Fintan at Cluain Eidnech Monastery, was ordained a priest before he was 40, and with several companions became a hermit in Lough Erne. The rule he imposed was so severe that seven of them died. He left the island and founded a monastery at Bangor (Bennchor) on the south shore of Lake Belfast, where he taught Saint Columban and a band of monks who evangelized Central Europe. Two other of his monks actively evangelized Scotland, Saint Moluag of Lismore in Argyll and Saint Maelrubha of Applecross in Ross. In time, it became the most famous monastery in Ireland, and Comgall is reported to have ruled over some 8,000 monks there and in houses founded from Bangor. Bangor was one of the principal religious centres of Ireland until it was destroyed by the Danes in 823.

Although he was known for his ascetism and was said to have only eaten a full meal once a week on a Sunday, many of the miracles ascribed to him concern food. On one occasion, a farmer refused to sell grain to his monks, saying that he would rather his mother-in-law, whom he called Luch, should eat it all rather than the monks. The word luch is the Gaelic for mouse. S.Comgall said, "So be it, by luch it shall be eaten", and that night a plague of mice ate two piles of corn, which would have been thirty cart loads.

On another occasion, a group of thieves broke into the grounds of the monastery to steal the monks' vegetables, and through the prayers of Comgall they were deprived of their sight until they repented. When they did repent, they were admitted into the community. Yet again, when the monks were short of food, and visitors to the community were expected, S.Comgall prayed to God, and a shoal of fish swam to the shore, so that the brethren might feed their guests.

Comgall went to Scotland for a time, where he lived in a monastery on the island of Tiree. He also accompanied Saint Columba on a missionary trip to Inverness to evangelize the Picts. Columba and Comgall are believed to have journeyed together through the Great Glen and preached before King Brude at Inverness. There he founded a monastery at Land of Heth. The manuscript called the Bangor Antiphonary [see below], written there less than a century after Saint Comgall's death, contains a long hymn in his praise. Comgall died after years of suffering resultant from his austerities.

St.Fiacre received the message that his friend was dying through an angel and arrived in Bangor in time to see him into the next world. When he returned to Ullard after burying Sr.Comgall, Fiacre took an arm of the saint back as a relic. Nothing now remains of the great monastery, but the Bell of Bangor is preserved in the heritage museum at Belfast, and in the Ambrosian Library there is the Antiphonary of Bangor (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Neeson, Flanagan, Farmer).

...As monasticism changed from solitary to community life, the monks received something of the same privilege of carrying the Eucharist with them. They would have it on their persons when working in the fields or going on a voyage. The species was either placed in a small receptacle (Chrismal = "Christ-carrier", Old Irish) worn bandoleer-fashion, or in a little bag (Perula) hung around the neck under their clothes. Irish and British manuscripts make frequent mention of the practice. It was not only to have the hosts ready for Communion but also to insure safety against robbers and protection against the hazards of travel.

The life of St. Comgall (died 601) tells how on one occasion he was attacked by heathen Pietists while working in a field. On seeing the Chrismal around his neck, the attackers did not dare touch him for fear of some retaliation since they surmised (as the narrator says) that Comgall was carrying his God. The saint was so moved by the experience that he exclaimed, "Lord, you are my strength, my refuge, and my Redeemer" (Psalm 18:2).

In art, Saint Comgall's emblem is a fish. Usually he is portrayed as an abbot holding a stone, to whom an angel brings a fish (Roeder).

A Second Life:

St. Comgall

Founder and abbot of the great Irish monastery at Bangor, flourished in the sixth century. The year of his birth is uncertain, but according to the testimony of the Irish annals it must be placed between 510 and 520; his death is said to have occurred in 602 ("Annals of Tighernach" and "Chronicon Scotorum"), or 597 (Annals of Innisfallen). He was born in Dalaradia in Ulster near the place now known as Magheramorne in the present County Antrim. He seems to have served first as a soldier, and on his release from military service he is said to have studied at Clonard with St. Finnian, and at Clonmacnoise with St. Ciaran, who died in 549.

We next find him in Ulster in an island on Lough Erne accompanied by a few friends following a very severe form of monastic life. He intended to go to Britain, but was dissuaded from this step by Lugidius, the bishop who ordained him, at whose advice he remained in Ireland and set himself to spread the monastic life throughout the country. The most famous of the Comgall is Bangor, situated in the present County Down, on the Southern shore of Belfast Lough and directly opposite to Carrickfergus. According to the Irish annals Bangor was founded not later than 552, though Ussher and most of the later writers on the subject assign the foundation to the year 555.

According to Adamnan's "Life of Columba", there was a very close connection between Comgall and Columba though there does not appear to be sufficient authority for stating that Comgall was the disciple of Columba in any strict sense. He is said to have been the friend of St. Brendan, St. Cormac, St. Cainnech, and Finbarr of Moville. After intense suffering he received the Eucharist from St. Fiacra and expired in the monastery at Bangor.

Comgall belonged to what is known as the Second Order of Irish Saints. These flourished in the Irish Church during the sixth century. They were for the most part educated in Britain, or received their training from those who had grown up under the influence of the British Schools. They were the founders of the great Irish monastic schools, and contributed much to the spread of monasticism in the Irish Church. It is an interesting question how far Comgall, or men like him, had advanced in their establishments at Bangor and elsewhere in introducing the last stages of monasticism then developed on the Continent by St. Benedict. In other words, did St. Comgall give his monks at Bangor a strict monastic rule resembling the Rule of St. Benedict? There has come down to us a Rule of St. Comgall in Irish, but the evidence would not warrant us in saying that as it stands at present it could be attributed to him. The fact, however, that Columbanus, a disciple of Comgall and himself a monk of Bangor, drew up for his Continental monasteries a "Regula Monachorum" wound lead us to believe that there had been a similar organisation in Bangor in his time. This, however, is not conclusive, since Columbanus might have derived inspiration from the Benedictine Rule then widely spread over South-Western Europe. St. Comgall is mentioned in the "Life of Columbanus" by Jonas, as the superior of Bangor, under whom St. Columbanus had studied. He is also mentioned under 10 May, his feast-day in the "Felire" of Oengus the Culdee published by Whitley Stokes for the Henry Bradshaw Society (2nd ed.), and his name is commemorated in the Stowe Missal (MacCarthy), and in the Martyrology of Tallaght.


St. Comgan, (Cowan), Abbot in Ireland
Feastday: February 27

Died c, 565. Abbot of Glenthsen or Killeshin in Ireland.

St Conald (Chuniald) priest

Feastday: September 24


He was on of those eminent Irish Missionaries who left their native country to carry the faith of Christ into Germany. He was for many years the constant companion of St.Rupert, Bishop of Saltzburg, in all his apostolical functions. His Feast is kept on 24th.September, the day of the Translation of his relics. See Colgan, Act.SS.p 769. Butlers Lives of the Saints

St. Conleth of Kildare, Bishop(also known as Conleat)
d.c. 519 Feastday: May 4

Died c. 519; feast day also on May 10. Conleth, an Irish recluse at Old Connell (County Kildare) on the Liffey, was a metal- worker and very skilled as a copyist and illuminator. Saint Brigid, according to her vita by Cogitosus, came to know him and invited him to make sacred vessels for her convent and asked him to be the spiritual director of her nuns at Kildare.

Eventually, he became the first bishop of Kildare, which the Annuario Pontificio quotes as being founded in 519. Conleth, Tassach of Elphin (Saint Patrick's craftsman), and Daigh (craftsman of Kieran of Saigher were acclaimed the "three chief artisans of Ireland" during their period. Conleth, who was the head of the Kildare school of metal-work and penmanship, is traditionally regarded as the sculptor of the crosier of Saint Finbar of Termon Barry, which can now be seen in the Royal Irish Academy. He also created the golden crown that was suspended over Brigid's tomb.

A gloss in an Irish martyrology says that he was devoured by wolves on his way to Rome--a journey undertaken against the wishes of Brigid. This could be an explanation of his name: coin "to wolves" and leth "half" (Benedictines, Curtayne, D'Arcy, Farmer, Montague, Neeson).

Cogitosus, who write as St Brigid's biographer a century after her death, has interesting things to say about her monastery, about her grave, and about the presence of many "painted pictures":

"......The hermit-bishop who joined Brigid at Kildare was St. Conleth, now revered as patron of the diocese of Kildare. He was a craftsman in metal; a crozier, said to be of his workmanship, is extant. "Brigid's brazier," he was called, in old writings. Under him a community of monks grew up which excelled in the making of beautiful chalices and other metal objects needed in the church, and in the writing and ornamentation of missals, gospels, and psalters.

".......This double monastery, as we have said, was unique in Ireland. It continued in existence for several generations. Cogitosus, who wrote the life of Brigid at the request of the sisterhood in the seventh century, describes the great monastic church at Kildare as it existed in his own time, when the bodies of Conleth and Brigid lay entombed at the Gospel and Epistle sides of the altar, "deposited in monuments which were decorated with various embellishments of gold and silver and precious stones, with crowns of gold and silver hung above them."

".......Saving the tombs, the description of the church in the days of Cogitosus probably applies to the building as it stood when Conleth and Brigid built it. We gain an interesting picture of the ancient Irish churches of timber, of the larger kind.

COGITOSUS WRITES: "The church occupied a wide area, and was raised to a towering height, and was adorned with painted pictures. It had within it three spacious oratories, separated by plank partitions, under the one roof of the greater house, wherein one partition, decorated and painted with figures and covered with linen hangings, extended along the breadth of the eastern part of the church from one wall of the church to the other." That means that the sanctuary was shut off by an ornamented screen like the iconostasis in a Greek church. "The partition," Cogitosus continues, "has at its end two doors. Through one, the bishop enters the sanctuary, accompanied by his monks and those who are to offer the Dominical sacrifice; through the other, placed in the left of the same cross-wall, enter the Abbess with her virgins and faithful widows to enjoy the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ."

Cogitosus goes on to tell that a central partition reaches from the lower end of the church to the cross-wall before the sanctuary, dividing the nave into two portions. These divisions are entered by separate, ornamental doors, at right and left of the church; men occupy the right (or Gospel) half, women the left. "Thus in one very great temple, a multitude of people in different order and ranks, separated by partitions, but of one mind, worship Almighty God."

St. Constant, Martyr
Feastday: November 18

Died 777. Saint Constant, an Irish priest-hermit at Lough Erne, was known for his sanctity and the miracles wrought at his intercession. He died under circumstances that led to his being venerated as a martyr (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

St. Corbican
d. 8th century Feastday: June 26

An Irish recluse in the Low Countries, now Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. He gave his life to educating the local peasants.

St. Corbmac
d. 6th century Feastday: June 21

An abbot and disciple of St. Columba, who made him the superior of Durrow Monastery.

St. Cormac
d. 6th century Feastday: September 14

An Irish abbot who was a friend of St. Columba.

St. Cormac of Cashel, King & Bishop

Died 908. Saint Cormac, king of Munster, Ireland, was the son of Cuillenan and descended from King Aengus who Saint Patrick baptized. Cormac was probably the first bishop of Cashel and the compiler of the still extant Psalter of Cashel, an Irish history. Irish writers have celebrated him for his learning, piety, charity, and valour. He was killed in a battle against King Flan of Meath (Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth).

Another Life:

Saint Cormac MacCuilenan(836-908).

An Irish bishop and King of Cashel, Cormac MacCquilenan was of the race of Eoghanact, of Southern Ireland, and in his early years received a good education in one of the Irish schools. He was ordained priest, and afterwards appointed Bishop of Cashel. In the year 900 he became, on account of his descent, King of Cashel, and thus were combined in his person the two offices of spiritual and temporal ruler of Leth Moga, as the southern portion of Ireland was called.

The ardri (ard-ri, high king), Flann, assisted by the King of Leinster, led his forces into the Southern Province (906), and was met by the Munstermen under Cormac at Moylena (Tullamore). The ardri suffered a signal defeat. Later on, however (908) Flann, assisted by Ceorbhall, King of Leinster, and Cathal, King of Connaught, returned to the attack, apparently because Cormac, instigated by Flaherty, Abbot of Inniscathay, had claimed tribute from Leinster, and had even signified his intention of assuming the position of ardri. The battle was fought at the present Ballymoon; the Munstermen suffered a complete defeat and Cormac was killed in the battle.

An Irish Glossary called "Sanas Chormaic", containing etymologies and explanations of over 1400 Irish words has come down to us. Though, etymologically, the work is of little value, yet on account of the light it throws upon many ancient Irish customs and institutions it is of great importance to the historian. The "Glossary of Cormac" is said to be only a part of the "Saltair Chaisil", also attributed to Cormac. This work, if it ever existed, has disappeared, or, as W. Stokes thinks, it is more likely that at best the "Saltair Chaisil" was only a collection of transcripts of manuscripts from the hands of different writers. The above-mentioned "Sanas Chormaic", or "Cormac's Glossary", was translated and annotated by John O'Donovan and edited by W. Stokes (Calcutta,1868). See Stokes, "Three Irish Glossaries" (London, 1862).


A town in the County Tipperary, Ireland. The Rock of Cashel, to which the town below owes its origin, is an isolated elevation of stratified limestone, rising abruptly from a broad and fertile plain, called the Golden Vein. The top of this eminence is crowned by a group of remarkable ruins. This ancient metropolis has lost its importance and most of its inhabitants. The population is less than 3000.

Originally known as Fairy Hill, or Sid-Druim, the "Rock" was, in pagan times, the dun or castle of the ancient Eoghnacht Chiefs of Munster. In Gaelic Caiseal denotes a circular stone fort and is the name of other places in Ireland. The "Book of Rights" suggests that the name is derived from Cais-il, i. e. "tribute stone", because the Munster tribes paid tribute on the Rock. Here, Corc, the grandfather of Aengus Mac Natfraich, erected a fort, and Cashel subsequently became the capital of Munster. Like Tara and Armagh it was a celebrated court, and at the time of St. Patrick claimed supremacy over all the royal duns of the province, when Aengus ruled as King of Cashel.

About 450, Patrick preached at the royal dun and converted Aengus. The "Tripartite Life" of the saint relates that while "he was baptising Aengus the spike of the crozier went through the foot of the King" who bore with the painful wound in the belief "that it was a rite of the Faith". And, according to the same authority, twenty-seven kings of the race of Aengus and his brother Aillil ruled in Cashel until 897, when Cerm-gecan was slain in battle. There is no evidence that St. Patrick founded a church at Cashel, or appointed a Bishop of Cashel. St. Ailbe, it is supposed, had already fixed his see at Emly, not far off, and within the king's dominions. Cashel continued to be the chief residence of the Kings of Munster until 1100. Hence its title, "City of the Kings".

Before that date there is no mention in the native annals of any Bishop, or Archbishop of Cashel. Cormac MacCullinan is referred to, but not correctly, as Archbishop of Cashel, by later writers. He was a bishop, but not of Cashel, where he was king. The most famous man in Ireland of his time, but more of a scholar and warrior than an ecclesiastic, Cormac has left us a glossary of Irish names, which displays his knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and the "Psalter of Cashel", a work treating of the history and antiquities of Ireland. He was slain in 903, in a great battle near Carlow.

Brian Boru fortified Cashel in 990. Murtagh O'Brien, King of Cashel, in presence of the chiefs and clergy, made a grant in 1101 of the "Rock" with the territory around it to O'Dunan, "noble bishop and chief senior of Munster", and dedicated it to God and St. Patrick. Then Cashel became an archiepiscopal see, and O'Dunan its first prelate as far as the primate, St. Celsus, could appoint him. At the synod of Kells, 1152, Cardinal Paparo gave a pallium to Donat O'Lonergan of Cashel, and since then his successors have ruled the ecclesiastical province of Munster. In 1127 Cormac MacCarthy, King of Desmond, erected close to his palace on the "Rock" a church, now known as Cormac's Chapel, which was consecrated in 1134, when a synod was held within its walls.

Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel is the most exquisite extant specimen of Irish Architecture. The chapel was thought to have been built in 1127 and it was consecrated with great ceremony in 1134. The twin square towers of the chapel were unknown in Ireland at the time which suggests a foreign influence in the building.

St. Cornelius
d. 1176 Feastday: June 4

Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, also called Cornelius Mac Conchailleadh or McConchailleach. An Irishman, he joined the Augustinians at Armagh in 1140 and was made abbot in 1151. In 1174, he was made bishop. Cornelius died in Canbery,Savoy, France, while returning from a pilgrimage to Rome.

St. Credan (Credus, Credanus)
Feastday: May 11
Date unknown. Evidence of the existence of this obscure saint from Cornwall can be found in Counties Moyne and Wicklow in Ireland, as well as in the church of Sancreed, which he founded. According to Roscarrock, he "killed by misfortune his own father, with which he was so moved as abandoning the world he became a hogherd, and lived so exemplary as he was after esteemed a saint" (Farmer).

St. Crewanna
d. 5th century Feastday: February 1

A confessor who accompanied St. Breaca from Ireland to Cornwall, England. Crowan near St. Erth is believed to have been named in his honor.

St. Cronan
d. 617 Feastday: June 3

A disciple of St. Kevin, called "the Tanner". Nothing else is known.

St. Cronan Beg
d. 7th century Feastday: January 7

A bishop of Aendrum, County Down, Ireland. He is mentioned in connection with the controversy of 640.

St. Cronan of Roscrea
d.c. 626 Feastday: April 28

Founder and hermit in Ireland. He was the son of Odran, born in Munster, or possibly Ely O’Carroll, Offaly, Ireland. Cronan founded fifty monasteries, the first at Puay and the most famous at Roscrea. He ended his life as a blind hermit.

Born in Munster, Ireland; died c. 626. Cronan was a monk and a maker of monks. He is patron of Roscrea, County Tipperary, one of the several monasteries that he founded, and highly venerated in the region Another Life:

Saint Cronan was born in Munster and grew up in Clare. When he was old enough, he went with his two brothers Mochoinne and Mobi, to study at various religious houses; Scattery Island and Clonmacnois were among those they visited. When Cronan returned to his native county, he founded a monastery at a very remote spot, Seanruis, where there are still ruins of his settlement to be seen, near Lough Cree, which has since dried up. There is a story that the saint lost a precious copy of the Gospels in the lake, and although it was in the water for forty days and nights before it was recovered, he was delighted to find not a single letter had been destroyed. Here he was visited by Sr. Molua and to whom he gave the Sacrament before his death, receiving in return the charge of his monastery Clonfert-Molua.

St. Cronan was particularly noted for his generosity and hospitality, and these particular characteristics caused him to move his monastery. Some travellers came to pay him a visit, but so remote was the place that they could not discover it and had to spend the night in the open amid the bogs that surrounded the lake. Cronan was so distressed by this that he built a new abbey at Rosecrea, where people on their journeys or those in distress could more easily find refreshment, and this was the beginning of the township on the road between Port Laoise and Nenagh. There are still remains of a round tower, a Romanesque doorway, a High Cross and a much weathered figure of St. Cronan to mark this second foundation. The Book of Dimma in the library of Trinity College Dublin belonged to the monastery.

Cronan was much revered by his contemporaries, and King Fingen had a great regard for him. There is a record of his visiting Cashel, when he was very old, just before his death, on April 28th about 620 (Baring Gould, Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Flanagan, Gill, Husenbeth, Montague, Neeson).

St. Cronan the Wise
d. 8th century Feastday: February 9

The Irish Bishop Saint Cronan is called "the wise" because he systematized Irish canon law. He was a lover of liturgy and modesty. Cronan may be the same person as Bishop Saint Ronan of Lismore (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia).

St. Crummine
d. 5th century Feastday: June 28

Bishop and disciple of St. Patrick of Ireland. St. Patrick placed Crummine over the church in Lachan County, Westmeath.

St. Crumnathy or Nathi c.610 Achonry Diocese
Feastday: August 9

The monastery of at Achonry in Co. Sligo was founded by Finian of Clonard at some date in the sixth century and was established under Saint Nathi as a centre of prayer and study.

St. Cuan
d. 6th century Feastday: January 1

Irish abbot, also called Moncan or Mochua. He supposedly lived almost one hundred years and founded many churches and monasteries in Ireland.

St. Cuaran
d.c. 700 Feastday: February 9

An Irish bishop, also called Curvinus or Cronan. He became a hermit on Iona, Scotland, after retiring as bishop, hoping to conceal his identity. St. Columba, however, recognized Cuaran.

St. Cumine
d. 669 Feastday: February 24 or October 6

Irish abbot called "the White." The abbot of Iona, Scotland, he wrote a biography of St. Columba.

St. Cummian
d. 8th century Feastday: June 9

Benedictine bishop of Ireland, also called Cumian or Cummin. He traveled to Bobbio, in Italy, and remained there as a monk.

St. Cummian Fada
d.c. 662 Feastday: November 12

Irish monastic founder and defender of Roman liturgical customs. The son of the king of West Munster , Ireland, he entered Clonfert Monastery and headed the school there. He later became abbot of Kilcummin Monastery, which he founded. Cummian was a stout defender of the Roman liturgy against the Celtic school. His Paschal Epistle is still extant. Called "Fada," Cummian received the name "tall" because of his height.

St. Cummian the White, Abbot of Iona

Feastday: October 5

+ 669. Born in Ireland, he became Abbot of Iona and wrote a life of St. Columba.

St. Cuthbert
Feastday: March 20

Cuthbert was thought by some to be Irish and by others, a Scot. Bede, the noted historian, says he was a Briton. Orphaned when a young child, he was a shepherd for a time, possibly fought against the Mercians, and became a monk at Melrose Abbey. In 661, he accompanied St. Eata to Ripon Abbey, which the abbot of
Melrose had built, but returned to Melrose the following year when King Alcfrid turned the abbey over to St. Wilfrid, and then became Prior of Melrose. Cuthbert engaged in missionary work and when St. Colman refused to accept the decision of the Council of Whitby in favor of the Roman liturgical practices and immigrated with most of the monks of Lindisfarn to Ireland, St. Eata was appointed bishop in his place and named Cuthbert Prior of Lindisfarn. He resumed his missionary activities and attracted huge crowds until he received his abbot's permission to live as a hermit, at first on a nearby island and then in 676, at one of the Farnes Islands near Bamborough. Against his will, he was elected bishop of Hexham in 685, arranged with St. Eata to swap Sees, and became bishop of  Lindisfarn but without the monastery. He spent the last two years of his life administering his See, caring for the sick of the plague that dessimated his diocese, working numerous miracles of healing, and gifted with the ability to prophesy. He died at Lindisfarn. Feast day is March 20.