St. Ibar of Meath (of Beg-Eri), Bishop (Iberius, Ibhar)
Feastday: April 23

5th century. Perhaps a missionary to Ireland before Patrick, but more probably one of his disciples, Ibar preached in Leinster and Meath. There are indications that he was ordained a bishop at Rome, then preached with Saints Declan, Ailbeus, and Kieran. Usher (Antiq., c. 16), however, tells us that Patrick consecrated him bishop. He also founded a monastic school on the island of Beg-Eire (Beggery), where he trained many including his nephew Prince Saint Abban, who succeeded Ibar as abbot of Magarnoide in Kenselach.

His relics were kept with singular veneration in his monastery at Beg-Eire, which attracted the attention of the English agents of the Reformation. In an attempt to stamp out his cultus and the many legends surrounding his wooden image in his little chapel, they tried to burn the image. Each time it was restored to its proper place without damage (Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth, Montague).

Another Life:

St. Ibar
A pre-Patrician Irish saint, who laboured in the present County Wexford from 425 to 450, recognized the jurisdiction of St. Patrick, and was confirmed in his episcopacy. Thus, though a missionary before the arrival of the great national apostle, St. Ibar was a contemporary of St. Patrick, and is regarded as the patron of Begerin, in Wexford harbour. Although at first not disposed to yield to St. Patrick he afterwards submitted and became his disciple.

Much obscurity attaches to his early training, but about the year 480 he settled at Begerin, where he built an oratory and cell. In the "Life of St. Abban" it is stated that St. Ibar's retreat was soon peopled with numerous disciples from all parts of Ireland, and the "Litany of Aengus" invokes the three thousand confessors who placed themselves under St. Ibar's direction. His nephew, St. Abban, as a boy of twelve came to Begerin in St. Ibar's old age and accompanied him to Rome. His name is variously written Ibar, Iberius, and Ivor, and his death is chronicled in the year 500 on 23 April, on which day his feast is observed. Although Begerin was formerly an island in the north of Wexford harbour, it has long since been one of the reclaimed Sloblands.

Troparion of St Ibar Tone 8 Thou didst prepare the way for Saint Patrick by thy fearless preaching in Ireland, O holy Father Ibar./ Pray for the present dwellers in Meath and Leinster and for all in these Islands,/ that the true Faith may spread in our own days, to the glory of God.

St. Indract and St. Dominica of Glastonbury, martyrs
Feastday: February 5

Died c. 708-710. An old legend makes Indract an Irish chieftain, who became the 21st abbot of Iona. About 854, Indract and his sister Dominica (Drusa) set out from Cornwall or Somerset on a pilgrimage to Rome. On their return from Rome, they were killed by heathen Saxons together with nine of their Irish comrades near Glastonbury. A strong cultus arose immediately. Their relics were enshrined at Glastonbury Abbey, which legend connects to Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Benignus (f.d. November 9) because it was first dedicated to Blessed Mary and Saint Patrick and was served by Irish monks as late as the 10th century. A still later legend has made Indract and Dominica contemporaries of Saint Patrick(Benedictines, D'Arcy, Encyclopaedia, Fitzpatrick, Kenney, Montague, Moran, O'Kelly).

Another Life:

The Irish Saints at Glastonbury c.700

On this day in the Old English Calendar commemorated SS Indractus, Dominica and their Companions. We have to rely on William of Malmsbury for information about these Martyrs, who were venerated at Glastonbury Abbey. Indractus was an Irish chieftain, who had been to Rome on pilgrimage with his wife, Dominica, and nine others, and on their return journey they decided to visit the "Second Rome", as Glastonbury was called, because of its holy associations.

There is a tradition that both S.Patrick and S.Bridget spent some time at Glastonbury, and there is a district called Beckery, where Bridget is supposed to have founded a Convent at the foot of Weary-all Hill. It was at Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene there, according to the History of John of Glastonbury, that King Arthur had the vision of the Cross and Our Lady with the Holy Child, which is commemorated in the Arms of the Abbey. Another Irish Saint claimed as a visitor to Glastonbury is Benignus, locally known as S.Bennings, who was servant and successor to S.Patrick. He settled at Meare three miles to the west, where he died, and his body was translated to the Abbey in 901, some four hundred years later.

These Irish connections may well have been an added attraction to Indractus and his fellow pilgrims, who settled in the district of Shapwick. The local people were heathen and thought the party were wealthy merchants, whereas their scrips only contained parsley and other seeds to be taken back to Ireland, and their pilgrim staves were tipped with brass and not gold. When they had killed them, the natives threw their bodies into a deep pit, but a column of light appeared by night revealing the grave of the Christian martyrs. Their bodies were taken up and buried in the Abbey in the eighth century during the restoration under King Ina.

St. Ita

Feast Day: 15 JANUARY

Died c. 570. Saint Ita is the most famous woman saint in Ireland after Saint Brigid, and is known as the Brigid of Munster. She is said to have been of royal lineage, born in one of the baronies of Decies near Drum in County Waterford, and called Deirdre. An
aristocrat wished to marry her, but after praying and fasting for three days and supposedly with divine help, she convinced her father to allow her to lead the life of a maiden. She migrated to Hy Conaill (Killeedy), in the western part of Limerick, and founded a community of women dedicated to God, which soon attracted many young women. She also founded and directed a school. It is said that Bishop Saint Ere gave into her care Saint Brendan, who would become a famous abbot and missionary (though the chronology makes this unlikely). Many other Irish saints were taught by her for years. For this reason, she is often called "foster-mother of the saints of Ireland."

Brendan is supposed to have once asked her what three things God especially loved. She replied, "True faith in God with a pure heart, a simple life with a religious spirit, and open-handedness inspired by charity." An Irish lullaby for the Infant Jesus is attributed
to her. Saint Ita's legend stresses her physical austerities. The principle mark of her devotion was the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. Like other monastic figures of Ireland, she spent much time in solitude, praying and fasting, and the rest of the time in service to those seeking her assistance and advice. She and her sisters helped to treat the sick of the area. Many extravagant miracles are also attributed to her including one in which she is said to have reattached the head to the body of a man who'd been decapitated, and another which claimed that she lived only on food from heaven. 

St. Jarlath
Feastday: June 6th

Patron of the Archdiocese of Tuam, born in Connaught about 445; died 26 December, (al., 11 Feb.), about 540. Having studied under St. Benen (Benignus), he founded a college at Cloonfush, near Tuam, which soon attracted scholars from all parts of Ireland. The fame of Cloonfush is sufficiently attested by two of its pupils, St. Brendan of Ardfert, and St. Colman of Cloyne. But, great teacher as he was, he went, through humility, to avail himself of the instruction of St. Enda at Arran about 495. He removed to Tuam about the second decade of sixth century. St. Jarlath is included in the second order of Irish saints, and on that account he must have lived to the year 540. The "Felire" of Aengus tells us that he was noted for his fasting, watching, and mortification. Three hundred times by day and three hundred times by night did this saint bend the knee in prayer, and he was also endowed with the gift of prophecy. His feast is kept on 6 June, being the date of the translation of his relics to a church specially built in his honour, adjoining the cathedral of Tuam. His remains were encased in a silver shrine, whence the church--built in the thirteenth century--was called Teampul na scrín, that is the church of the shrine, a perpetual vicarage united to the prebend of Kilmainemore in 1415. 

St. Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Connor and Dromore. Writer. 1667
Feastday: August 13

Jeremy Taylor, the distinguished Anglican theologian, who wrote devotional and theological books in the difficult days of the Commonwealth in England, came to Ireland in 1658 and is gratefully remembered in Lisburn and Ballinderry. In 1660 he became Bishop of Down and Connor. Although the times were controversial, he maintained, as was said at the time much "largeness and freedom of spirit". His books Holy Living and Holy Dying are still in print. A study of his teaching on the Holy Communion by H.R.McAdoo (Archbishop of Dublin 1977-1985) has drawn attention to the importance of Taylor's teaching in the book, The Real Presence (1654).


St. John Almond

d. 800 Feastday: December 5


One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. English priest and martyr, born about 1577; died at Tyburn, 5 December, 1612. He passed his childhood at Allerton near Liverpool, where he was born, and at Much-Woolton. His boyhood and early manhood were spent in Ireland, until he went to the English College, Rome, at the age of twenty. He concluded his term there brilliantly by giving the "Grand Act" -- a public defence of theses which ocver the whole course of philosopy and theology -- and was warmly congratulated by Cardinals Baronius and Tarugi, who presided. The account of his death describes him as "a reprover of sin, a good example to follow, of an ingenious and acute understanding, sharp and apprehensive in his conceits and answers, yet complete with modesty, full of courage and ready to suffer for Christ, that suffered for him." He was arrested in the year 1608, and again in 1612. In November of this year seven priests escaped from prison, and this may have sharpened the zeal of the persecutors, Dr. King, Protestant Bishop of London, being especially irritated against Almond. He displayed to the last great acuteness in argument, and died with the Holy Name upon his lips. Beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. Canonized 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.