THE CHURCH IN HIBERNIA

TO 737 CE/AD

 

 

The Church in Hibernia, growing out of the Romano-British mission started by Palladius, was as reliant on royal patronage and personnel, and as based on monasteries, as was the British.  There were three major thrusts of conversion starting from the coast around the landing in Leinster: inland in Leinster and thence westwards into central Hibernia; south to Munster and the southwest; and north to Ulster.  The far west coast was not reached until the 6th Century and Connacht was converted last of all. In the 5th Century, the Irish Church looked to schools and shrines at Whithorn, Llantwit Major and Glastonbury.  The influence of important British religious figures such as Saints Docco, Cadog, Gildas and David was strong.  Hibernian monastic schools were producing scholars and overtook the British schools in numbers and prestige by the later part of the 6th Century.  Hibernia accepted the date for the change of Easter more easily in the south than in the north, but in both cases before Britannia did. 

 

C 470-475 - Saint Colman / Mocholmoc, b in Dalriada C 450, studied at the school at Emly, returns to Nendrum on Mahee Island off the Ulster coast in Strangford Lough in Ulster to assist Saint Mochaoi. 

 

482-483 - Dauí Tenga Uma mac Briúin / Dauí Galach becomes King of Connacht, 'baptised by Saint Patrick'.  

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Crimthann mac Énnai King of Leinster from the Uí Cheinnselaig sept of the Laigin ('baptised by Saint Patrick') slain. 

 

489 Muiredach Muinderg / Red-necked mac Forga mac Dallan King of Ulster / Ulaid, 'who received blessings of Saint Patrick', d.  

 

C 500 - [JM] Saint Mac Creiche / Son of Plunder, of Lismore, Bishop under Saint Ailbe in Munster C 475 – C 535.  Kerry cleric.  

 

C 6 – Saint Athracht founder and patron saint of the parish of Locha Techet and Tourlestrane, Co. Sligo.  'Veiled by Patrick'.  Operated in south Connacht.

 

503 - Lugid, son of Lóegaire, High King of Ireland, d - 'killed by lightning for mocking Saint Patrick'.  

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Saint Cerpan Bishop of Tara d.

 

505 – death of Saint Mac Cairthenn / Aed / Fer da Crich / Man of Two Borders, Bishop of Clogher, Tyrone. 'Patrick’s champion' and uncle of Brigit. 

 

509 - Eochaid mac Muiredaig Muinderg King of Ulster / Ulaid, 'whose descendants Saint Patrick had cursed for his killing of two virgins who wanted to serve him', d.

 

510 - Saint Senan founds monastery at Enniscorthy in County Wexford then travels to Brittany where he may have built a church In Plouzane. On his way back he stayed at the monastery of Mynyw under Saint David. It is possible that he also visited Cornwall, where he founded a church at Sennen Cove C 520. Other monasteries established by him were Innisluinghe / Bishop’s Island / Inishmore / Deer Island and Enniskerry / Mutton Island in County Clare. Finally, he settled on Scattery Island near Kilrush, close to the delta of the River Shannon, where he built his most famous and greatest monastery, with five churches between 535 and 540 and d 544/546/560. Senan began his career in Leinster and moved to Munster to found Scattery.

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Saint Íte, patron of Killeedy 480-570/577  [JM has d 570]. The "foster mother of the saints of Erin" and the "Brigid of Munster".  Descended from Felim the Lawgiver. An account of her life is in the Codex Kilkenniensis. In  496 she moved to found Cluain Credhail / Killeedy / Church of St. Ita, County Limerick. Born in Leinster, evangelised in Munster, the first to found a house in inland Munster and only the second in Munster after Saint Declán.  

 

513 – Dubthach / Dubtach I, 6th Bishop of Armagh dies succeeded by Saint Ailill I, 7th Bishop. 

 

516 - [JM] Saint Darerca / Mo-Ninna founder of Killevy, Armagh d. Born in Mag Coba near Newry.  Pupil of Mochta. 'Consecrated by Saint Patrick', trained by Saint Faencha.    

 

518 - Saint Tigernach founder of Clones in Ulster. The first foundation by Tigernach, in about the same area, is Gabáil-liúin, now Galloon Island, Upper Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh. Tigernach was born out of an illicit union between a king's daughter and an alien warrior: his mother, Der Fraích, was a daughter of Eochaid, king of the Uí Chremthainn, while his father, Coirpre, was a Leinsterman in Eochaid's service.  Saint Brigit of Kildare named the child Tigernach, meaning "princely". According to Butler, Tigernach was baptized by Conleth, bishop of Kildare with St. Brigid as godmother. Tigernach's maternal uncle was Cairpre Daim Argat, King of Airgíalla who died 514. His maternal aunt was Saint Cinnia of Druim Dubhain. His maternal 1st cousin once removed was Saint Damhnat of Slieve Betha. His maternal second cousin was Saint Enda of Aran. His fourth cousins were Saints Dallán Forgaill and Mogue.  He was educated in Rosnat. Tigernach sought out the boundary of the kingdom to make his first foundation, namely Galloon. He offered it to Saint Comgall of Bangor and moved a little further east to found Clones [JM] in 518. There he is said to have lived like a hermit and d of plague. 

 

Pre 520 - Saint Fiacc 415-520 founds Sletty. Fiacc was a poet, the chief bishop of Leinster, and founder of two churches. He was buried in his own church at Sletty, his son Fiacre, 'whom Patrick had ordained priest', occupying the same grave.

 

C 520 – Saint Finnian founds Clonard Abbey / Clonmore inland in Meath.  Baptized by Saint Abban, visited Britain with Saints Mobhi and Genocus; visited Saint Brigit. His mother founded a convent with mothers of Saints Ciaran of Clonmacnoise and Colman of ? Cule. ‘Teacher of the saints of Ireland’; archidoctor sapientissimus. Adjudicated between David and Gildas for ‘the headship and abbacy of Britain’. Saint Finnian, staying with Saint Cadoc at Llancarfan, attempts to mediate then aids Britons against Saxons; d of plague 549 [JM has 550]. Educates Ireland’s Twelve Apostles:

 

(1) Saint Ciarán of Saighir.

(2) Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise.

(3) Saint Brendan of Birr.

(4) Saint Brendan of Clonfert.

(5) Saint Columba of Terryglass.

(6) Saint Columba of Iona. 

(7) Saint Mobhí of Glasnevin.

(8) Saint Ruadhain of Lorrha.

(9) Saint Senan of Iniscathay.

(10) Saint Ninnidh the Saintly of Lough Erne.

(11) Saint Laisrén mac Nad Froích.

(12) Saint Canice of Aghaboe.

 

[JEF says Uinniau, Bishop, taught Cuaran of Clonmacnoise, maybe at Moville, moral theologian; O Riain says this was Finbarr, who was the same as Saints Findbarr of Movilla and Finnian of Clonard. JEF says this was actually the Saint Ninian of Whithorn].

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Saint Erc of Kerry C 6, Bishop established by Saint Senan on Inismore in the Shannon Estuary. Baptised Saint Brendan of Clonfert; probably Saint Herygh of Cornwall.

 

523/525 - Saint Brigit of Kildare, Leinster (451-525) d. ​

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Saint Darlugdach, disciple of Saint Brigit, second abbess of Kildare.  Veiled by Bishop MacCaille, presented by him to British Bishop Mel and Melchu. In the Irish Nennius she goes to Alba, where King Nechtain makes over Abernethy to God and Saint Brigit, ‘Darlugdach being present on the occasion and singing alleluia’; d 522 / 523 /525.

 

526 - Saint Ailill I, 7th Bishop of Armagh d, succeeded by Saint Ailill II, 8th Bishop.

 

528 - Saint Ailbe of Munster, founder of the see and school of Emly d, ? having baptised Dewi Sant. 

 

C 530 - Saint Enda of Aran, Abbot of Killeany, d. 

 

Post C 530 - pre 551 – Saint Cormac mac Eogain founds many churches in Connacht.  

 

530/532 – Saint Ninnidh the Pious founds monastery at Inishmacsaint, Lough Erne, Fermanagh. Pupil of Saint Finnian of Clonard, teacher of Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise. Regarded as one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.  Ninnidh was born in County Donegal, a grandson of Lóegaire, the High King of Ireland. 

 

532 - Cairell mac Muiredaig Muinderg King of Ulster / Ulaid, 'whose children Saint Patrick had blessed' d.

 

C 534/548 – Saint Senán mac Geircinn founds monastery of Inis Cathaigh / Scattery Island.

 

535/537 – Saint Mochta d, 'the last surviving disciple of St. Patrick'.   [IA has 532/534/537; JM has 533; other has 535].

 

535/534/537 - Ailill II, 8th Bishop of Armagh, d succeeded by Saint Dubthach / Duach II, and perhaps by 9th Bishop Dauid Farannaini / Dauid mac Guairi ui Farannáin.

 

C 540 – Saint Finnian founds Moville, Strangford Lough, Down.  Of Dal Araide of Ulster, trained by Bishop Colman of Dal Araide and Caelan / Mo-Choe at Nendrum, sent to Whithorn under Abbot Nennio / Mugentius.  Went to Rome for 7 years.  Post 558 lent Gospel to Saint Columba, who copied it at Dromin, Louth. C 560 prosecuted Columba before High King Diarmait, whom he prayed for at Battle of Cuil Dremhne, getting his book back; d 580.  [JEF says C 550 Uinniau, Bishop, taught Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, maybe at Moville, moral theologian; O Riain says this was Saint Finbarr, who was the same as Saints Findbarr of Movilla and Finnian of Clonard. JEF says this was actually the Saint Ninian of Whithorn]. 

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Saint Coipre, Bishop of Coleraine, Derry. [JM] Student at Rosnat with Saints Eugenius and Tigernach; d 560.

 

543 - Saint Cainnech of Aghaboe becomes a pupil of Saint Finnian at Clonard.  

 

544 – Saint Senán mac Geircinn d.

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Saint Mobhí d.  Mobhi was counted as one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. He was the abbot of Glasnevin, Dublin, where he was a teacher of Saints Columba, Canice, Comgall, and Ciarán of Clonmacnoise. It was Mobhí who gave Columba permission, with his last breath, to found the School of Derry. He died of the plague that had broken up his school. 

 

545 – Saint Brendan of Birr, pupil of Saint Finnian of Clonard, founds Birr, Munster.  Urged Columba to go into exile but prevented his excommunication. 

 

C 545 - Saint Cairnech of Drumleen d. Cairnech was of the Ui Neill, brother of Luirig, King of Alb, and supporter of Mac Erca.  First Bishop of the Clann Neill and of Tara and 'first martyr', monk and brehon / arbitrator of Ireland.

 

545-560 - [JM] Saint Brendan’s voyages [WSK has 563-583 exploration of the Northern Isles, Faroes and Iceland by Brendan of Clonfert from a base on the Garvellachs in Firth of Lorn].

 

546 - Saint Columba / Colmcille establishes a monastery and school at Derry.

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Saint Dallan Forgaill, ascetic, scholar, poet and writer, composer of a eulogy dedicated to Saint Senan. C 530 – 598, author of Amra Choluim Chille (Elegy of Saint Columba) and, traditionally, hymn 'Rop Tú Mo Baile' ('Be Thou My Vision').  Descendant of the legendary High King Colla Uais.  He was a first cousin of Saint Mogue and fourth cousin of Saint Tigernach of Clones.  When pirates broke into the island monastery of Inniskeel, County Donegal, he was beheaded.  In a list of ancient Irish authors contained in the Book of Ballymote, Dallán is called “grandson of testimony”.

 

547 - Clonmacnoise in Meath founded by Saint Ciaran (C 516–C 544), one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland,  called Ciarána the Younger to distinguish him from C 5 Saint Ciarán the Elder, bishop of Osraige. Taught by Saint Finian of Clonard.

 

Pre 548/549 - Saint Columba of Terryglass (d 552), pupil of Saint Finnian of Moville, founds Terryglass/ Tír dá glass Abbey. Terryglass is in Leinster, east of the west Munster cluster. 

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Saint Fintan of Clonenagh takes over Clonenagh monastery from Saint Columba of Terryglass, d 606.

 

548/551 - Saint Dubthach II, Abbot of Armagh, perhaps 9th Bishop Dauid Farannaini, d succeeded by Saint Fiachra mac Colmain, Abbot.

 

548/549/550/551/552 - [IA] Saints Finnian of Clonard (in the plague), Columba of Terryglass, Colam of Inis Celtra, Sinchell and Mac Taille d. 

 

549/551 - Saint Ciaran d of the plague at Clonmacnoise.

 

C 549 - Saint Tigernach mac Coirpri d at Rosnat. 

 

C 550 - Saint Conan mac Faelchon founds Roscommon in Connacht. He composed a rule for monks, which came to be observed by many religious bodies in Connacht.

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Death of Saint Domnoc of Ossory, missionary in Osraige who was a disciple of Saint David of Wales and a member of the O'Neill royal family. [JM has him as British disciple of David who went to Hibernia]. Introduced bees to Hibernia.

 

550/551/552/553 - [IA] David 10th/11th Bishop of Armagh, 'Legate of all Ireland' dies [JM has dies 547].

 

551 – [JM] Saint Sinchell the Elder, founder of Killeigh, Offaly d [other has 549].

 

552/555/558/559 - Bangor monastery founded on northeast coast of Ulster by Saint Comgall (C 510–520 – 597/602). [It is interesting that Saint Daniel founded a similar establishment also called Bangor C 560, within two years.  Coincidence or design?].

 

553 - Saint Columba places Saint Patrick’s relics in a shrine.  

 

553/554/557/558/559/561/564 - Clonfert founded by Saint Brendan the Navigator / the Voyager / the Bold (C 484–C 577) on the west coast of Munster. 

 

C 554 - Saint Columba founds Kells monastery in Meath.  

 

555 – [other has 559] Curnán mac Áedo, son of Áed mac Echach Tirmcharna King of Connacht, kills a man at Tara in court of High King Diarmait mac Cerbaill, who tears him from Saint Columba’s sanctuary and executes him.  Columba organises an alliance of Ui Neill and Connacht against Diarmait.

 

555/561 – [JR] Battle of Cul Dreihmne / Battle of the Book between High King Diarmait mac Cerbaill and Saint Columba and the Ui Neill over Saint Columba’s copy of Saint Finnian of Moville’s psalter, ? the Cathach of Saint Columba [other has 560/561/564 Diarmuid / Diarmid High King of Ireland rules against Saint Colomba who has copied The Gospel of Martin belonging to Finnian at Moville, County Down]. Columba and allies defeat and kill Diarmuid at Cul Drebne / Cúl Dreimne in County Sligo.  The prayers of Columba prevail over the druids of Diarmait.  [Several references to Druids and pagan rites in the C6 in Ireland; the last known is destroyed in Ossory by Cainnech of Aghaboe 597].

 

C 556 - Saint Ruadhain, founder of Lothra, County Tipperary, one of the 12 Apostles of Ireland, d 584. Son of Birra of the Eoganachta of Munster, known for his prophesies. The Dictionary of Saints states that Ruadan was born in Leinster and became a disciple of Saint Finian of Clonard.  Replaced Saint Brendan the Navigator at Lorrha when Brendan set up his monastery at Clonfert, Co. Galway. His embassy in 556 to King Diarmait mac Cerbaill at Tara is worked into a legend known as the "Curse of Tara", but the high-king continued to reside at Tara till his death in 564. The legend as to Tara's halls having been deserted after 564 is of comparatively late origin. Adomnan held a synod at Tara in 697.

 

558 - Saint Fiachra mac Colmain, Abbot of Armagh d, succeeded by Saint Fedelmid Find, Abbot [JM has C 567 Feidlimid becomes Bishop of Armagh to 579].  

 

560 - Saint Cainnech of Aghaboe in Ossory (515/16–600) founds Finglas Abbey in Dublin. He is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.  He wrote a commentary on the Gospels, which for centuries was known as the Glas-Choinnigh or the Chain of Cainnech. Links with Wales at Llancarfan.

 

C 560 – Saint Colmán of Cloyne, founder of Cloyne, Munster 504/530-606.  He and Columcille are said to have written first book on Patrick’s miracles, Bethu Phatraic. One of the earliest known Irish poets to write in the vernacular. An early tale known as 'Conall Corc and the Corco Loígde', which survives only as part of the Irish genealogical tract in MS Laud 610, includes a few brief notes on the saint - a rough approximate of C 700 or earlier has been suggested. Colmán is also believed to have founded Killagha AbbeyCounty Kerry. 'Royal poet of Munster'. Several of his Irish poems are still extant, notably a metrical panegyric on Saint Brendan. Colgan mentions a metrical Life of Saint Senan by him.  His surviving verses date from the period 565 and 604, and are among the earliest examples of Irish writing in the Latin alphabet. He is commonly thought to have composed 'Luin oc laib', a poem in praise of Domnall mac Muirchertaig d 566, King of Tara, and another poem on the death of Áed Sláine d. 604, King of the UÍ Néill. 

 

563/564 - Saint Laisrén mac Nad Froích / Mo Laisse d. Founder of a monastery at Devenish / Daim-inis / Ox-island.

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Saint Naile, founder of Kinnawley, d. Abbot of St Naul's Abbey, Inver, County Donegal and Devenish Island, where he succeeded Saint Mo Laisse.

 

565-566 - Saint Gildas in Ireland, while Ainmire mac Setnai High King, exchanging copy of Isidore of Seville’s Encyclopaedia for Tain Bo Culaigne.  

 

565/573 - Saint Brendan of Birr d [AC has 574 Brendan byror dormitatio]. 

 

569 – Dewi Sant’s victory at the Synod of Brefi, assisted by Saint Finian of Clonard, leaves 1/3 or ¼ of Irish monasteries following his austere rule.

 

569/570/577 - [IA] Oenu Abbot of Clonmacnoise d [JM has abbot 547-570].

 

Pre 570/577 - [JM] Saint Mo-Choemog / Coemgen of Liath Mor,  d 654, founder of Antrim, Leix, then Liath Mor. 

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Death of Saint Mo-Nenn / Moennen of Cloncurry, Kildare. 

 

Pre 572 - Saint Máedóc / Aidan of Ferns C 558-632 studies with Dewi Sant at Menevia in Dyfed. Founder and first bishop of Ferns in County Wexford. 

 

574/575/588 - Convention of Druim Ceit / Druim Cett /  Drumceat / Drum Ceat in County Derry attended by Colmcille and Aedan mac Gabhrain settles relations between Ireland and Dal Riada, which recognises authority of Aed mac Ainmerech, High King and allots Dal Riada authority over Ulster.  It frees Dal Riada from tribute to the High King but retains its military service; it achieves a concordat between church and state and an agreement between Irish monarchy and Dal Riada.  In an alternative view, it is an attempt to prevent Ulaid extension of power into Alba: Áed mac Ainmuirech of Northern Uí Néill and Áedán mac Gabráin of Dál Riata make an alliance, fostered by Saint Columba, a member of the Cenél Conaill like Áed, to oppose Báetán's attempts to increase his power by extending Dál Fiatach influence beyond Hibernia. Bishop Baeithin Mor / the Great of Bangor attends the Convention.  Political convention, not a synod. Clergy are from Ulster.

 

Post 575 -Saint Farannan, companion of Columcille, founds Allfarannan, Sligo. 

 

576 - [IA] Eogan Bishop of Rashee d 617/618/619. Founder of Kilnamanagh, in the Wicklow Hills, Leinster.  After presiding over the Abbey of Kilnamanagh, Co. Wicklow for fifteen years, he settled in the valley of Mourne, Co. Tyrone C 576. He was followed by many disciples including his kinsman, Saint Kevin of Glendalough.

 

576/577/583/587 - Saint Brendan of Clonfert d [other has 578; JM has 564]. 

 

578 - Saint Fedelmid Find, Abbot of Armagh d, succeeded by Saint Carláen, Bishop [JM 579-589; IA has 577-578 - Feidlimid Finn Abbot & Bishop of Armagh d; JM has d 579].

 

578/579/580 - [IA] Saint Finnian of Moville, Bishop of Ui Fiatach d [JM and Wikipedia have 589; JEF has as Saint Uinniau dies 581; Carney in DOC has 579]. [JM] Saint Finnian of Moville succeeded by Sinell, Bishop of the Ui Fiatach.

 

Post 578 – Saint Finan Cam of the Corco Duibhne, Munster, pupil and companion of Saint Brendan of Clonfert on his voyages, founds monastery of Cenn Etigh / Kinnitty, Offaly.

 

C 580 – [Carney in DOC] poem ‘Conailla Medb michuru’ on the clearance of the Desi composed.

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Saint Carthacus Junior / Mo-Chutu of Rahan, Offaly, d 639. Founded Rahan before 580. 867 monks at Rahan. Wrote own rule. Bishop of the Ciarraige.   Expelled from Rahan 638 by Diarmait and Blathmac Kings of the southern Ui Neill, succeeded by Constantine King of Cornubia [Constantine King of Dumnonia C 530-589].   Received Lismore from Kings of Desi and Munster.  

 

583/584/590 - Saint Fergus of Downpatrick Bishop of Dunleithglaise / Down d. 

 

584 - [IA] Saint Nathcomi / Mo-Chaeme, Abbot of Terryglass d [other has 589 death of Nathcomi, brother of Saint Coemgen / Kevin of Glendalough, Wicklow].

 

C 584 - [JM] Saint Lugid / Mo-Lua, founder of Clonfert Mulloe, Leix, Ossory.  Confessor of Maedoc of Ferns. 554-612. 

 

584/585/587/589 - [IA] Saint Mac Nisse Abbot of Clanmacnoise d.

 

C 585-589 – [WSK] Saint Columba founds Durrow monastery.

 

586 - [JM has 589] death of Saint Dagaeus, teacher of Berachus of Kilbarry, Roscommon. Of Insihkeen, Monaghan. One of the 3 artisans of Ireland. Founded many monasteries, especially for women. Taught at Devenish. Craftsman in iron, silver, gold, bronze, and wrote books. 

 

587 – [JM] death of Ruadan.

 

587/588 - [IA] Carláen Bishop of Armagh and Senach Bishop of Clonard d [JM has d 589; IA has 604].

 

588 - Áed Dub/Black mac Suibni King of Ulster / Ulaid d.  Adomnán of Iona's Life of Saint Columba states that Áed Dub was ordained as a priest, an ordination that Adomnán describes as a sham. When Columba learned of this, he prophesied that although Áed would live for many years to come, he "will return as a dog to his vomit; he will again be a bloody murderer and in the end, killed by a spear, he will fall from wood into water and die drowning." Áed was perhaps deposed, or abdicated, and spent time in Britain in a monastery before returning to Ulster to try to regain his throne. Áed was killed aboard a ship on Lough Neagh. 

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Saint Aedh, b C 520, founder and Bishop of Killare, west Meath d.   

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Saint Colmán of Dromore / Mocholmóc b 555/558 [other has C 514] d 611/613.  He was the first abbot of Muckmore, in County Antrim, and afterwards was persuaded by Saint Mac Nissi to settle at Dromore C 514, His followers observed a very strict rule of discipline. Saint Finnian of Movilla is believed to have been a former monk of Dromore. Colman is said to have baptised Saint Declán of Ardmore.  [JM] Colman travelled to Rome and returned via Wales, where 'he delivered, revived and taught a still-born Saint David'. Confounded druids. 

 

589 – [JM] Death of Saint Aed mac Bricc founder of Rahugh, County Westmeath, patron saint of the Uí Néill and a descendant of Fiachu mac Néill.  Life in the Codex Salmanticensis presents Áed as a peacemaker between Munster and the Uí Néill, and between Mide and Tethbae.  An early Latin Life of Áed, perhaps dating from the period 750–850, survives. Áed seems to have had a profound interest in the well-being of religious women. Founded Enach Midbren, Co. Tipperary and Slieve League near Carrick, Donegal.  

 

590 – [JM] Death of Aedh of Tethba.

 

C 590 – Saint Colmán mac Daire Bishop of Derrymore, Leamakevogue, founder of Kilmacduagh. 

 

592 - Áed Dub mac Colmáin of Kildare King of Leinster abdicates and enters Kildare monastery.

 

593 - Aed mac Maic Cathair Abbot of Birr d.

 

595 – death of Saint Berach of Termonbarry, disciple of Saint Kevin celebrated in County Roscommon.  Father of Saint Ronan of Dromiskin.  He built the church at Cluain Coirpthe, now known as Termonbarry. Berach's sister, Saint Midabaria, was founder abbess of a nunnery at Bumlin. 

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Saint Colman of Templeshambo, Connacht d. The sphere of his ministry lay in the present County Wexford. 

 

595/599/602 - [IA] Alithir Abbot of Clonmacnoise d.

 

C 596 - Saint Mo-Chua of Timahoe, Leix 566-656. Founder of Timahoe; built in Hibernia and Alba then built Derenish on Loch Cavan. Possibly Bishop Caranus in Aberdeen. 

 

Post 597 - Hibernian Saint Fintán / Munnu / Mun of Taghmon, County Wexford, Leinster, d 635.  Returned to Hibernia to found Teach-munnu / House of Munnu. He opposed the adoption of the Roman method for determining the date of Easter but after the delegation was sent to Rome, withdrew his opposition.  

 

598 - [JM has 601] Eochu mac Diarmaid, Abbot [IA has and Bishop] of Armagh dies, succeeded by Saint Senach, Abbot [JM has 601-612]. 

 

By C 600 – [DOC] writing in the vernacular established.

 

 601 / 604 - 607 / 612 - Áed Uaridnach, High King of Ireland, King of Tara, founder of church at Fahan, County Donegal, Ulster with Saint Mura. 

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Saint Mura b C 550 appointed Abbot of Fahan by Saint Columba. The monastery was anciently known as Othan Mor, but after the death of the saint was called Fahan Mura. He wrote many works, including chronicles and a rhymed Life of Columba, which is quoted in the Martyrology of Donegal. He is regarded as a patron saint of the O'Neill clan, d C 645.

 

603 - [JM] Comgall Abbot of Bangor d [also 605; JEF has 604], two abbots before Sillan. 

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[IA] Bishop Sillan of Bangor d [other has 606/610/612 – Sillan mac Cummine Bishop of Bangor d; other has 607 Sinlan Moccu Minister Abbot of Bangor, compiler of first Irish annals, d; JM has 612]. [JM] Sillan probable author of the Computus and Disputatio Morini of 607; DOC has Sinilis / Mo-Sinu maccu Min d 610].

 

C 604/610 - Dagan, Bishop of Inverdaoile, Wexford, takes Rule of Saint Molua to Rome for approval of Pope Gregory.  Dagán is known from a letter written by Archbishop Saint Laurence of Canterbury to the Hibernian bishops and abbots, in which Laurence attempted to persuade the Hibernian clergy to accept the Roman method of calculating the date of Easter. Dagán is mentioned in the letter as having recently arrived in Kent. Laurence mentions that Dagán had refused to either share a roof with the Roman missionaries or to eat with them. The full mention of Dagán is "But we have learned from bishop Dagán who came to the above-mentioned island [Britannia] and from abbot Columbanus in Gaul, that they [the Irish clergy] do not differ from the Britons in their way of life. For when Bishop Dagan came to us he refused to take food, not only with us but even in the very house where we took meals." Wexford, Leinster near Palladius’s landing, remains prominent in Irish church affairs.

 

605/606 - [IA; JM has 609] Beogain Abbot of Bangor d.

 

606 – [JM] death of Saint Colmán of Cloyne. 

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[JM] Death of Saint Fintan of Clonenagh, leaving abbey to Fintan Maeldubh.

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Saint Finbarr C 550-623, Bishop of Cork and founder in 606 then abbot of a monastery in Cork. He is patron saint of that city and of the Diocese of Cork. Renamed Fionnbharra / Fairhead.  He went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the monks, visiting 'Saint David in Wales' on the way back. He settled for about the last 17 years of his life in the area then known as Corcach Mór na Mumhan / the Great Marsh of Munster, now the city of Cork, which became an important centre of learning.

 

607 - Sinell, Abbot of Moville d. 

 

609 - [IA] Senach Abbot of Armagh d. [AC has 606 Dispositio cinauc episcopi; other has 610 Saint Senach, Abbot of Armagh d, succeeded by Saint Mac Laisre, Abbot; JM has Mac Laisre as Abbot 612-624].

 

609/614/615 - [IA] Luicell / To-Lua Fota / the Tall Abbot of Clonmacnoise d.

 

Post 609 – Saint Flannan of Killaloe takes over monastery at Killaloe founded by Saint Molua.  ? He evangelises in Alba. 

 

610 – Dagan, Bishop of Inverdaoile, Wexford, sent to Canterbury to meet Saint Laurentius.

 

C 610 - Saint Cronan (d 640) founds Roscrea Abbey. 

 

611 - [IA has 615] Diarmait 3rd Abbot of Clonard d.  

 

612 - Saint Fintan [JM d 637] / Mocu Moie of Taghmon, Wexford becomes a leper. Not permitted to stay in Iona, settled in Eile. 615 offered Bangor on Comgall’s death but went to Taghmon. At synod of Mag Ailbe spoke for old rite.  

 

612/613/615 - [IA] Fintan of Antrim Abbot of Bangor d.

 

613 – [JM] Saint Colmán of Dromore / Mocholmóc, founder of Lynally, Offaly and Muckmore, d [other has 611]. 

 

616-617 - Saint Petran Bishop of Lusk, Dublin, Leinster d.

 

617/618/619 - Bishop Saint Comgall of Leinster, and Eogan Bishop of Rashee, Ardstraw, Ulster d. 

 

618 - [JM] Death of Saint Kevin of Glendalough, Wicklow, brother of Saint Colman Elo and Nathcomi, Abbot of Terryglass, founder of Glendalough, north Leinster.

 

619 – Saint Mo-Chua / Crónán mac Bécáin founds Balla - d 637/640. His death in 637 is included in the Annals of the Four Masters [JM has 584-640]. 

 

621 – [JM] Sillan Abbot of Moville d.

 

622/623/624 - [IA] Saint Mac Laisre Abbot and Bishop of Armagh d [other has 623 Saint Mac Laisre, Abbot of Armagh d succeeded by Saint Tómméne, Bishop; JM has 624-660]. 

 

623 – death of Saint Finbarr of Cork. 

 

624/625 - [IA] Colman Stellan Abbot of Terryglass d.

 

630 - Áed Dub mac Colmáin/Áed(h) of Kildare ex-King of Leinster becomes Bishop of Kildare.  

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​631-633 – [other has 631-634] Hibernian deputation in Rome for advice on Easter.  Letter of Pope Honorius to the Hibernians.

 

632 – [Carney in DOC] Mor Muman, daughter of Aed Bennan of the Eoganacht of Loch Lein d. 

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Saint Maedoc / Aedan of Ferns d [JM has 627].  

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Death of Saint Colman mac Duagh / Duach C 560-632.

 

632-633 - 2nd Southern Hibernian Synod at Mag-Ailbe/ Mag-Lena near Slievemargy in Offaly; Saint Laisren / Molaisse, Abbot of Leighlin and 'first missionary to Connacht' d C 639, advocates Roman Easter and Fintan / Munnu Abbot of Taghmon the Celtic.  Southern Hibernians go over to Roman Easter.  Abbot Cummian of Durrow writes unsuccessfully to Abbot Seghene of Iona to persuade him of Roman Easter. Durrow was a foundation of Colm Cille in Leinster. Bishop Ailbe, coarb of Imblech-Ibair, Saint Ciaran Abbot of Clonmacnoise, Saint Brendan, Nessan, and Lugid / Mo-Lua, patron saint of Clonferta-Molua in Leix attend synod [other has 630-633 Southern Irish accept Roman date for Easter].

 

634 - Death of St. Ernin of Cluain. Mentioned in the Martyrology of Donegal, Ernin of Cluain is called the son of Craskin in Adamnan's Life of St. Columba.  The Annals of Roscrea state that he d 634.  

 

637/639 - Saint Mo Chutu mac Fínaill / Carthage founder and first abbot of Lismore, County Waterford. 

 

638 - [CP] Laisren Abbot of Leighlin d [or 639; JM has 641].

 

639 – Saint Áed Dub mac Colmáin of Kildare, ex-King of Leinster, Bishop of Kildare d.

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Cronan, Bishop of Caondruim, d.

 

C 639 – [JM] death of Cuanu of Kilcoona, Galway, author of the lost annals The Book of Cuanu.

 

640 – Pope-elect John IV writes letter to Abbot Seghene of Iona; Saint Tómméne, Bishop of Armagh; unidentified Bishop Baitan VII; Abbot Saint Ernanus of Tory Island and others, including: Laistranus / ? Lasrian of Ard mic Nisca; Scellanus, perhaps Scellan, the Leper of Armagh, perhaps Sillan or Stellan; and Saran / Saran Ua Critain sapiens.  

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Ernan of Torach, Bishop of Tory Island, off northeast coast of Donegal, Ulster, d 650. Columba had founded a church and monastery on the island of Torach or Tory, off the northwest coast of Donegal. Ernan may have accompanied Columba initially to Torach. 

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[JM] death of Saint Cronan mac Ui Logde, Abbot of Clonmacnoise.  

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[JM] Saran d 661. May be Saran of the Delbna of Dai Cais, Tigh Saran / Tisaran, Clonmacnoise.

 

C 640 - Tomene mac Ronain becomes Abbot and Bishop of Armagh.

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Saint Nath Í founds Achonry in Connacht. 

641 – death of Saint Dagan / ?Dagamus of Ennereilly [other has 639 Bishop Dagan of Inbher Daeile / Ennereilly d]. 

 

645 - [other has 642; JM has 644] Saint Cronan Beg, Bishop of Nendrum d.  One of the addressees of the 640 papal letter on the Easter issue. 

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[DOC] Synchronistic verses ‘Deus a quo facta fuit’ on the six ages of the world.

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Saint Manchan founds Liath Mancháin.

 

647 / 649 – Saint Cronan Abbot of Movilla d. It is thought that he was one of those mentioned as Cromanus Presbyter in the papal letter of 640 on the Paschal dating controversy.  

 

C 650 - Cogitosus’s Life of Saint Brigit

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See of Kildare unsuccessfully suggested as primate of Ireland. 

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Book of Durrow written. 

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[CP] fl Laisren Mac Masca, Abbot of Ard mic Nasca.  

 

652 – death of Manchán sapiens, scholar and Abbot of Min Droichit, County Offaly, Ossory. 

 

652/653/654 – Saint Colman mac Ui Telduib / Mocolmoc, 4th Abbot and Bishop of Clonard, d [CP or 654; JM suggests was Columbanus, to whom Pope John IV wrote in 640 and d 654]. Mocolmoc, Cluana Iraird, in the Martyrology of Tallagh.  Nephew to Saint Finian of Clonard. 

 

656 – [JM] King Dagobert, the last independent Merovingian King, tonsured and exiled to a monastery in Ireland [? Slane, to 676].  

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[JM] death of Saint Mo-Chua of Timahoe, Leix 566-656.

 

657 – Dimma Bishop of Connor d. ? Addressed by Pope John IV in the letter of 640.  

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Death of Saint Ultan of Ardbraccan, Meath. [JM has d 655, Abbot of Louth, successor to Saint Fursey at Louth 649; DOC has d 657; the Annals of Clonmacnoise have Ultan's death 653].  He 'was the maternal uncle of Saint Brigid,' and collected a Life of her for his pupil, Saint Brogan Cloen of Rostuirc, on Ossory. The Irish Annals describe Ultan as of the royal race of O'Connor. Ultan was a disciple and kinsman of Saint Declán, who made him bishop of Ardbraccan. He succeeded Saint Breccan as Abbot-Bishop of Ardbraccan about the year 570. Ultan founded a school, educating and feeding its poor students, and was noted for his work in collecting the writings of Saint Brigid and illuminating them [DOC has him writing life of Brigid, one of three earliest Irish hagiographies, all on Brigid, the first by Cogitosus, the 3rd by Aileran ‘the Wise’]. He was also known for his beautiful hymns. His Latin hymn, commencing "Christus in nostra insula", is incorporated in the Solesmes Chant Books. He is believed to have been Bishop of Meath.

 

658 – [CP] Sillan, Bishop of Devenish d.

  

C 658 - Dima Dubh, Bishop of Connor d.

 

C 660-670s – Saint Tírechán bishop and biographer of Saint Patrick. Tírechán wrote his untitled memoir (so-called because it is written in the first person, as though the author was Patrick) sometime after the death of his mentor, Saint Ultan of Ardbraccan, in 657. The work survives in the manuscript Book of Armagh.

 

661 - Máenach mac Fíngin, King of the Eoganachta in Munster d succeeded by Bishop Saint Ségéne. 

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Cynifrid ex-Abbot of Gilling d of the plague in Ireland.  

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Death of Saint Cumméne Fota, Bishop and Lector of Clonfert.  Cumméne Fota was an important theological writer, famous for a Paschal letter of five manuscript folios, containing quotes from the Vulgate and Vetus Latina Bible; patristic commentary by Augustine, Jerome, Cyprian, Origen, Ambrosiaster and Gregory the Great; extracts from Canon law, ecclesiastical history and synodal decrees from Nicaea and Arelate / Arles in their original forms, in addition to a decretum that enjoined on the Irish that, if all else failed, they should take their problems to Rome. He may have written a computistical manual, and a commentary on Mark. As Cummianus Longus he may be the author of a penitential, and a hymn on the apostles.

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[DOC] Laidcend mac Baith Bandaig, author of epitome of Gregory the Great’s Moralia in Iob d.

 

662 – [CP] Bishops Dimna and Seghine Mac Ua Cuinn d [or 663].  Dimna had been bishop of Mercia before Ceadda.  

 

664 – Saint Colman of Lindisfarne lands in Connacht, with Saint Gerald of Mayo of the Saxons, given land by King Cellachus mac Rhagallach and builds Mayo. Gerald’s sister Sigresia founds convent for 100 nuns at Elitheria / ? Alither. 

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Saint Gerald of Mayo d 726. Born in Northumbria, ? son of a king, he was one of the English monks at Lindisfarne who accompanied Colmán of Lindisfarne to Iona and then to Ireland.  This occurred after the Synod of Whitby 664 which decided against the Celtic Church's method of calculating the date for Easter. They left Lindisfarne and settled on Inishboffin off the coast of County Galway in 668. Gerald became the first Abbot of the monastery of Mayo after disputes arose among the monks on the island. The Anglo-Saxons were disgruntled by the behaviour of the native monks, who would leave Inishboffin to preach around the rest of the country for the duration of the summer while the Anglo-Saxon monks were left to tend to the island. Saint Colman resolved the dispute by founding the monastery at Mayo and settling them there with Gerald as abbot.  [1st Anglo-Saxon to found a monastery in Ireland].

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Death of Saint Manchán mac Silláin patron of Lemanaghan, County Offaly, having been one of the saints who prayed for a plague to reduce over-population. Manchán is said to have founded his monastery C 645 after being provided land by Saint Ciarán. In 644, Diarmuid, high king of Ireland, stopped at Clonmacnoise while on his way to battle Guaire, the King of Connacht. There he asked for the monk's prayer and when he emerged from battle victorious Diarmuid granted St. Ciarán the land of "the island in the bog," now known as Leamonaghan. The only condition was that Ciarán was to send one of his monks to Christianize the land, that being Manchán, who established a monastery.

 

664/665 - Saint Féchín / Mo-Ecca d of plague; founder of monasteries at Fobar, County Westmeath and Cong, Connacht. 

 

665 - Baeithin Abbot and Bishop of Bangor d [JM has 667].

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[DOC] death of Aileran the Wise, author of Life of Brigid and Quam in primo speciosa quadriga on Eusebius’s gospel canons. 

 

666 – [JM] death of Saint Ronan mac Berach founder of Dromiskin, Louth.

 

667 - Saint Colman founds Inisboffin off the west coast of Connacht and d there 674/675.

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[CP and UA] plague in Ireland. 

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[JM] ? Death of Faolan, pupil of Coemgen.

 

669 – death of Saint Ethernan [JEF has 668-669].

 

670 – death of Sinell, Bishop of Moville.

 

C 678 - Saint Willibrord a monk in the Abbey of Rathmelsigi /Rath Melsigi in Connaught (till C 690). 

 

678-683 – [TMC in DOC] Cain Fuirthirbe, 1st written Irish laws.

 

679 - Cennfaelad, author of The Little Primer, d.

 

680 – death of Saint Finan Lobhair of Swords, Dublin. 

 

682 - [DOC] Suibne mac Maele Umai, princeps of Cork, d.

 

687 - [DOC] Roissene, successor to Suibne mac Maele Umai of the Ui Maic Brocc, princeps of Cork, d.

 

688 - Saint Ségéne, Bishop of Armagh d, succeeded by Forannán [JM has 688-689].

 

689 - Forannán, Bishop of Armagh d, succeeded by Saint Fland Feblae mac Scandláin, Abbot and Bishop [JM has 689-715].  

Pre 692 – [DOC] Bangor antiphonary put together.

 

696 – [JM] death of Saint Moling founder of Tech Moling / Saint Mullin’s, Carlow.  Principal saint of South Leinster [Wikipedia has 614–697]. One of the four great prophets of Erin. There is a tradition that Mo Ling is Saint Myllin, who travelled to Wales, baptised people at the holy well in Llanfyllin, Powys, and founded the church there. Mo Ling was a monk at Glendalough and went on to become Bishop of Ferns. Bede describes Saint Moling as a "good and wise man, excellently versed in the knowledge of the Scriptures".

 

697 - Hibernian bishops and abbots at Synod of Birr (Adamnan’s Synod), led by Flann Feblae, Bishop and Abbot of Armagh, including Muirchu and Aed Bishop of Sletty, accept Roman rite and endorse Saint Adomnan’s code of war, the Cáin Adomnáin / Law of Innocents.   The witness list includes Faradach, grandson of Artur; Bécc Bairrche mac Blathmaic King of Ulster / Ulaid; Fland mac Máele Tuile King of Ailech and brother Urthuile mac Máele Tuile; Saint Ecgberht.

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Muirchú moccu Machtheni, monk in Leinster, best known for his Vita sancti Patricii / de Patricia peritia / The Life of Saint Patrick, which is contained in the Book of Armagh, and is one of the first accounts of the famous C 5 saint, and which credits Patrick with the conversion of Ireland in advance of the spread of monasticism. This work was dedicated to Bishop Aedh of Slébte, who was also the one who suggested the life be written, and was the patron for the work. [JM has Muirchu fl 697, son of Cogitosus].  

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Bishop Aedh of Slébte, bishop of Sletty, County Laois, Leinster, and patron of Muirchu Maccu Machteni.  On his death, he subjected his church to that of Bishop Segenus Armagh in the hope that Armagh's authority would be much less burdensome than Kildare's might have been. Present at Synod of Birr, 697. Possible author of 'Fiacc’s Hymn'; d 700.  

 

Pre 700 – [Carney in DOC] composition of 'Echtrai Condli' /  'The Expedition of Condle the Fair'.

 

715 - Saint Fland Feblae mac Scandláin, Abbot and Bishop of Armagh d, succeeded by Saint Suibne nepos mac Crundmail, Bishop 725-730, at the time when High King Flaithbertach takes the tonsure there in 730.

 

C 725 – [DOC] Collectio Canonum Hibernensis compiled by Ruben of Dairinis and Cu Chuimne of Iona [TMC has 716-725].

 

727 - Relics of Saint Adomnnan placed in a portable shrine in Iona and brought to Ireland by Abbot Cillene Droichtech of Iona to establish peace between the Cenel Conaill and the Cenel nEogain after they fight; Adomnan’s Law is promulgated anew.  

 

730 - Saint Suibne nepos mac Crundmail, Bishop of Armagh d succeeded by Congus, Bishop and Scribe.

 

737 - Irish Annals imply for the first time Saint Patrick’s spiritual overlordship of all Ireland – Lex Patricii tenuit Hiberniam – following a conference at Terryglass between Aedh Allan, King of Ailech, High King of Ireland and Cathal King of Munster.  

 

The pattern of conversion was:

 

Slow – the last confrontation with an arch druid was in Ossory in 597.

 

Initially on the coast, with Palladius’s team landing at Wicklow in Leinster, and with three groups thereafter: the first around his Leinster settlement; the second south along the coast of Munster; the third north along the coast of Ulster.

 

Missions then went into the interior: Secundinus going to Meath, then moving to Armagh in Ulster; and inland missions in Leinster.

 

Munster was slower to have inland missions and it was not till C 530 that they reached its west coast.

No major figures or foundations were made in Connacht till 550.

 

Large schools were founded swiftly in Armagh and Emly before 501, later in Clonard C 520, then in many places.

 

Contacts with the British church were kept, notably from the Leinster area, but all areas had clergy studying in Menevia, Llantwit Major and Llancarfan in the early to mid C 6.  Whitchurch / Rosnat remained an important spiritual and teaching site into the C 7.

 

Learning in Irish monasteries flourished greatly from the C 7.

 

Roman links were more evident in the south than in Ulster, which hung on longer to the Celtic Easter.

Although the Irish church grew out of, and in parallel with, the British and Armorican, and had some similar features based on tribalism/regionalism, monasticism and family control, it had others that were different:

 

A much smaller number of saints of royal lineages; there are 9 only in this period.

 

Only 3 rulers who were clerics and those occasioned censure:

 

588 – Aed Dub mac Suebni, King of Ulster, ordained to Saint Columba’s disgust.

 

630 – Saint Aed Dub mac Colmain, ex-King of Leinster, becomes Bishop of Kildare, but after abdicating.

 

661 – Bishop Saint Segene succeeds Maenal mac Fingan as King of the Erganacht of Munster.

 

Only 1 ruler who became a Saint - Saint Aed Dub mac Colmain, ex-King of Leinster, Bishop of Kildare in 630.

 

Only 1 ruler credited with founding a monastery – 601 King Aed Uaridnac, High King / King of Tara, is co-founder of Fahan alongside Saint Mura.

 

Despite the fact that Irish clergy were in a few cases cases very powerful politically (eg Saint Columba), and many were involved in politics (eg attempting to mediate between warring kings), they seem to have kept a clearer division between church and state than did the British.

 

The commitment of resources to religion in Ireland in this period matches, if not exceeds, that in Britain.  There is no political or social explanation offered so far for this. 

© 2014 Nigel Collett All Rights Reserved