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St. Darerca




St. Darerca, of Ireland, a sister of St. Patrick. Much obscurity attaches to her history, and it is not easy to disentangle the actual facts of her history from the network of legend which medieval writers interwove with her acts. However, her fame, apart from her relationship to Ireland's national apostle, stands secure as not only a great saint but as the mother of many saints. When St. Patrick visited Bredach, as we read in the "Tripartite Life," he ordained Aengus mac Ailill, the local chieftain of Moville, now a seaside resort for the citizens of Derry. Whilst there he found "the three deacons," his sister's sons, namely, St. Reat, St. Nenn, and St. Aedh, who are commemorated respectively on 3 March, 25 April, and 31 August. St. Darerca was twice married, her second husband, Chonas, founded the church of Both-chonais, now Binnion, Parish of Clonmany, in the barony of Inishowen, County Donegal. She had families by both husbands, some say seventeen sons, all of whom, according to Colgan, became bishops. From the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick" it is evident that there were four sons of Darerca by Chonas, namely four bishops, St. Mel of Ardagh, St. Rioc of Inisboffin, St. Muinis of Forgney, County Longford, and St. Maelchu. It is well to note that another St. Muinis, son of Gollit, is described as of Tedel in Ara-cliath.

St. Darerca had two daughters, St. Eiche of Kilglass and St. Lalloc of Senlis. Her first husband was Restitutus the Lombard, after whose death she married Chonas the Briton. By Restitutus she was mother of St. Sechnall of Dunshaughlin; St. Nectan of Killunche, and of Fennor (near Slane); of St. Auxilius of Killossey (near Naas, County Kildare); of St. Diarmaid of Druim-corcortri (near Navan); of Dabonna, Mogornon, Drioc, Luguat, and Coemed Maccu Baird (the Lombard) of Cloonshaneville, near Frenchpark, County Roscommon. Four other sons are assigned her by old Irish writers, namely St. Crummin of Lecua, St. Miduu, St. Carantoc, and St. Maceaith. She is identical with Liamania, according to Colgan, but must not be confounded with St. Monennia, or Darerca, whose feast is on 6 July. St. Darerca is honoured on 22 March, and is patroness of Valencia Island.

STOKES, The Tripartite Life of St. Patrick (Rolls Series, London, 1887); COLGAN, Trias Thaumaturga (Louvain, 1647); ARCHDALL, Monasticon Hibernicum, ed. MORAN (Dublin, 1873-76); COLGAN, Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ (Louvain, 1645); Martyrology of Donegal (Dublin, 1864); O'HANLON, Lives of the Irish Saints(Dublin, 1879), III; HEALY, Life and Writings of St. Patrick (Dublin, 1905).

W. H. Grattan-Flood.








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