ST. JARLATH, C. FIRST BISHOP OF TUAM IN IRELAND
HE flourished about the beginning of the sixth
century, and is not to be confounded with Jarlath, archbishop of
Armagh, who was a disciple of St. Patrick, an Ulster-man, and the son
of Trien. Our St. Jarlath was a Connaught-man, of the family of
Cormac, and was educated from his youth under Binen or Benignus,
archbishop of Armagh, by whom he was promoted to holy orders. Leaving
this great master, he retired to Cluainfois, (so called from cluain,
a retreat or a lurking-place, and fos, a dwelling, or fois,
leisure,) a solitary place in Conmacne, now in the county of Galway,
near Tuam. Here he founded a monastery which retained this name, and
is now a chapel within the parish of Tuam. In this monastery St.
Jarlath opened a famous school, to which numbers flocked for
education in piety and learning, among whom the great St. Brendan,
abbot of Clonfert, and St. Colman, first bishop of Cluain-uamha, or
Cloyne, laid the foundation of their eminent virtue under the
discipline of St. Jarlath. Our saint was called from this employment
to be consecrated first bishop of Tuam, anciently called
Tuaim-da-Gualan, which church was afterwards dedicated in his memory,
and called Tempull-Jarlaith, or Jarlaith’s church. He died full
of days on the 26th of December, about the year 540. His bones were
afterwards placed in a silver shrine, and deposited in a church at
Tuam, called from thence Tempull-na-scrin, that is, church of the
shrine. His chief festival was kept at Tuam on the 6th of June, the
day of the translation of his relics.
Some bishops of this see were styled
metropolitans, and archbishops of Connaught. At length it was
regularly erected into an archbishopric, with the concession of a
pall in 1152. Two other sees were afterwards united to this of Tuam;
1st, that of Enaghdune, reduced to a parish under Tuam, by a
union of the sees in the fourteenth century; and 2d, that of
Mayo, founded by St. Gerald, an English-Saxon, who accompanied St.
Colman from Lindisfarne into Ireland. St. Colman erected a monastery
at Mayo for his English-Saxon followers, called from them
Mayo-na-Sasson, i.e. Mayo of the Saxons. St. Gerald, who is
honored on the 13th of March enlarged this monastery, and erected it
into a bishopric about the year 685 (see Colgan, Act., p. 599.) The
see of Mayo was united to Tuam in 1560 On St. Jarlath, see Ware, p.
602; Usher’s Prim., p. 994; Colgan in MSS.