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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

From Drumlease Patrick still going north-east ascended the rising ground of Almaige, which seems to mean the cliff of the plain; and there he founded a church which we take to be the same as that described in the Tripartite as founded ‘amongst the tribe of Muinremar in the glens eastward of Drumlease.’ This description, quite exact as usual, points to the old Church of Domnachmore Aelmaigh in the townland that still bears the old name in the parish of Clooncare close to Manorhamilton. ‘Patrick’s two nostrils dropped blood on the road,’ perhaps from his exertions in climbing the hill. It would appear he then sat down to rest himself. “Patrick’s flagstone is there, and Patrick’s hazel—by which perhaps he sat—a little distance from the church westward. He set up there. Sraith Patraic—Patrick’s Meadow—it is named to-day. Domnach Sratha its name before. Patrick rested on Sunday there, and this is his only church in that territory.” The details were evidently given by an eye witness, who had gone over the ground, for they are minutely exact in every particular, and leave no reasonable doubt as to the location of Domnach Sratha, afterwards called Domnachmore.

The learned and judicious Reeves raises a difficulty here. He says the tribe of Muinremar were located in the Glynns of Antrim, and that this passage is here inserted out of its place. But there is no sign of insertion out of place in the Tripartite, and we find the same order in Tirechan, so that we can hardly assume an interpretation in both places of a wrongly-placed passage. The learned Dr. O’Rorke places this ‘Srath Patraic’ near Collooney, on the left bank of the Unshion river, but the text clearly states that it was ‘eastward’ of Drumlease, so we think his view is quite untenable. The learned writer was, perhaps, unconsciously desirous of doing honour to his own parish.

We know that many of the old tribes of that district were driven out of it by the Hy Neill, especially by Cairbre and Conal, so that there might be a tribe of the Muinremar in the Glynns of North Leitrim then and long afterwards, although some of them had fled from Conal’s conquering sword far away to the Glens of Antrim.

We have no hesitation in locating the place as north-eastward of Drumlease, in the valley near Manorhamilton which lead out into Magh Ene, the route exactly laid down by Tirechan and the Tripartite.

From this Domnach Sratha it is more probable that Patrick went north through the Glenade and not the Glencar Valley. Our opinion is that he went due north through Glenade, for it was the usual route, and in this way we can best reconcile the statements of Tirechan and the Tripartite. Tirechan says he went from Domnach Almaige (or Domnach Stratha), where he had remained three days, into Magh Ene—‘Campum Aine,’ and founded a church there, which the Tripartite calls Domnach Mor Maige Ene; and which we take to be the old church of Rossinver, about a mile north of Glenade, where the valley opens into the plain—Magh Ene. Then, Tirechan adds, ‘Patrick returned towards Euoi and the plain of Cetni.’ Euoi is the same as Eabha, and the name is still kept in the well-known appellation of Magherow (Maghera Eabha), the great plain along the sea from Grange to Knocklane. Cetni is the famous Magh gCedne, the Plain of the Tributes. It is not, as O’Donovan asserts, identical with the plain of Magh Ene. Tirechan clearly distinguishes between Campus Aine, that is Magh Ene, and Campus Cetni, or Magh gCedne, for he represents Patrick, after founding a church in Magh Ene, as coming into the Campus Cetni. Then the Four Masters, who ought to know the place, describe (A.D. 1536) O’Donnell’s forces as coming from Ballyshannon, and encamping between the rivers Duff and Drowes, and after dinner sending guards and sentinels ‘to watch the pass between them and Magh gCedne’; which shows clearly that Magh gCedne was west of the Duff River, since we are told they were afraid of the O’Conors from Grange and Sligo coming to surprise them, and therefore they watched the pass over the Duff River.






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