HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

And now, Patrick having gone through Tirconnell, and blessed its territory, its princes, and its people, passed with his familia through the wildly picturesque Glen of Barnesmore, and came into Magh Ith. Barnesmore is the most remarkable mountain pass in the North of Ireland. It was quite visible to Patrick during his whole journey through Magh g-Cedne, Magh Ene, and Tirhugh, for it is the only visible break in the great range of the Blue Stack Mountains as they look south-westward towards the ocean. The hills on either side of this wild pass rise some 2,000 feet high, and press so closely on the valley that they barely leave room for the road and the railway which now sweeps through it from Stranorlar to Donegal. No enemy ventured to pass through it when the sons of Tirconnell held the heights, for their destruction would have been assured, as the pass is about three miles in length, and the assailants on the heights would have need of no weapons but the loose rocks on the hill-sides to destroy the invading foe.

The Tripartite represents Patrick after coming through this Great Gap as passing direct into Magh Ith. It was a famous plain extending from Stranorlar to Inch on the inner shore of Lough Swilly for a distance of nearly twenty miles. On the west it is bounded by the mountains, on the east by the Rivers Finn and Foyle. It is the most fertile territory in Donegal, and has been the scene of its more stubborn conflicts. The O’Neills and O’Donnells reddened all its fairest fields with their best blood, shed in fratricidal strife. At a later period it was the battle-ground of the Gaels and Saxons, and it was in Magh Ith that the gallant Heber M‘Mahon, Bishop of Clogher, drew a sword that could not save the fallen cause of his country, and paid the penalty by a glorious death at Enniskillen.

The name of this ancient plain carries us back to the very dawn of Erin’s bardic story. Ith was the uncle of Milesius, and when his sons had resolved to invade the country they sent their uncle to spy out the coasts of the land, and tell them of its resources. He landed somewhere in Lough Swilly, most likely at the place now called Inch, in the Lagan. There he surely saw even then a fertile and smiling land; but the princes of the country, jealous of the stranger, waylaid him and his companions on their return to their ships. He was slain in the conflict, and gave his name to the plain; but his sons and companions succeeded in carrying off his body, and brought both sad and joyous tidings home to Spain. The result was the invasion and conquest of Erin.

Patrick, as usual, having come into Magh Ith, directed his course straight towards the royal palace, which was there since the time of Ith himself, for it took its name from its founder, Ailech Neid, who, it is said, dwelt there when Ith first landed in sight of the royal hill. To the same royal palace Patrick now directed his footsteps. But he was not idle on the way.

The Tripartite says that having come through Bearnas Mor Patrick founded there Domnach Mor Maighe Itha, over which he placed Dudubac, son of Corcan, one of his household. The old church has disappeared, but it has given its title to the parish of Donaghmore, on the right or south bank of the River Finn. Eoghan was not there at the time, and Patrick was, it appears, doubtful as to the reception he was likely to meet with from this Eoghan, son of Niall, and brother of Cairbre and of Conall. “Beware,” he said, as they advanced—to his household—“beware lest the lion Eoghain, son of Niall, come against you.”

When they were now come near Donaghmore Patrick and his family met Muiredach, son of Eoghan, with a troop of warriors, who were, perhaps, keeping the passes of the river. This gallant prince, the father of a still more gallant son, who was called the Hector of the Gael, was favourably disposed to Patrick. Sechnall, too, Patrick’s nephew, most likely by his advice, sought to win over the young prince, if he could, to the cause of the Gospel by prudent means.

Said Sechnall to Muiredach—“Thou wilt have from me a reward if thou prevailest on thy father to believe.” “What reward?” said he. “The kingship of thy tribe shall be thine for ever, i.e., from thee,” said Sechnall. So Muiredach prevailed on his father to believe; and his father consented. This was in the Fidh Mor or Great Wood which has been identified with Veagh, in the parish of Ramochy, ‘where the flagstone is;’ and there Eoghan believed in God and in Patrick.

But it does not appear that Fidh Mor was in Eoghan’s territory for Patrick said “if thou hadst believed in thine own country, hostages of the Gael would come to thy country, that is, as that of a sovereign prince, but now only those hostages will come whom thou shalt win by thy prowess in arms.” It seems that Patrick’s complaint was that Eoghan did not come to meet him at Donaghmore when Patrick first came into his territory, he rather held back and waited until Patrick had come into Tir Enna, which was his brother’s territory, on the south-eastern shore of Lough Swilly and outside Eoghan’s jurisdiction.

Donaghmore, near Castle Finn, appears to have been the only church which Patrick founded in Magh Ith. Colgan observes that there were two famous churches in the plain, one towards the west, namely Domnach Mor Maighe Itha, and the other towards the north, namely Clonleigh (Cluin Laogh) founded by St. Carnech, and that these two churches were not far from each other. In this he is quite accurate. The old church of Donaghmore was, we believe, on the right bank of the Finn, mid-way between Stranorlar and Castle Finn; whereas the church of Clonleigh, also in Magh Ith, was about a mile to the west of Lifford, and gives its title likewise to the parish of Clonleigh. It is noteworthy also that these two parishes are still in the diocese of Derry. Anciently they belonged to the diocese of Ardstraw, which was incorporated with that of Derry, and those parishes belonged to the territory of Eoghan, the eldest son of Niall the Great.

It appears clear, however, that Patrick did not on this occasion go westward towards Castlefinn but, as was his custom, went straight from Donaghmore northwards towards Ailech. Muiredach, son of Eoghan, doubtless accompanied him; and so they passed right through the barony of Raphoe to the head of Lough Swilly. It was not far distant—only some ten miles north from Donaghmore. We are told that the meeting between Eoghan and Patrick took place in Fidh Mor at the place where ‘the flagstone is.’ It is not called ‘Patrick’s flagstone,’ but the flagstone simply, although most probably the reference is to some flagstone which Patrick blessed for the purpose of saying Mass, and which was afterwards kept there in great veneration and gave its name to the present parish of Leck, which is just at the head of Lough Swilly and adjoins Veagh in Ramochy. It must be noted, however, that the parish is not called Leckpatrick but simply Leck, in this corroborating the accuracy of the Tripartite.






This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Attribution: Sicarr




Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com