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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

Though Armoy appears to have been the chief See of Dalriada; it was not the first nor the only church founded there by our Saint. In another paragraph we are told that he founded therein ‘many churches and cloisters.’ Six are expressly named. He founded Fothrad, and left therein two of his household, the Priest Cathbad and Dimman the Monk—(Manach). This ancient church has not, we believe, been yet identified. Then he founded Rath Mudain, and left Priest Erclach therein. This ancient church still retains its name—Ramoan—and gives title to the large parish of which Ballycastle is the chief town. Mudan was, it seems, the local dynast in the time of St. Patrick, and, like many another chief, gave his own rath to be the site of a church, whence its name. St. Erclach’s day is the 3rd of March; but of his ancient church no trace now remains. Mgr. O’Laverty says that it was built on the site afterwards occupied by the Protestant church. No traces of a rath, however, now remain: There was a holy well, too, not far off, and stations were held there until 1828, when the well was finally closed up.

Further eastwards, near the river Shesk, Patrick founded another church in a place then called Drumman Findich, over which he placed Enan, who, according to Colgan, was son of Mudan, of Rath Mudain. It was Patrick’s usual course to promote to Orders the sons of the chieftains, when he found them worthy of that honour. He thus strengthened the influence of the Church, and, at the same time, showed his gratitude for their generous endowments. This church afterwards came to be called Killenan, from the name of its first pastor. ‘It was situated on a gentle eminence, a little west of the river Shesk, about one mile south-west of Bunnamargy.’ ‘Portions of the walls of the old church remain,’ says O’Laverty, ‘but the graveyard itself is now under tillage.’ Drumman Findich is supposed to be identical with Drumeeny, the modern name of a neighbouring townland; but we are informed that there are no remains of a church or churchyard there at present. Many of the Scotch settlers in Dalriada had small regard for ancient churches.

We are also told in the same paragraph that Patrick left Bishop Nehemiah in Telach Ceneoil Ængusa. This is supposed by Reeves to have been the ancient parish now called the Grange of Drumtullagh. It is to the west of Ramoan parish, and the district apparently belonged to another branch of the family known as the Race of Ængus. The site of the old church is probably marked by the old churchyard, a little to the south of the road from Coleraine to Ballycastle. It would be then on the direct route of the Apostle from the Bush along the sea eastwards; and such was clearly the course he followed, so far as we can gather from the narrative in the Tripartite.






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