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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

It is stated, as we have seen, that Patrick founded ‘other churches and cloisters in Ossory.’ No doubt he made some missionary journeys through that territory, although it is now difficult to trace his course. There are three other churches that bear the name of Donaghmore in the diocese of Ossory, and these, if not founded by himself in person, were doubtless founded under his authority by some of his household. One is near Rathdowney in the Queen’s County; another was near Johnstown; and the third, close to Ballyragget, gives title to the parish. There is a Patrick’s Well close to this old church at Ballyragget, which goes to show that Patrick visited this place in person and baptised his converts in the well. It is about ten miles from Kilkenny to the north. The beautiful valley of the upper Nore intervenes—that famous plain known in ancient times as the Airged Ros, in which Heremon built a royal palace on the brow of the bright-waved river known as Rathbeith; and it was there the great father of the northern kings closed his stormy life; and there, too, he was buried in the hearing of its murmuring waters.

The royal fort was just seven miles above Kilkenny on the right bank of the stream, and still bears almost the old name Rathbeagh. The site was a most picturesque one, for it gives a grand view of the ‘fair wide plain of the Nore,’ as O’Heerin calls it, towards the place where, a little higher up the stream, at Argad-Ros, silver armour, if not silver money, was fashioned for the men of Ireland some 650 years before the Christian era. It is not likely that if Patrick were at Kilkenny he would leave this beautiful and famous place unvisited. We may be sure he ascended the stream and founded in person Donaghmore at Ballyragget, and blessed with his own hands the holy well that still flows beside the ancient cemetery, and still bears his name.






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