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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

Leaving, then, the Royal Rock and King Ængus, Patrick proceeded westward to Muskerry by the road that now leads to Tipperary. On this road we find many traces of his presence. The ancient parish west of Cashel, called St. Patrick’s Rock, doubtless takes its name either from the Lecc Phatraic, already described, or from some other rock where he set up his altar and built a church, but we are not told that he left any of his family as Bishop of Cashel. It would appear that in this Patrick acted prudently, for it is said that Ailbe had already established his see at Emly, not very far to the west, and claimed some kind of jurisdiction over the royal territory. Afterwards, it is said, he made due submission to the higher authority of Patrick, but on this occasion he does not appear at all at Cashel.

At a much later period, the Cistercians founded a noble abbey in the rich meadows at the foot of the Rock—and its lonely ruins are now a very striking feature in a scene so fertile and so fair. But there was no church there then, although, doubtless, a priest was left to say Mass for the King at Patrick’s flagstone on the Rock itself.

The Muskerry (Muscraige) into which Patrick journeyed from the plain of Cashel, by crossing the Suir at Golden, is called Muscraige Breogain in the Tripartite. It takes its name of Muskerry from Cairbre Muse, son of Conaire Mor, a king of Ireland in the opening years of the first century. His race was widely spread through Munster, for O’Heerin mentions six different territories, which bore his name and were inhabited by his descendants. We may be sure that if they were not powerful by valour and numbers they would not be permitted to keep the golden vale between Cashel and Tipperary. Their territory there was, strictly speaking, conterminous with the barony of Clanwilliam, whose fair and fertile fields attracted the followers of William Fitz Adelm De Burgo, from whom it received a new name, and who in their turn, at a later date, were dispossessed by the greedy soldiers of Cromwell.

‘Patrick founded many churches and cloisters in Muscraige Breoghain,’ some of which bear his name to this day. There is a parish called Kilpatrick, with an old cemetery and holy well, in the barony of Kilnamanagh Lower, close to the railway, about three miles north-east of Limerick Junction. There is another Kilpatrick giving name to a townland in the parish of Lattin, on the other side of the Junction, about three miles to the south-west.






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