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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

We have nothing but local tradition to guide us as to Patrick’s movements in South Limerick. It appears he went due south from the Shannon to the village of Ardagh, three miles north of Newcastle West. It is the only place in the south-west of the County Limerick where his name lives in the memories of the people; and it was, probably, when turning eastward from Luachair that he foretold the birth of Brendan. He can be traced thence to Ballingarry, and near Clooncagh church there is a small enclosure, where, it is said, he remained for one night.’ It is not improbable that he took an opportunity on the journey eastward of visiting the royal burg of Bruree, but no express mention is made of the fact. It was, however, directly on his way from Ballingarry to the southern Ardpatrick beyond the pass at Charleville. Just at this point he passed out of the territory of Hy Fidgente and came into that of the Southern Deisi.

At Ardpatrick we are told he desired to found a cloister or monastery; and he even marked out the site of his church, and left there his flag-stone—that is the altar-slab on which he said Mass; but the local dynast, Derball, son of Aedh, opposed him, and said, in mockery it seems—“If you can remove the mountain there before us so that I can see Loch Lungae over it to the south in the plain of Fir Maige Feine (Fermoy) I will believe.” ‘Cenn-Febrat is the name of that mountain, which immediately began to melt, and Belach Legtha, or the Pass of Melting, is the name of the pass that was then opened.’ But yet, when the mountain began to melt before his eyes, the impious man declared, “Even though thou do it I will not believe.” Whereupon Patrick said to him, “There will not be till Doom either king or bishop of thy race, and the men of Munster will peel (that is, plunder) you every seventh year like an onion.”

It is a strange story; yet it is not more difficult to ‘melt’ a mountain than to cast it into the sea, and both can be done for adequate cause by the apostle who has faith as a grain of mustard seed. To deny it is to deny the Gospel. The road from Ardpatrick to Fermoy runs through a deep glen east of Seefin Mountain, which must be the ‘Pass of the Melting.’ There is, however, no lake now, we believe, on the other side of the mountain, so that Loch Lungae must have been drained in the course of time.






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