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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

The next incident referred to by the Tripartite may have occurred during a later visit which Patrick paid to Lecale after the foundation of Armagh; but such is not our opinion. Here we find Patrick in conflict with Eochaid, son of Muiredach, who was, it seems, at the time, either prince or king of Uladh. Muiredach, who was ninth in descent from Fiatach Finn, of the line of Heremon, died in 479, when his son Eochaid succeeded to the throne, It is not stated where this prince had his dun or palace, but the probability seems that he dwelt at Dun-Leth-Glaisse, which was from the earliest times the strongest fortress in the the country. So early as the time of Conor Mac Nessa it was called Rath Celtchair because it was the stronghold of the chief who bore that name; and from its position it was almost impregnable. For the rath was a natural circular mound rising on all sides steeply from the Sea-marsh, by which it is still partially, as it was then completely, surrounded. Besides, Eochaid, being of the Dal Fiatach line, would be more likely to have his residence in Lecale, which was always the inheritance of his family, than in Kinelarty or Iveagh, which belonged to the rival families of the Clanna Rury, of the line of Ir.

Now Patrick was hostile to prince Eochaid, and not without good reason. For two young maidens, doubtless of noble family, had offered their virginity to the Lord by the ministration of Patrick, who himself, so far as we can judge, gave them the veil. Whereupon the wicked king bound them on the sea-shore under the rising waves because they refused to worship his idols and get married. Word of this gross outrage was brought to Patrick, who at once went to entreat the king to set the maidens free; ‘but he got them not from the king.’ Then Patrick, justly angered, pronounced against him the judgment of God—‘that no king of Uladh would ever descend from him; and, moreover, that of his race there never would be men enough to form an army or a folkmote in Uladh, that they would be scattered and dispersed, that his own life would be short, and his end would be violent.’ “Thy brother Cairell, too, whom you smote with a rod for helping me, will become the king in thy stead, and from him will descend the kings and princes who will rule over thy children and all the land of Uladh.”

‘And that has been fulfilled,’ adds the Tripartite, ‘for in accordance with Patrick’s word, the race of the Uladhs for ever are sprung from Deman, son of Cairell, son of Muirdach.’ But as often happened before, the prayers of a penitent woman softened this hard doom. Eochaid’s wife threw herself on her knees at Patrick’s feet and besought him to spare her children. Then Patrick blessed the sorrowful suppliant, and the child that then lay in her womb, who afterwards became the great Saint Domangart, from whom Slieve Donard takes its name. We are told by Ængus that the name of this lady was Derinilla, and that she was the mother, not only of St. Domangart, but also of Ailleanus, of Aidan, of St. Mura of Fahan, of Mochumma of Drumbo, and of Cillen of Achadhcail on the shore of the estuary of Dundrum. The second and third of these saints appear to have founded churches in Leinster and Connaught, whence their mother was called Derinilla of the Four Provinces, because one or more of her sons was in each.






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