HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

After placing Cassan in Donaghmore, Patrick returned to Laeghaire at Tara, perhaps to seek his advice as to his next move from that centre, for there was, as we have seen, established a kind of friendly agreement between them, and Patrick did not wish to take any important step without the sanction of the High King. The result seems to have been that Patrick set out on another missionary journey, this time taking the great road to the west that led by Delvin and Mullingar to Longford, somewhat on the line of the Midland Great Western Railway. This road was called Slighe Asail, from Asal, who is said to have ‘discovered’ it; that is, traced it out and cleared it in the reign of Conn, the Hundred Fighter. This hero seems to have given his name to the Plain of Asal, which was one of the sub-kingdoms of Meath, and it is still retained in the name of the barony around Mullingar—Moyashal. Delvin, another of the sub-kingdoms, is called Delvin-Asail in the Tripartite, to distinguish it from other territories of the same name; that is, Delvin of the Plain of Asal. From Tara by Trim, then, St. Patrick went to Delvin, where he seems to have remained some time and founded several churches in the neighbourhood, in which he placed some of the clergy of his household. Five are specially referred to as clerics whom Patrick met on their pilgrimage abroad, and, as they had no means of carrying their books except in their girdles, he gave them a hide of seal-skin or cow-skin to make wallets for their books. When they had finished their pilgrimage and education they returned to Ireland, and joined Patrick’s household or travelling College of Clerics. No doubt he was glad to get them, and he appears to have located them all in churches in the kingdom of Delvin, which was much larger than the modern barony of that name, and included at least a part of the north-west of the Co. Meath.

Now these are the six:—Presbyter Lugach in Cell Airthir, perhaps Kilskeer; Presbyter Columb in Cluain Ernain, which is, no doubt, Clonarney, north of Delvin; Meldan in Cluain Crema, which seems to be the modern Loughcrew, an easy substitution for Cloncrew; Lugaid, son of Erc, in Fordrinan, perhaps the place now called Fordstown, north of Athboy; and Presbyter Cassan, whom, as we have seen, he placed at Donaghmore, near Navan. ‘These five saints were of Patrick’s household in Delvin-Asail,’ says the Tripartite, and as they were pilgrims together he placed them near each other. The sixth was old Ciaran of Saigir, who had settled, by Patrick’s advice, far away to the south at Seir Ciaran by the roots of Slieve Bloom, for he was a Munster man. In the same connection we find it stated that as Patrick was setting out in his chariot from the hill (perhaps of Tara) a certain woman, with her son, met him. “For God’s sake,” she said, “O priest, bless my son; his father is very sick.” Patrick took the boy, and making the sign of the cross over his mouth, delivered him to Cassan of Donaghmore to be instructed. ‘It is said he read the Psalms in twelve days’; that is, learned to read them. ‘That boy is (now) Lonan, son of Senach, who is in Caill Mallech,’ now Killulagh, west of Delvin, and ‘Rigell is his mother.’

At the same time Patrick placed Do Lue, of Croibech, and Lugaid, son of Ængus Mac Natfrach, who were of his household, in Druiminesclaind, in Delvin. Lue’s ‘place’ seems to be the parish of Killua, in the north-east angle of the county Westmeath, and a little east of Delvin. So that all these churches appear to have been founded whilst Patrick was at Delvin, and they were all, so far as we can judge, situated in the ancient kingdom of Delvin.

From Delvin, it appears, that Patrick went south-west into the ancient sub-kingdom of Feara Tulach, that is the ‘men of the hills,’ a name still extant in the barony of Fartullagh, south of Mullingar. It appears to have included the whole of the beautiful hills and swelling uplands from Killucan to Lough Ennell, and southwards as far as Tyrrellspass. These are the ‘men of the east of Meath,’ whom Patrick baptised, as the Tripartite tells us, in Tech Laisrenn, in the South. ‘His (Patrick’s) Well is in front of the church,’ and he left two of his people there—the virgin Bice, and Lugaid; and ‘Bice’s tomb stands to the north of the Well.’ Midhe, or Meath, is here distinguished from Bregia, or Mag-Bregh, which certainly extended as far west as the Boyne. In fact, at this point, the boundary between Meath and Bregia appears to correspond with the existing boundary between West and East Meath. So that the description of the Tripartite is perfectly accurate. But, where is Teach Laisrenn, which is thus noted with a few graphic touches? It must have been somewhere near Mullingar, for it is added that Molue, a pilgrim of the Britons, and one of Patrick’s household, was placed by him at Immliuch Sescainn, to the south of Tech Laisrenn, on the shore of Loch Aininne, or Lough Ennel, as it is now called. This would seem to imply that both churches were near Lough Ennel. It is not unlikely they were on the western shore near the place now called Dysart, that is the desert, or pilgrims’ abode, where there was, certainly, an old church and graveyard, and what is still a bountiful spring of clearest water.

Patrick thence went northward into Tir-Asail, and founded there a church for the men of Asal, north of Mullingar, at the place called Temair-Singite, where he baptised them, and it is noted ‘that on the road between Raith Suibne and Cluain Fota Ainmirech,’ there was a hawthorn-brake, but ‘he who breaks anything therein will not have luck in his doings. Domnach is its name.’ As this was the name usually given to the churches founded by St. Patrick, perhaps the place referred to is the modern parish of Kilpatrick. This place was nearly on his way to the spot where we next find him at Ath Maigne, in Asal. There can be no doubt that this refers to the modern parish of Moyne, west of Castlepollard. in which there was a famous ford over the river Inny, about two miles north of the point where it enters Lough Derravaragh. It was one of the gesa, or things forbidden to the King of Tara, to leave the track of his army across Ath Maigne of the bright salmon on the Tuesday after Samhain, that is, the Tuesday after November Day.

At Ath Maigne, Patrick founded the church which still gives name to the parish, and close to the south of it he set up one of his household called Mac Dicholl. The old church of Moyne was at the cross roads of Coole, and a little to the south, just at the north-eastern angle of the lake, there was another ancient church called Kiltoom, perhaps the place where Dicholl’s son was buried. The Magh Asail of the Tripartite appears to have been identical with Magh Locha of the Book of Rights, a very appropriate name for that beautiful ‘lake-land,’ still famed, as it was in ancient times, for the salmon-trout that abound in all its pleasant waters. The king of the lake country at that time was a certain Brenain, who is described as brother of Fergus, son of Eochy Moyvane, and therefore an uncle of King Laeghaire. Fergus died during his father’s lifetime, and the reference to him at all seems to imply that his younger brother Brenain inherited his kingdom round the lake. He resisted Patrick when founding his church at Ath Maigne. Patrick inscribed with his crozier a cross in the flag-stone, ‘and he cut the stone as if it were soft clay.’ “If I were not patient with thee,” saith Patrick, “the might of God’s power would cleave thee as my crozier has cleft the stone.” But there was a penalty, though a less one, inflicted for his opposition to the Gospel. Patrick ‘cursed him,’ that is, said that he would have neither son nor successor in his kingdom, and so it came to pass. When Brenain’s wife heard Patrick pronouncing their doom, “For God’s sake, O Patrick,” she said, “let not thy curse fall on me.” “It shall not visit thee,” he said in reply, “nor shall it touch the child that is in thy womb.” Still of him there is no successor, and so Brenain’s race have passed out of history, as the cloud passes out of the sky, leaving no trace behind.






This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Attribution: Sicarr




Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com