Thursday, 15 December 2016

The Early Bishops of Clonfert

The following is taken from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy at p. 308:

St. Fintan Corach who flourished at this period [c. 571] was bishop of Clonfert. He had previously presided over a church in a place called Leam chuil in Leinster. It is stated that he either founded or governed a church at Cluainmaithin in Leix or Clonenagh. He became abbot of St. Brendan's and bishop of the see. His death is marked on the 21st of February but the year of his death is unknown or its place.

Senach Garb succeeded as abbot and bishop. He died in 621. St. Colman, the son of Comgel, was bishop of Clonfert and it seems died the same year with his predecessor.

Cumin Foda the Long, son of Feachna and grandson of Fiacrius a prince of West Munster, is said to have been promoted to the see of Clonfert by Guaire MacColman, which he governed with great wisdom. He died on the 12th of November 662.

Rutmel, prince and bishop of Clonfert died in 825.

Cathal MacCormac the eminent bishop of Clonfert died in 861.

Cormac MacAidan, bishop of Clonfert, died AD 921.

Giolla MacAiblen, comorban of Brendan, died in 1166.

Peter O'Moor, a Cistercian monk and abbot of Grelachdinach, afterwards Boyle, was bishop of Clonfert and a man of high esteem for many virtues. He was drowned in the Shannon on the 27th of December, 1171.

Maelisa MacAward sat a very short time having died A.D. 1173.

Malcallan, son of Adam, bishop of Clonfert died in 1186.

Donald O'Find, comorban of Clonfert and Brendan, died in 1195.

A bishop Ó Cormacain died at Clonfert in 1204 but the name of his see is not given.

Thomas, bishop of Clonfert, died in 1248.

Cormac or Charles Ó Lumlin, bishop of Clonfert, was highly esteemed for his probity and learning. He died at an advanced age in 1259.

Thomas O Kelley succeeded. He was a great benefactor to the church of the Dominicans at Athenry, where he is interred, having died in January, 1263.

John, who was an Italian and the Pope's nuncio, succeeded to the see of Clonfert in 1266 and was consecrated at Athenry. In the following year he went to Rome. He presided many years and was translated to the see of Benavento in Italy. He is classed among the principal benefactors to the church of Clonfert.

In 1296, William O'Duffy, bishop of Clonfert, fell from his horse and died in consequence.

Robert succeeded in 1296, was a monk of Christ church, Canterbury. He sat eleven years and died AD 1307.

Gregory O'Brogy was unanimously elected by the chapter, was dean of the cathedral. He sat eleven years and died in 1319.

Robert le Petit, a minorite, was elected by the dean and chapter on the 10th of February 1319, was deprived in two years, was afterwards promoted to the see of Enaghdune by provision of the Pope on the 18th of November, 1325, and obtained the temporals in June, 1326.

John O'Lean, archdeacon of Tuam, succeeded in 1322 by provision of the Pope. He died on the 7th of April, 1336. The see of Clonfert was kept vacant and the temporals of this see and that of Enaghdune given in custody to John de Exeter and Elias Tullesan on the death of Thomas O'Malley and continued so until the 10th year of King Edward III, A.D. 1346.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Clonfert Abbey

The following is taken from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy at p. 452-3:

AD 570 died Moena who was intended as the successor of Brendan

AD 590 Fintan Corach was abbot and bishop

AD 744 Clonfert was destroyed by fire

AD 801 died the abbot Murdoch

AD 839 the Danes burned the abbey and slew the abbot

AD 845 Turgesius the Danish tyrant was guilty of the most horrid depredations He burned the churches and the dwellings of the religious Turgesius was afterwards seized by some native nobles who dressed themselves in female attire and who drowned him in Lough Ree

AD 867 died Cormac the Wise the economist and writer of Clonfert

AD 945 Ceallachan king of Cashell and Donough his son presented to this abbey the spoils they had taken from the Danes

AD 1170 died Cormac Hua Lomluin the divinity lecturer of this abbey and the most learned Irishman of his time

AD 1201 the abbey and town were pillaged by William de Burgo who again in 1204 plundered it

Henry O Gormocain was the abbot at the time of the general suppression he never surrendered but kept possession of the temporalities until his death though the king united them to the bishopric Immediately on the decease of Henry William O Gormacam supported by the O Maddens procured the abbey from the Pope and retained possession thereof till the year 1567 in which the temporals were divided between the bishop and abbot This abbey paid the bishop 20s procurations for the rectory of Clonfert

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

St. Moena of Clonfert

The following is taken from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy at p. 308:

[The See of Clonfert] was founded about the year 550. Some are of opinion that Saint Brendan was the first bishop because Saint Moena is called his successor in the calendar of Cashel but St. Brendan's establishment having become so extensive that a bishop was necessary to ordain missionaries and assist the founder, St. Brendan, in its government, Saint Moena, it seems, was the person who was chosen by Brendan on this occasion and who afterwards founded the see of Clonfert. In its cathedral were seven altars. There is much confusion in the accounts relative to St. Moena it is probable that he was a native of Britanny and came to Ireland with St. Brendan on his return from that country. Moena's death is noted on the 1st of March A.D. 571.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

St. Brendan of Clonfert

The following is taken from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy at p. 451:

Clonfert in the barony of Longford and near the river Shannon and a bishop's see. Saint Brendan of Clonfert had been according to some authorities a native of Connaught but the more ancient and consistent accounts assure us that he was born in Kerry. His father was Finloga of the distinguished family of Hua Alta. Brendan was born in the year 484 and is said to have received his education under a bishop Ercus. We are also assured that he studied theology under Saint Jarlath of Tuam who was then old and infirm or rather conferred with the bishop of Tuam on those religious subjects he is also said to have attended lectures in the great school of Clonard under Finnian who was then probably as old as Brendan himself.

To atone for the death of a person who had been drowned and to which melancholy event Brendan feared he had involuntarily contributed he is said to have gone to Brittany through the advice of Saint Ita who it seems was a relative of his.  It is said that when he was a year old the bishop Ercus placed him under the care of this celebrated virgin and that he was reared by her during the space of five years. Having paid a visit to Gildas who was then living in that country and advanced in years and who retired to Brittany also between the years 520 and 530, he went to another part of Brittany where he formed a monastery or school at Ailech, the ancient Alectum, and at present St. Malo. It is also added that he erected a church in a place called Heth, somewhere in the same province.

According to some accounts the famous voyages of this saint took place after his arrival in Brittany but according to the Irish authorities they were undertaken from a port in Kerry, Brendan's hill, and had been terminated before his departure from Ireland to that country. With regard to those voyages it can be admitted that Saint Brendan sailed in company with some other persons towards the west in search of some island or country the existence of which had been known. St. Barriutlms and Mernoc, a disciple of his, are said to have been in that country and it is added that the account given of it by Saint Barrinthus induced Brendan to undertake his voyage. In that account it is represented as a western country or island but yet so large that although they traversed it for fifteen days they could not reach the end of it. The direction of Brendan's voyage is said to have been "contra solstitium aestivale" by which is probably meant the north west point, alluding to the setting of the sun in summer. After fifteen days sailing the wind ceased and the navigators though there was wind now and then left the vessel to itself without knowing its course. It could have thus arrived in America and an idea one would suppose existed that there had been a western country far distant from Ireland. Another native of Munster who will be noticed in his proper place set out from his home resolved to undertake a similar voyage in quest of an unknown island. It is said that Saint Brendan laid in provisions for fifty days which proves that his voyage was considered a long one. His voyages are said to have continued for seven years.

Soon after his return from Britanny he founded the monastery of Clonfert. For this monastery and others connected with it, Brendan drew up a particular rule which was observed for many centuries by his successors having been particularly esteemed as an angel is said to have been the dictator of it to Brendan. He presided over three thousand monks partly at Clonfert and in other houses of his institution in different parts of Ireland, all of whom maintained themselves, like St. Paul, by the labor of their own hands.

He established a nunnery at Enachdune over which his sister Briga presided as abbess. Another cell was erected by him in Innisquin an island of Lough Corrib. At a late period of his life he paid a visit to St. Columbkille in one of the western isles of Scotland. St. Brendan died at Enaghdune in his sisters' nunnery on the 16th of May, A.D. 577, and in the 94th year of his age.

From that place his remains were conveyed to Clonfert and there interred. This great saint is usually styled abbot. St. Patrick, when in the south of Ireland, foretold that the great Brendan would be born in West Munster Kerry The church of Ardfert was dedicated under his name.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Aughrim Abbey

The following is taken from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy at p. 445:

Aughrim in the barony of Kilconnell and about four miles east of Ballinasloe. An abbey for canons regular of St. Augustine under the invocation of St. Catharine was founded according to some authorities in the 13th century by Theobald, the first butler of Ireland. When the monastery was suppressed its property was granted to Richard, earl of Clanrickard, and his heirs in capite at the yearly rent of £68 9s 6d.