- Celtic and Old English Saints 24 March
* St. Caimin of Lough Derg
* St. Macartin of Clogher
* St. Cairlon of Cashel
* St. Domangard of Maghera
* St. Hildelid of Barking
St. Caimin of Lough Derg (of Inniskeltra), Abbot
Died 653; in some places his feast is celebrated on March 25. The Irish
Saint Caimin was half-brother to King Guaire of Connaught and Cumian
Fada (f.d. November 12), and himself a distinguished scholar. But he
retired from the vanities of the world to live asa hermit on
Inish-Keltra (Caltra) in Lough Derg near Galway. Although Saint Columba
of Terryglass (f.d. December 12) had founded a monastery on the island a
century earlier, Saint Caimin is the reason the people call it "Holy
Island" after many disciples were drawn there because of his reputation
for holiness. Later in life he founded a monastery and church, named
Tempul-Cammin, on the island of the Seven Churches.
The monastery on Inish-Keltra thrived through 1010 (when its last
recorded abbot died) despite its being in the direct path of the Danish
invaders. The abbey was plundered c. 836 and again in 922. Brian Boru
restored the church c. 1009. Now, however, only ruins recall the
grandeur of Inish-Keltra's past: the 80-foot tall round tower, early
grave markers, and ivy-covered church ruins.
Saint Caimin was a fellow-worker with Saint Senan (f.d. April 29). A
fragment of the "Psalter of Saint Caimin," claimed by some to have been
copied by his own hand, still exists in the Franciscan library at
Killiney, County Dublin. He is also credited with authorship of the
"Commentary on the Hebrew Text of the Psalms" (Benedictines, D'Arcy,
Healy, Husenbeth, Montague, Muirhead, Neeson).
St. Macartin of Clogher, Bishop
(Macartan, MacCartan, Maccarthen)
Died c. 505; feast day formerly March 24. Saint Macartin (in Irish -
Aedh mac Carthin) was an early disciple and companion of Saint Patrick
during the latter's missions into pagan territory. He is said to have
been consecrated bishop of Clogher in Tyrone by Patrick in 454. It is
said the Saint Brigid, Macartin's niece, was present at the founding of
the see. Tradition names Macartan as the "strong man" of Saint Patrick,
who established the church in Clogher and spread the Gospel in Tyrone
Macartin is also one of the earliest Irish saints to be known as a
miracle-worker. His holiness is revealed not so much by any
"vita," which are non-existent, but by the high veneration in which he
is held. Saint Bede records that the earth was taken from his grave as
holy relics. His Office is the only one to survive from an Irish
A reliquary, called the Great Shrine of Saint Mac Cairthinn, which was
designed to contain relics of the True Cross as well as his bones, has
been altered over the centuries but still survives as the "Domnach
Airgid" in the National Museum. It's inner yew box was given to
Macartin by Patrick together with the latter's episcopal staff and
The Cloch-Oir (Golden Stone), from which this ancient diocese takes its
name, was a sacred ceremonial stone to the druids, It was given to
Macartin by an old pagan noble, who had harassed Macartin in every
possible way until the saint's patient love won the local ruler to the
faith. The stone is still preserved and the noble's son, Tighernach of
Clones, succeeded Macartin as bishop (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer,
Healy, Kenney, Montague, Muirhead, Needham).
See "Cumdachs and Polaires
Medieval Irish Book Shrines and Book Satchels"
*** Hymn in honour of St. MacCarthen, at bottom of this e-mail
St. Cairlon (Caorlan) of Cashel, Bishop
6th century. Saint Cairlon was an Irish abbot who died and was raised
again to life by Saint Dageus (f.d. August 18). Afterwards, when Saint
Cairlon had been made archbishop of Cashel, Saint Dageus placed himself
and his monks under his rule (Benedictines).
Troparion of St Cairlon tone 4
O holy Cairlon, thou didst repose in the Lord/ and wast raised to life
by Saint Daga./ Then living the risen life while yet on earth/ thou
didst spend thy years in apostolic labours./ Pray to Christ our God to
save our souls.
St. Domangard (Donard) of Maghera, Hermit
Died c. 500. The patron saint of Maghera, County Down, Ireland, lived
as a hermit on the mountain now called after him Slieve-Donard
St. Hildelid of Barking,Abbess
(Hildelitha, Hildeltha, Hildilid, Hildelida)
Died c. 717; other feasts are on December 22, September 3, March 7
(translation), and September 23 (translation). Though English, the
young Anglo-Saxon princess Saint Hildelid was raised in France. She took
the veil there either at Chelles or Faremoutier. Saint Erconwald (f.d.
April 30) recalled her to England to train her sister, Saint Ethelburga
(f.d. October 12), to be abbess of Barking. It seems, however, that her
association as Ethelburga's sister is in the religious, rather than
familial, sense, even though Barking was a family monastery that
belonged to Erconwald.
When Ethelburga took the reins as abbess, Hildelid remained there as one
of her nuns, and eventually succeeded her about 675. She ruled well for
many years, enlarged the rather cramped monastic buildings, and
translated the relics of holy nuns from the cemetery to the church.
Hildelid won the admiration of Saints Aldhelm (f.d. May 25), Bede (f.d.
May 25), and Boniface (f.d. June 5); Saint Aldhelm dedicated his book
"On Virginity" to her and her sisters. The work presupposed advanced
Latin reading skills, which indicates the erudition of the nuns.
Boniface mentions one of her visions that she described to him. In the
diocese of Brentwood, her feast is kept together with that of Saint
Cuthburga (f.d. September 3)
(Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Gill).
*** THE following Hymn in honour of St. MacCarthen was recently discovered
in an old MS. of the Diocesan Library of Cashel, and was inserted in the
Cashel Gazette, December 19th, 1868. It is probably the hymn which, as we
learn from Ware, was composed by Patrick Culin, Bishop of Clogher, who died
in 1534. " Our prelate (writes Ware) was accounted a person of considerable
knowledge, both in antiquities and poetry, and was the author of a hymn of
ten stanzas in metre, in praise of St. MacCarthen, first Bishop of Clogher,
which is extant in manuscript among the collections of the late Archbishop
King" (Ware's Bishops, page 187).
HYMN TO ST. MAC-CARTEN.*
A NOBLE feast we celebrate,
A holy man we venerate,
Great Mac-Carten it is he,
Hear us, blessed Trinity.
A confessor in faith was he,
A virgin in his chastity,
A martyr too in heart and will,
An Apostle preaching still.
Most innocent of sinful guile,
He guided others, and the while
Many wonders wrought in praise
Of his Maker all his days.
By carnal thought he never sinned,
Riotous fools he disciplined,
And in his holy life enwrought,
The pattern fair of all he taught
No suppliant ever came in vain,
Oppressed by toil or weary pain,
But by the grace his blessing shed,
He departed comforted.
Sight and hearing were restored)
Fled the leper's spot abhorred,
The dying from their deathbed rose,
As the priest Mac-Carten chose.
Oftimes the sick he visited,
And raised to life the nearly dead,
And many tribes baptized he
In St. Patrick's company.
Upon the earth he lived to God,
And in his Master's footprints trod.
Thus conquering the world at last,
He to eternal glory passed.
He could do much on earth before,
Happy in heaven he can do no more.
May Mac-Carten keep us free
From pain of endless misery !
Thee God as three in one we own,
From whom the precious grace comes down,
By which thy clergy here are blessed
With earnest of eternal rest.
Irish Ecclesiastical Review, Vol 6, 1869, 275-276
and the Latin original which appeared in the previous volume:
HYMNUS IN LAUDEM ST. MAKARTINI,
Episcopi Clocherensis et fundatoris Monasterii Clocherentis, qui obiit 9
Calend. Aprilis An. 506.
Festum dignum celebrantes
Sanctum virum venerantes
Makartinum et laudantes
Exaudi nos Trinitas.
Est confessor fide plane
Virgo fertur castitate
Martyr fatur sponte fame
Qui peccati nescit fraudem
Et praelati vita tandem
Trinitati tulit laudem
In multis miraculis.
Sordes mentis formidabat
Stultas gentes castigabat
Quod exemplis solidabat
Per virtutis opera.
Laborantes in dolore
Supplicantes cum amore
Sed laetantes sunt favore
Precibus que praesulis.
Caecos surdos salutavit
Et iinmundos lepra lavit
Plures gentes baptizabat
Cum Sancto Patricio.
Sancto Deo quasi vivit
Jeeu Christo obedivit
Mundo victo post exivit
Ad aeternam gloriam.
Hie in terris fuit fortis
Nunc in coelis bonae sortis
Nos a poena dirae mortis
Deus Trinus qui est unus
Quique nobis praestat munus
Quo sit clerus hie securus
In perenni gloria. Amen.
Irish Ecclesiastical Review, Vol 5, 1869, 185-187
Attwater, D. (1958). A Dictionary of Saints. New York:
P. J. Kennedy & Sons. [Attwater 2]
Benedictine Monks of Saint Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.
D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota:
Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most
useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author
provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the
lives of the saints.]
Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints, March. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gill, F. C. (1958). The Glorious Company: Lives of Great
Christians for Daily Devotion, vol. I. London:
Healy, J. (1902). Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars.
Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker.
Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
lives of the fathers, martyrs, and other principal saints.
London: Virtue & Co.
Kenney, J. F. (1929). Sources for Early History of Ireland, vol.
1, Ecclesiastical. New York: Columbia University Press.
Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.
Muirhead, L. R. (ed.). (1962). Benn Blue Guide to Ireland.
London: Ernest Benn Limited.
Needham, K. (1963). Life of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick
Neeson, E. (1967). Book of Irish Saints. Cork: Mercer Press.
A Beginner's Guide to Irish Gaelic pronunciation
For All the Saints: - new active link
An Alphabetical Index of the Saints of the West - new active link
These Lives are archived at: