Tuesday, 27 June 2017

National Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Armagh 2017

To mark the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland made our second pilgrimage to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.  A report of the first pilgrimage can be read here.  It was a truly National Pilgrimage with members coming from Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Wexford and Wicklow - the Four Provinces of Ireland all represented - to assist at Holy Mass and attend our Annual General Meeting held afterwards in the Synod Hall attached to the Cathedral.

However, one element of the pilgrimage above all made it a most blessed occasion, the presence of His Eminence Seán, Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh, to celebrate the Mass.  In his homily, Cardinal Brady reminded the congregation that the Traditional Latin Mass had been the Mass of his Altar service, of his First Communion and Confirmation, and of his Ordination and his First Mass.  He also reminded us that this day, the feast of St. John the Baptist, was his own feast day.  Cardinal Brady is to attend the Consistory on 28th June with Our Holy Father, Pope Francis.  His Eminence was assisted by Fr. Aidan McCann, C.C., who was ordained in the Cathedral only two years ago.  It was a great privilege and joy for the members and friends of the Catholic Heritage Association to share so many grace-filled associations with Cardinal Brady and Fr. McCann and the Armagh Cathedral community.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Medieval Bishops of Meath

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Eugene, bishop of Meath, succeeded and sat about twenty years. Before his death he assumed the style which his successors have since used. His predecessor Idunan adopted the same title. He succeeded in 1174 and died 1194.
Simon Rochfort was the first Englishman who governed this see and was consecrated about the year 1194. He died in the year 1224. having conducted himself in the government of his see with fidelity wisdom and integrity. Was of such an humble and meek behavior that he acquired the reputation of being a most excellent prelate.
Deodatus was elected bishop in 1224 and obtained the royal assent on the 29th August following. Some say he died before consecration and therefore do not reckon him among the bishops of this see. He died in the year 1226.
Ralph le Petit succeeded in 1227. He was archdeacon of Meath, a man of great gravity and wisdom. He died advanced in years about the fourth year of his consecration in 1230.
Richard de la Corner, canon of St. Patrick's, Dublin, succeeded in 1230, was confirmed by King Henry III and consecrated at Drogheda in St. Peter's church in 1232. He died in the year 1250.
Hugh de Taghmon succeeded in 1250. He is styled a man of piety and of venerable life. To this prelate Maurice Fitz Maurice, Lord Justice of Ireland, and John de Sanford, Escheator of Ireland, Edward I issued a commission to administer the oath of allegiance to the nobility and to the commonalty of Ireland. Having governed the See about thirty one years, he died in January 1281 and was buried at Mullingar.
Thomas St. Leger succeeded in 1287, was born of an illustrious family and was adorned by his manners. He was Archdeacon of Kells. Not having the assent of his metropolitan, he appealed to Rome. Another being preferred by the Primate, both parties resigned their claims into the hands of the Pope who, in the plenitude of apostolic power, chose Thomas St. Leger. He was not consecrated till the 3d of November, 1281. He was careful of his temporal privileges and equally so of his spiritual concerns. He enjoyed bad health before his death in December 1320. He ruled over his diocese thirty eight years.
John O'Carroll succeeded in 1321, was Dean and Bishop of Cork and was translated by the Pope to the See of Meath in the year 1321. He died in London about the beginning of August, 1329, on his return from Avignon.
William de Paul, a Carmelite Friar and sometime Provincial of his Order in England and Scotland, in token of his singular piety great learning wisdom and dexterity in managing affairs, succeeded as Bishop of Meath, 1327 by provision of the Pope, was consecrated at Avignon. He died in July, 1349, having sat twenty two years.
William St. Leger succeeded in 1350, was Archdeacon of Meath, was elected by the clergy and ratified by Bull of Pope Clement VI, was consecrated in England on the 2d of May, 1350, and died AD 1352.
Nicholas Allen succeeded in 1353, was Abbot of the Monastery of St. Thomas near Dublin, was consecrated in the beginning of this year. He was Lord High Treasurer of Ireland and took oath of office on the 10th of March, 1357. He died on the 5th of January, 1366.
Stephen de Valle or Wall succeeded in 1369, was Dean of Limerick and promoted by the Pope, consecrated in 1360. He sat in the See nine years and became Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. He died intestate at Oxford on the 10th of November, 1379.
William Andrew succeeded in 1380, was an English Dominican and Doctor of Divinity, was consecrated Bishop of Achrony in the year 1374, and was by Pope Urban VI translated to this see. He was distinguished for wisdom and learning. He died five years after his translation AD 1385.
Alexander de Balscot was successor in 1386. A canon of St Canice's Church, he was promoted to the See of Ossory and translated to Meath on the 14th of December, 1386. He was Lord High Treasurer of Ireland, executed the duties of his office with fidelity, had the reputation of a good bishop, died at Ardbraccan on the 10th of November, 1400, and was buried at Trim in St. Mary's Abbey.
Robert Montain, Rector of the Church of Kildalky, succeeded by the provision of the Pope in 1402. He sat ten years and died on the 24th May, AD 1412.
Edward Danteey, Archdeacon of Cornwall, was promoted to the See by Pope John XXII in the year 1413. He presided over sixteen years and was during that period Lord High Treasurer of Ireland and Deputy Viceroy of the Kingdom. He was falsely accused of theft and arraigned before the Parliament. His innocence was afterwards established by the voluntary and public confession of an accomplice in the robbery. Having solicited the Bishop's pardon, who forgave him, he was referred to the Primate for absolution. He died on the 4th of January, AD 1429.
William Hadsor was promoted in 1430 by the Pope and consecrated. He died on Ascension Day 1434. The same month that Bishop Dantsey died.
Thomas Scurlock, Prior of the Abbey of St. Peter, Newtown, near Trim, was elected by the clergy. He hastened to Rome to obtain the Pope's confirmation, if consecrated he survived but a short time.
William Silk, Doctor of Canon Law, Official of the Ecclesiastical Court of Meath and Rector of Killeen, succeeded in 1434. Application was made to the Pope to exonerate him from his pastoral charge on account of old age. He died at Ardbraccan on the 9th of May, 1450, and was buried in the church of St. Mary at Killeen.
Edmund Ouldhall, a Carmelite of Norwich, succeeded to the See in 1450. He died at Ardbraccan on the 9th or 29th of August, 1459, and was buried in the church of that place.
William Sherwood succeeded by provision of Pope Pius II and was consecrated in 1460. He was some time Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and afterwards Lord Chancellor. He died in Dublin on the 3d of December, 1482, and was buried in the Abbey Church of SS, Peter and Paul at Newtown near Trim. He presided over the See twenty two years.
John Payne, a Dominican and Doctor of Divinity, was promoted to the See by Pope Scxtus IV on the 17th of March, 1483, and installed on the 4th of August following. He presided over twenty three years, was some time Master of the Rolls. He was a prelate in great esteem for his alms deeds and hospitality. He died on the 6th of March, 1506, and was buried at Dublin in a monastery of his own order.
William Rokeby, an Englishman, Doctor of the Canon Law, was advanced to this See by Pope Julius II in 1507, was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1498 and, on his promotion to the See of Meath, was called into the Privy Council, was translated to Dublin by the same Pope, where he died on the 20th of November, 1521. He resigned in 1511.
Hugh Inge, an Englishman, Doctor of Divinity, was promoted by the Pope in 1512, was translated to Dublin, where his name will occur to notice.
Richard Wilson, an Englishman succeeded by provision of the Pope in 1523 and sat about six years.  He died in 1529.
Edward Staples, a native of Lincolnshire, succeeded by provision of Pope Clement VII in the year 1530. He was deprived by Queen Mary on the 9th of June 1554 for having joined in the changes of religion, &c.
William Walsh, Doctor of Divinity and a native of Waterford, was on the 18th of October, 1554, appointed to the See. In maintaining the purity of faith, William stood forth conspicuous.  He was deprived by Queen Elizabeth/ He died at Complute in Spain and was there interred in a monastery of his own order, the Cistercian. His epitaph briefly describes his merits. 'Here lieth William Walsh a Cistercian Monk and Bishop of Meath who having suffered imprisonment and many other hardships for thirteen years at last died in banishment.'

Thomas Dease, the ablest canonist of the Irish Church, died AD 1649.
Anthony Geoghegan died AD 1660.
Patrick Plunkett died AD 1671.
Patrick Cusack died AD 1690.
Luke Fagan translated to Dublin.
Stephen MacEogan, translated from Clonmacnois in 1729, he died on the 30th of May. AD 1756. Bishop Geoghegan died while coadjutor.
Patrick Joseph Plunkett was consecrated in 1779, died AD 1829.
Robert Logan, coadjutor in 1824, died AD 1830.
John Cantwell consecrated in 1830 still happily presides Bishop of Meath.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Origins of the See of Meath

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

St. Finian, the son of Fintan, an eminent philosopher and divine, was the first bishop of Clonard. He was descended of a noble family and was still more ennobled by his piety. He was baptized by St. Abban and placed in his youth under the care of St. Fortkern, bishop of Trim, with whom he remained until thirty years of age, went to Britain and founded many churches. Having returned to Ireland and been consecrated bishop, he fixed his see at Clonard and there also opened his school about the year 530, which produced many men of eminent sanctity and learning, among whom are the two Kierans, two Brendans, the two Columbs, Laserian, Cainech, Moveus, and Ruadan.

His usual food was bread and herbs, his drink water, on festival days he used a little fish and a cup of beer or whey. He slept on the bare ground a stone serving him as a pillow. He was in his last illness attended by St. Columb of Tirdaglass and died in the year 552.

A doubt exists whether St. Finian or Senachus was the first bishop of Clonard. The memorials relating to the successors of the see of Clonard are but slender until the arrival of the English.

St. Senachus, bishop of Clonard and disciple of St. Finian, died on the 21st August 587.
St. Fiacre is recorded among the successors of St, Finian of whom mention will be made in its proper place when treating of the Irish saints.
Colman, son of Telduibh, bishop of Clonard died on the 8th February 652.
Ossenius the Long survived his predecessor about three months and died on the 1st of May 652.
Ultan O'Cunga died of the plague which afflicted England and Ireland on the 1st July 665.
St. Becan, bishop of Clonard, died on the 16th April 687. We are told that he used to sing the whole psalter every day, wet and dry, by the side of a stone cross in the open air outside the monastery. He has been remarkable for the austerity of his life and the miracles he wrought.
Colman O'Heir, bishop of Clonard, died on the 9th February 700.
Dubdan O Foelan, bishop and abbot of Clonard, died AD 716.
Aelchire, bishop of Clonard, died AD 726.
Fienmael Mac Girthid, called a chosen soldier of Christ, bishop of Clonard died on the 30th March AD 731.
St. Tola Mac Dunchad, bishop of Clonard and Kildare, died on the 30th of March AD 733.
Beglatneu, bishop of Clonard, died in 755.
Fulertach, bishop of Clonard, was the son of Brec whose family in Ulster was ancient. He retired to Offaly in Leinster and there lived a hermit until promoted to the see of Clonard. He died on the 29th March, 774.
Algnied died 8th March 778.
Cormac Mac Suibne, bishop and abbot of Clonard, died in the year 828.
Cormac, called by the four masters bishop of Duleek and abbot of Clonard, died in 882.
Rumold Mac Cathasach, bishop of Clonard, called the repository of excellent wisdom, died AD 919.
Colman Mac Ailild, abbot of Clonard and Clonmacnois, a most wise bishop and doctor, died on the 7th February, 924.
Ferdomnach Mac Flanagan died AD 930.
Moctean or Maelmochte, called the fountain of religion and wisdom among the Irish, died on the 9th of September, 940.
Maelfechin, bishop of Clonard, died in 942.
Becan Mac Lactnan, called comorban or successor of St. Finian, died in 971.
Faithman, comorban of St. Finian, died in 1010. Tuathal O Dunluing bishop of Clonard died in 1027
Cellach O Clerchen comorban of St Finian died in 1043.
Tuathal O Follanmuin, successor of St. Finian, died in 1055.
Tigernach Boircech, called in the annals of the four masters the head of the synod, principal confessor, anchorite and successor of Finian, died in 1061.
Murchertach Mac Longsech, successor of St. Finian, died in 1092.
Idunan, called bishop of Meath, flourished in 1096.
Concovar, bishop of Clonard, died in 1117.
Fiacra, called the most holy elder of Clonard and Meath, died in 1135.
Giollachreist O'Hagan, successor of Finian, died in 1136.
Eochaid O Kelly, archbishop of the men of Meath, is said to have died in the year 1140.
O'Tolloman, successor of St. Finian of Clonard, died at Kells in 1150.
Eleutherius O'Miadachin sat in the see of Clonard and died in 1174.

Sunday, 18 December 2016


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Drogheda on the Meath side of the river Priory and hospital of St John of the order of Cross bearers was founded in it is supposed the reign of King John by Walter de Lacie who was if not the founder at least its principal benefactor It belonged to the grand establishment at Kilmainham This hospital paid annually half a marc proxies to the bishop of Meath Thomas Dane was the last prior and on the 26th of July the thirty first of king Henry VIIL was found seized of a church and belfry chapter house dormitory and dwelling with its other appurtenances In the sixth of Edward VI it was granted with a parcel of its property to James Sedgrave for ever at the annual rent of 10s 10d Carmelite friary on the Meath side of the river and convenient to the castle or garrison of Drogheda This house was founded by the inhabitants of Drogheda for Carmelites in honor of the blessed Virgin In the first year of Edward II it appears by inquisition that the corporation of Drogheda had granted to the friars of this order a piece of land containing eighty virgates and on the 23d of June 1346 Edward LTJ granted a license to Richard the son of William Massager of Drogheda permitting him to assign to this house four acres of land adjoining the same with the appurtenances for the purpose of increasing and maintaining the lights burning in honor of the blessed Virgin in this church In the year 1468 it was enacted by Parliament that this convent should for ever enjoy a chief rent of ten shillings yearly which had been granted to the burgesses of the town Part of this friary was afterwards repaired for the service of the parish ie the Protestant

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Mullingar the capital of the county priory of St Mary This house known by the name of the house of God of Mullingar was founded in 1227 for canons regular of St Augustine by Ralph le Petit bishop of Meath AD 1305 Donat O Flaherty bishop of Killala was interred here AD 1397 Hugh was prior to whom Adam Petyt granted forty acres of land in Killbrena AD 1464 the town was burned and destroyed by the people of Managh AD 1467 the prior Petyt died of the plague AD 1534 John Petyt was the last prior An inquisition was held in the thirty first of Henry VHL and a second in the thirteenth of Elizabeth when three hundred and sixty acres of arable and pasture with thirty three messuages were granted to Richard Tuite and his heirs male by knight's service at the yearly rent of 16 5s 10d Irish money The priory of St Mary's paid annually four marcs to the bishop of Meath Dominican Friary AD 1237 the family of Nugent founded this abbey AD 1278 to 1314 general chapters of the order were held here In the eighth of Elizabeth this convent with one hundred and twenty acres of land were granted to Walter Hope at the annual rent of 10 They were afterwards given to Richard Tuite and eventually became the property of Lord Granard in whose possession they have remained In 1756 the fathers of the order in Mullingar were Laurence Geral dine the prior Thomas Hope Ambrose Higgins James Barnewall Thomas Dalton and Patrick Mac Donagh a lay brother Franciscan friary AD 1622 the friars of Mullifernam began to erect a house for their order in Mullingar but it has remained unfinished

Friday, 7 October 2016


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Athboy in the barony of Lune six miles north west of Trim A market and borough town which sent two members to the Irish parliament before its extinction by the British government AD 1317 the 17th of October a licence was granted to William de Loundres permitting him to make a donation to the friars of the blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel in Athboy of a lot of ground in the said town whereon this monastery stood AD 1325 a provincial chapter of the order was held before John Bloxham vicar general of the institute in Ireland AD 1372 The friars were indicted for acquiring two gardens contrary to the statute AD 1467 another chapter was held April 31st and of Henry VIII the thirty first the prior of Athboy was found seized of a church and a belfry a cloister a stone tower a mansion a small orchard and six small gardens all within the precincts and of the annual value besides reprises of 2s also eight messuages value 24s The monastery with these and other appurtenances was granted for ever to Thomas Casey in capite at the annual rent of 2s Irish

Friday, 2 September 2016


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Kells on the river Blackwater gives its name to the barony. Is attributed to St. Columbkille about the year 550 by others to Kellach abbot of Hy who took refuge there from the ravages and attacks of the Danes and who is said to have founded the abbey. However this may be mention is made of abbots of Kells long prior to his flight from Hy.

A.D. 692 Muredach O Cricain was abbot.
A.D. 713 in the seventy fourth year of his age the abbot Foylcow died.
A.D. 802 the abbey of Kells was destroyed by fire.
A.D. 804 it was rebuilt in honor of St Columba.
A.D. 806 the Danes having killed many of the monks of Hy the abbot Kellach sought safety in Ireland.
A.D. 899 the abbey was sacked and pillaged.
A.D. 919 the Danes plundered Kells and laid the church which was of stone level with the ground.
A.D. 1061 died the blessed St. Ciaran famed for his great erudition wisdom and exemplary piety.

This abbey is remarkable for many memorable events. The Danes having made a furious attack in the year 967 on this monastery were routed with great slaughter by Ó Neil, the Great king of Ireland. In 1152 the famous synod of Kells was held under cardinal Paparo at which three thousand ecclesiastics attended besides the bishops. The abbey was destroyed six times by fire but was afterwards rebuilt in a style of greater magnificence partly by the bounty of the princes of Ireland but chiefly by the revenues which were attached to it. It possessed the most splendid library of any monastery in the kingdom having been celebrated for its manuscripts among which was St. Columbkille's book of the four Gospels adorned with gold and precious stones. Richard Plunket was the last abbot when in 1537 Henry VIII took into his own hands the extensive possessions of this abbey.

The grants of De Lacie in 1173 consisted of 36 townlands. In Kells it possessed 90 acres, in Grangestown 86, in Corbally 82, in Malerdone 16 messuages and 300 acres, in Kilbride 220 acres in Kiltome 350 acres together with 19 rectories. These several possessions were granted to Sir Gerald Plunkett.

At Kells is still to be seen St. Columba's house situated outside the boundary wall of the cemetery on the north side in its ground plan it presents a simple oblong form measuring externally twenty three feet nine inches in length and twenty one in breadth the walls being three feet ten inches in thickness. It is roofed with stone and measures in height from its base to the vertex of the gable thirty eight feet. The lower part of the building is arched semicircularly with stone and has at the east end a small semicircular headed window about fifteen feet from the ground. At the south side is a second window with a triangular head about the same height from the ground and measuring one foot nine inches in height. Those windows have a considerable splay on the inside. The apartment placed between the arched floor and the slanting roof is six feet in height and appears to have been originally divided into three apartments of unequal size of which the largest is lighted by a small aperture at the east end. In this chamber there is a flat stone six feet long and one thick called St. Columba's penitential bed.