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.