Saturday, 12 August 2017

Diocese of Clonard (Part 1)

The Catholic Heritage Association had a great privilege to make a first pilgrimage to St. Finian's Church, Clonard.

The history of the See of Clonard, subsumed into the Diocese of Meath, is extensively set out in Fr. Anthony Cogan's The Diocese of Meath Ancient & Modern (Published: Dublin, 1862 by John F. Fowler):

"There were anciently eight episcopal sees in the present diocese of Meath viz Clonard, Duleek, Kells, Trim, Ardbraccan, Dunshaughlin, Slane and Fore. All these dioceses except Duleek and Kells were consolidated and their common see fixed at Clonard before 1152.


There are few places in Ireland with which so many remembrances are connected or which were so closely identified with the literary and religious glories of our native country as the ancient and far famed Monastery of Clonard. Slane was a great religious establishment in its day, so too were Duleek, Ardbraccan, Kells, Trim, Dunshaughlin and Fore. They were the centres of the various dioceses into which the ancient kingdom of Meath was subdivided. Eahan, Durrow, Fennor, Kilskyre, Trevet, Skryne, Dulane, Castlekieran, Donaghpatrick, Donaghmore, Lann Leire, not to mention other places were pillars of light in the war of religion with the powers of darkness. And in subsequent years the great abbeys of Bective, Athboy, Ballybogan, Beaubec, Drogheda, Meath side Kilmainhambeg, Lismullen, Navan, Newtown, Odder, Ballinamore, Kilbeggan, Mullingar, Multifernham and Tristernagh perpetuated the literary and religious renown of Meath, shed lustre on the Pale, and handed down through generations the sacred deposit of Faith. Yet over all these homes of sanctity above all these halls of science and learning towered like a colossal mountain the genius and piety of Clonard. Its schools rivalled for centuries those of Armagh, Bangor, Clonmacnoise and Lismore. It trained up some of the ablest scholars sent forth from its peaceful shades the greatest ornaments and lights and as an indication of the esteem in which it was held as a proof of its recognized career of usefulness few abbeys were more frequently plundered bore more vivid traces of the cupidity and Vandalism of the ruthless Scandinavian or were more generously rebuilt and reendowed by the faithful and grateful Irish than the great Abbey of Clonard.

Clonard indeed is gone. Lismore is gone. Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Bangor, Glendalough, Kildare, Devenish - all these ancient landmarks have been swept away. The hand of the spoiler has torn up these sanctuaries of the faith and charity of our fathers. Their halls are no longer filled, the door of hospitality is no longer open to the poor man the traveller or the wayfarer. Silence, the silence of the grave, reigns around these holy places where the cheerful laugh of youth the pious chant of the monks the sacred song and the holy sacrifice amidst incense and ceremony once resounded. All that the powers of this world could effect has been done. The monastery the gorgeous temple the abbey church have disappeared The abbey lands have been seized the patrimony of the poor was confiscated. As if to show the strength of God's word, the interposition of His providence and His merciful designs for the Irish nation all the external aids which the charity and philanthropy of past ages have conferred on religion were permitted by Him to be torn away."

Monday, 7 August 2017


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Becmore in the barony of Duleek and about two miles south of Drogheda. Here are some remains of an ancient building which tradition informs us was a preceptory belonging to Kilmainham. Beaubec in the same direction as Beamore from Drogheda. In the reign of King John, Walter do Lacie, lord of Meath, did grant to the church of St. Mary and St. Lawrence of Beaubec all his land situate in Killokeran together with the liberty of keeping a boat free of toll.

A.D. 1332 King Edward I granted a license to the abbot of Beaubec in Normandy to assign to the abbot of Furnes the manor of Beaubec near Drogheda together with three messuages, sixty acres and a half of land and fifty seven shillings and nine pence annual rent arising from Marinston Renneles and the town of Drogheda on both sides of the river, also a fishery in the Boyne saving however to the lords of the fee their proper services.
A.D. 1348 King Edward in a charter dated May 4th recites and repeats the grant of Walter de Lacie and farther says that King Henry III had confirmed the same and that the abbot of Beaubec of the Cistercian order had afterwards with the king's license granted the aforesaid manor of Beaubec to the abbot of Furnes.