Friday, 28 December 2018


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Aedbeeccan the high place of Breccan in the barony of Navan and within two miles of that town St Breccan was the brother of St Carnech of Clonleigh See which in county Donegal Ardbreccan was a see of which this saint was bishop According to Ware Brecan was alive in 650 The death of his brother Carnech according to Colgan occurred about the year 530 These dates would at least give Breccan an age of 120 years in the supposition of his birth in the lifetime of the abbot of Clonleigh Either Ware is wrong in assigning that year to his death or we must suppose that Breccan was born long after the decease of his brother The feast of St Breccan is marked at the 16th of July He is also one of the four prophets of Ireland One of his predictions has been fulfilled centuries after it was delivered Among the natives of Ireland who were much given to narratives of this sort are recorded many predictions which have been fulfilled long since in the unfortunate history of Irish oppression and to which they still cling with confidence as they give a hope of its future deliverance from the yoke of England one of which still adhered to is that the liberation of our isle of saints and sages of the brave and the beautiful will be accomplished by the descendants of our own sons in this land of freedom and happiness As the prediction of Breccan has been fulfilled long since may the latter one be soon realized if it be so ordained in the councils of Heaven Of Breccan's prophecy the words are subjoined in Irish but in common characters as the Celtic ones could not be printed Tigfaid geinti tar muir mean Measgfaid air fearaibh Eireann Budh uathaibh ah air gach cill Budh uathaibh Ri fear Erinn The following lines are the translation of those prophetic words Erin's white crested billow shall sleep on the shore And its voice shall be mute while the spoilers glide o er And the strangers shall give a new priest to each shrine And the sceptre shall wrest from her own regal line The prophecy of Breccan has been verified and English heresy has given to the shrines of Irish saints Ministers who banished God's priests and laughed his religion to scorn AD 657 and on the 4th of September died St Ultan bishop of Ardbreccan He is surnamed Hua Conchovar O Connor and is said to have been related to St Brigid by her mother's side and is supposed the founder of this see instead of his predecessor He wrote a life of St Patrick and also a treatise concerning the transactions of St Brigid A hymn is attributed to him which he wrote in Latin and in praise of the sainted abbess of Kildare Nennidhe Lamhglan is mentioned too as the author of that hymn This St Nennidhe called the clean handed is different from another of the name and surnamed Laomh dearg abbot and bishop of Inis muighe samh county Fermanagh who was highly respected and is reckoned among the chief founders of the Irish monasteries The cleanhanded was a student at Kildare when St Brigid happening to be with some of her nuns not far from tho monastery saw him running very fast and in an unbecoming manner She sent for him and on his coming up appearing somewhat abashed at the message of the saint asked him whither he was running in such haste he replied as if in jest that he was running to the kingdom of heaven I wish said Brigid that I deserved to run along with you to day to that kingdom pray for me that I may arrive there Affected by the observation of the holy abbess he requested that she would offer up her prayers for his pursuing a steady course towards heaven She then prayed for him and the Almighty was pleased to touch his heart so that he did penance and ever after led a most religious life She next foretold him that he was the person from whose hand in due time she would receive the holy viaticum on the day of her death Nennidhe went afterwards to Britain where ho remained until near the time that St Brigid died From the care he took in keeping clean the hand that was to administer the viaticum to the patroness of Ireland he got his surname Tirechan a disciple of St Ultan who wrote the acts of St Patrick was the immediate successor of this saint AD 731 died the abbot Daniel Mac Colman AD 760 died the abbot St Tola AD 779 died St Algnied bishop of Ardbreccan His festival is marked in some calendars at the 8th of March AD 886 Ardbreccan was laid waste by the Danes AD 992 they repeated their ravages AD 1014 died Dubhslaine a priest of this abbey and prime anchorite of all Ireland AD 1031 Sitric of Dublin with his Danes plundered and burned the abbey carried off upwards of two hundred prisoners as many more having perished in the flames AD 1055 died Moelbrigidhe a professor of this abbey AD 1136 Dermot Mac Murrough king of Leinster burned this abbey AD 1166 Moriertach king of Ireland granted a parcel of land to this abbey in perpetuity at the yearly rent of three ounces of gold AD 1170 the steeple of this abbey fell The memory of St Breccan is revered in the island of Aran where a church is dedicated to his name His tomb having been opened to receive the body of a Catholic clergyman who desired to be buried therein a slab was found with an inscription in contracted Irish letters requesting a prayer for Brecan the pilgrim See Aran county of Galway In Brechin now the county of Angus in Scotland is a round tower the door of which has the figure of our Saviour on the cross which surmounts the entrance with two images or statues towards the middle and which clearly shew it to have been the work of a Christian architect Sir Walter Scott observes in his Review of Ritson's Annals of the Caledonians that the round towers of Abernethy and Brechin were built after the introduction of Christianity of which there can be no doubt as the figure of the crucifixion indicates and adds in all probability by or under the direction of Irish monks who brought Christianity into Scotland See Domnach more in this county

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