Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Saint Assicus of Elphin (Walsh)

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

"St Asicus is mentioned as the first bishop of Elphin and to have been placed in the see by St Patrick but it is doubtful whether he has been one in the lifetime of the apostle. The festival of St. Asicus is celebrated on the 27th of April but the year of his death like unto the deaths of other saints is not known. Ware fixes his incumbency in or about 450. It is said that Asicus was an excellent goldsmith and that he adorned the cathedral with monuments of elegant workmanship that he also wrought for St. Patrick quadrangular chalices and altars. It is also related of him that through a penitential spirit he retired from his diocese to the mountain Slievliag in Donegal where, after sojourning a considerable time, he was discovered by his disciples. He could not be induced to return to his see but went with them to a solitude and when he died was buried at Rathcunga barony of Tyrhugh in that county. Next to Asicus is mentioned his nephew Bitheus bishop of Elphin and who was buried with Asicus in Rathcunga.  Bron bishop of Caisseal Iorra was the contemporary of both and died in the time of St. Bridget, AD 512. The names of the successors are lost to our enquiries but may we not hope that they are recorded in the book of life."

"Rathcunga in the barony of Tir Hugh. A very old establishment St Asicus of Elphin and Baithen are interred here St Patrick is said to have erected this church."
"881 Asicus bishop of Elphin Biteus and Tassach who fabricated sacred utensils are noticed as such as well as Dageus The ingenuity of the last saint is described in his life which Colgan quotes Idem enim episcopus Dageus abbatibus aliisqne Hibernite Sanctis campanas cymbala baculos cruces scrinia capsas pixides calics discos altariola chrismalia librorumque coopertoria qusedam horum nuda quaedam vero alia auro atque argento gemmisque pretiosis circumtecta pro amore Dei et sanctorum honore sine ullo terreno pretio ingeniose ac mirabiliter composuit."

"See of Rathcunga county of Donegal: St Bitheus. was the founder was contemporary with Bron of Cashel Iorra and Asicus of Elphin, who was his uncle. It is likely that he was also bishop of West Cashel. He has been buried at Rathcunga where the remains of his uncle St Asicus were deposited."

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ballindune Priory (Walsh)

From Walsh, Thomas; History of the Irish Hierarchy, cap. lx, p. 640.

Ballindune in the barony of Tirelill, seven miles north of Boyle and on Lough Arrow. The ancient sept of MacDonagh founded this monastery for Dominicans about the year 1427. This family has given bishops, priests, martyrs and heroes to Ireland. They are a branch of the MacDermot of Moylurg who was descended of Heremon, the third son of Milesius. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it could compete with many monasteries of the country in extent and beauty.

In the twenty seventh of queen Elizabeth the possessions consisted of a church and cemetery with half a quarter of land of every kind annual value 6s 8d English money. They were granted to Francis Crofton who had assigned them to Edward Crofton. They have eventually fallen into the hands of the King family. In the year 1756 there were four friars attached to Ballindune, Michael Reynolds the prior, Dominick O'Hart, Andrew Dwyer and Miles Lipnan. Turlogh MacDonogh, the most eminent lawyer of his time, has been buried in this abbey.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Lough Key Abbey (Walsh)

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy chapter lix, p. 632 ff:

Loughkey. The river Boyle runs through this lake in which there is an island called Trinity Island, an abbey dedicated to the holy and undivided Trinity having existed there AD 700.

AD 1215 the eminent Clarus Mac Moyhn O'Mulchonry, archdeacon of Elphin, refounded this abbey under the invocation of the Holy Trinity for Premonstré canons. He also founded the church of Deryndonne.

AD 1231 on the 15th of December died here Dionysius O'Morra, who had retired from the bishopric of Elphin.

AD 1234 Gillisa O Gibbellan anchorite of this island died.

AD 1239 Lasra Fina, daughter of Cathal Croivdeargh and wife of O'Domnail, granted to this abbey the half townland of Rosburn, being part of her dower.

AD 1380 the abbot who was son of MacDermod Roe died.

AD 1440 the abbot died.

AD 1466 the abbey was consumed by an accidental fire caused by the negligence of a woman. This abbey was filial to the abbey of Premonstré in France. Its possessions were granted with other property valued at 26 13s 8d annually to Robert Harrison for ever in free soccage. The annals of Loughkey were preserved here.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Cashell Jorra

Cashell Jorra (See diocese of Elphin) in the barony of Corran between the rivers Uncion and the Owenmore and six miles south of Sligo. St. Bron, the disciple of St. Patrick, was bishop of this place.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Baslick Abbey (Walsh)

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy chapter lix, p. 624 ff:

Bais-leac-mor. St. Sacellus, a disciple of St. Patrick, was bishop of this place, now called Baslick. He was one of those who attended the synod at Maghseola. Whether he was then a bishop or not, remains in doubt.

Bealaneney, was a house of conventual Franciscans. It was found to contain a church, with other buildings, and a cemetery, orchard, and garden within the precincts; eight acres of arable land and seven of pasture; a castle in the town of Athlone, near the cemetery of the parish church, in which were two chambers, and a parcel of land adjacent to the said castle, extending from the east near the market-place, sixty feet, and in length, near the river Shannon, two hundred feet.

These possessions were granted to Edmund OTallon, of Athlone, at the annual rent of 44s. 7d., Irish money.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Drumcliffe Abbey (Walsh)

From Walsh, Thomas; History of the Irish Hierarchy, chapter lx, p. 646 ff.

Drumcliffe in the barony of Drumcliffe formerly a town of some note.

Lanigan is not inclined to assign to St. Columbkille the merit of erecting the monastery of Drumcliffe. He is only willing to admit as he does with regard to St. Fechin at Ballysadare that St. Columba only founded a church in this place. At the time in which not only Columba flourished but also that in which St. Fechin was cut off by the plague the erection of a monastery was a work of very little delay, especially when the people or the prince were pleased to sanction and assist in its construction. The Abbé MacGeoghegan writes that the piety of the early Christians of Ireland was such that they not only gave food and other necessaries for the wants of their religious houses but even dedicated some of their families to the service of God as was the custom with the Jewish people.

If the history of the foundation of Imay, Co. Galway, be correct we are therein assured that the holy founder was at his monastery in Easdara when admonished to seek the island of Imay by an angel. Yet Lanigan will not accord to him the erection of that establishment. A St. Thorian, a disciple of Columba who followed him afterwards to Hy, is named as having governed Drumcliffe as the first abbot. It is again argued that as a blank occurs in the names of the abbots until the year 921, St. Columba was not the founder Drumcliffe, does not appear to be singular in this respect. Voids of the same sort occur in the succession of the bishops of our sees. Lanigan also urges the silence of Ware with regard to its foundation &c. Ware is also silent of the Dominican convent of Clonmel, one of far later date. Ware omits the ancient monastery of Tirdaglas, founded by Columba, son of Crimthan.

AD 921 died the abbot of Drumcliffe, St. Thorian or Thorannan. He was also abbot of Banchor and was honored on the 12th of June. Died also this year the blessed Maolpatrick Mac Moran.

AD 930 died the abbot Moyngall son of Becan.

AD 950 died the blessed Flan Ó Becain, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, a learned and celebrated scribe.

AD 1029 This year Aengus Ó Hoengusa, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, with sixty other persons, perished by an accidental fire in an island called Inislanne, territory of Carberry.

AD 1053 Murchad Ó Beollain, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, died.

AD 1077 died Murrogh Ó Beollan, comorb of Drumcliffe and St. Columb.

AD 1187 the abbey was spoiled by Melaghlin, king of Meath. The wrath of Heaven soon overtook him, having been killed in a fortnight after.

AD 1225 died Amlave Ó Beollain, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, a man of extraordinary erudition and in general esteem for piety wisdom and unbounded hospitality.

AD 1252 died in this abbey Maelmaidoc Ó Baollan, comorb of St. Columb, a venerable and hospitable man and in universal estimation in England and Ireland.

AD 1416 this abbey was set on fire by a band of plunderers, the abbot Maurice Ó Coincoil perished in the flames.

AD 1503 died the abbot Ó Beollan.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The See Elphin in the Early Modern Period (1499-1704)

From Walsh, Thomas; History of the Irish Hierarchy, cap. xxix, p. 303 ff.

George Bran, Bishop of Dromore, was translated by the Pope to the see of Elphin on the 18th of April, 1499. George died in 1523.
Christopher Fisher is said to have been bishop of Elphin and to have died in 1511. George Brann must have resigned.
John, bishop of Elphin, sat in 1535 and died the next year.
Conatus Ó Siagail, a canon regular abbot of Assadara and chaplain to Manus O'Donnell, was advanced to the see by Henry VIII in 1544.
Bernard O'Higgin, a Dominican friar provided by the Pope presided in 1552.
Andreas Xerea, a Dominican friar was bishop of Elphin A.D. 1562 in the pontificate of Pius IV. Boetius MacEgan was bishop of Elphin in 1646.

Dominick Burke, a Dominican friar of Athenry, was promoted to the see of Elphin by Pope Clement X A.D. 1671, was born in Ireland about the year 1629 of parents steadfastly attached to the ancient faith and illustrious by their birth.

Sighing after spiritual perfection he joined the order of preachers and having embarked for Spain he was arrested by the English heretics who imprisoned him in Kinsale having robbed him of his garments and his traveling expenses. Through the mercy of Christ he effected his escape by leaping from the window of his cell into the slime which was left by the receding tide. He was concealed two days in a neighboring wood without being washed as he was afraid to approach the river. All this time he had neither food nor drink until with difficulty he reached the mansion of Roche, a nobleman, by whom he was humanely treated while recruiting his strength and by whom he was dismissed with becoming apparel and a suitable viatic. He was now enabled to reach his paternal roof to the great surprise of his mother who earnestly entreated him not to expose himself to the danger of a second voyage but his piety prevailed and having obtained from her another viatic he embarked at Galway and safely landed in a Spanish port.

Having entered a convent of the Dominicans, he devoted six years to the completion of his studies but the persecution of Cromwell still raging in Ireland. He set out for Italy where he spent sixteen years esteemed by all who had the happiness of enjoying his conversation. He became master of novices at Venice in the convent of St. Dominic at Milan in the magnificent and ducal convent of St. Mary of thanksgiving and finally in the city of Boschum, distinguished by the birth of Saint Pius V, he performed this office for ten years with credit and advantage. In the general chapter of the order held at Rome in the year 1670 he represented his province and the college of Louvain.

In 1671, he was promoted to the see of Elphin by Clement X unexpectedly and without solicitation on his part. Being forty one years of age when consecrated, he set out for Ireland and for thirty three years continued the good and vigilant pastor. His sufferings are indescribable while the persecution of 1680 raged against the Catholics of England and Ireland. For four months he was concealed in a solitary house and, on the approach of Easter week, in order to have an opportunity of consecrating the oils, he was obliged to travel forty miles at night. When Oliver Plunket, primate of all Ireland, was arrested and confined in Dublin, the bishop of Elphin received from him timely information by which he was enabled to baffle his pursuers. Though poor and without revenues except the voluntary oblations of the faithful he had an aversion towards receiving gifts or presents from any particularly from ecclesiastics and, in order that he might not be a burden to the clergy, he obtained a large and extensive tract of land which he farmed from the most illustrious William de Burgo, earl of Clanrickard, who was his cousin, on which he built a suitable dwelling, exercising that sort of hospitality peculiar to the primitive ages of the church, as soon as the fury of the persecution abated.

At the time of the war of the rebellious heretics of England against James II, the bishop of Elphin was obliged to dwell at Galway, where the citizens respected and revered him and placed at his disposal means sufficiently ample for his episcopal dignity. Besides his devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the canonical office, he made it a rule to repeat daily the entire rosary in her honor. King James II and his queen were much attached to the bishop of Elphin.

Obliged to become an exile, he repaired to Louvain and there dwelt in the college of the Holy Cross. From his retreat in 1695 by frequent letters addressed to the supreme Pontiff, the orthodox princes of Europe and their ambassadors assembled to deliberate on the peace of Ryswick, he informed them of the deplorable state of the Irish Catholics and of the intention on the part of the English people to extirpate the Catholic religion. By his interference with Innocent XII two briefs were issued breathing piety and sympathy with the Irish and recommending the Catholics to subscribe for the support of the exiles from Ireland then thrown destitute all over the Continent. The bishop of Elphin solicited for the entire kingdom of Ireland absolution from the presumed excommunication pronounced by the nuncio Rinuccini and, though others applied they met with repulse, not so with the bishop of Elphin. In the year 1656, John Nolan of Kilkenny, rector of the Minerva, and Richard O'Kelly of Rathbran in Killala, then at Rome to attend the general chapter of the order, strenuously urged the apostolic see to remove this censure. This favor Dominick de Burgo at last obtained and on this occasion thirty three apostolic briefs were addressed to the dioceses of Ireland. At last, full of labor for God and the church and of years, for they numbered seventy five, fortified by the holy rites of religion, in the enjoyment of his mental faculties, he calmly resigned his soul on the 1st of January, 1704, at Louvain and was buried there in the church of the convent near the great altar.

Ambrose MacDermott was appointed bishop in 1707, died 1717.
Patrick French was consecrated in 1718.
John Brett, penitentiary apostolic consecrated at Rome and a Dominican of Sligo abbey, was translated from Killala in 1748 and died in 1756.
James Fallon was bishop of Elphin in the years 1759 and 1775.
Edmond French was bishop of Elphin in 1800 and died in 1810.
George Thomas Plunkett consecrated in 1815 died in 1827.
Patrick Burke appointed coadjutor in 1819 succeeded in 1827 departed in 1844. In life respected and beloved and in death regretted
George Joseph Plunkett Browne consecrated bishop of Galway in October 1831 was translated to Elphin in March 1844, revered as the dove of the Irish church.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The See Elphin in the High Middle Ages (1246-1499)

From Walsh, Thomas; History of the Irish Hierarchy, cap. xxix, p. 301 ff.

Thomas O'Connor, dean of Achonry, was consecrated bishop of Elphin in 1246 and translated to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam in 1259. He sat there twenty years. While in the chair of Elphin he consecrated the church of the Dominican abbey at Roscoman.
Milo O'Connor, archdeacon of Clonmacnois, was consecrated at Dundalk by the archbishop of Armagh in 1260 and died in 1262.
His right to the see was cassated or made void on appeal to Rome and Thomas MacFarrell MacDermott succeeded in 1262. Thomas was abbot of Boyle, was twice elected before and after Milo's death. He only sat a short time and died in 1265. After the death of this prelate Hugh O Connor by force usurped the episcopal revenues.
Maurice O'Connor, a Dominican friar, succeeded on the 23d of April, 1266. He was a witness to a deed of exchange on the 28th of November, 1282, between King Edward I and the prior of St. Coman's convent at Roscoman of the lands of Rostrenin for the lands of Lisnerny. He died in 1284.
Auliffe O'Tumalty succeeeded but died soon after.
Gelasius MacJulianaid, abbot of Loughkee, was restored to the temporals on the 4th of March, 1285. He sat eleven years and died in 1296.
Malachy MacBrian, abbot of Boyle, succeeded in 1296 and died at Home about the close of the year 1302.
Donatus O'Flanigan, abbot of Boyle, who to the abbacy as well as to the bishopric succeeded in September, 1303, died in June, 1308, worn out by a tedious distemper. Donatus was much esteemed for his wisdom, hospitality and other virtues.
Charles MacJulianaig, abbot of Loughkee, elected by a portion of the canons bishop of Elphin and consecrated at Armagh in 1308, was deprived by the Pope. Charles returned to the abbacy where he died at an advanced age A.D. 1343, and Malachy MacAeda canon of Elphin succeeded by provision of Pope Clement V and obtained the royal assent on the 7th of December, 1310, was translated to Tuam in 1313.
Laurence Ó Lughtuan, some time official of Tuam, a canon of Elphin, was consecrated bishop of this see in 1313, being advanced by Pope Clement V. He died in 1325.
John O'Finsey or Ó Finachta, canon of Elphin, was elected by the dean and chapter and consecrated by his metropolitan in 1326, He died in 1354 and was buried at Elphin in the cathedral of the Virgin Mary.
Gregory, provost of Killala, was consecrated bishop of Down, supposed then vacant, promoted to the see of Elphin by Pope Innocent VI in February, 1356, thence in 1372 translated to Tuam.
Thomas Barrett, archdeacon of Enaghdune, was consecrated bishop of Elphin in 1372. He governed this see thirty two years, was the most eminent man in Ireland for wisdom and a superior knowledge of divinity. He died at Errew of Lough Con and was buried there.
John O'Grady succeeded in 1405 and died in 1417.
Robert Foster, a Franciscan friar and doctor of divinity, succeeded by provision of Pope Martin V in February, 1418.
William Ó Etegan, according to the annals of MacFirbisse, bishop of Elphin and many of the clergy of Connaught went to Rome in the year 1444.  Most of them died there.
Cornelius Ó Mullaghlin, bishop of Elphin, built a Franciscan monastery at Elphin about the year 1450. The canons and inhabitants of Elphin were donors also of this church. Cornelius died A.D. 1468. It seems that he resigned some time before his death as his successor, Nicholas O'Flanigan, a Dominican friar, was bishop of Elphin in 1458. The effects of old age and a dimness of sight caused him to resign in 1494. Nicholas requested of the Pope to translate George Brann, bishop of Dromore, to the see of Elphin but it appears Cornelius was the successor in the see for some time and after his death Richard MacBrien, a Dominican friar, succeeded in 1496 and died in 1499.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Sligo

Members and friends of Saint Assicus' Catholic Heritage Association made their pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the afternoon of Saturday, 17th October, for a Traditional Latin Mass.

The Cathedral was designed by English architect George Goldie (1828-1887), who was also responsible for the design of Churches in Bohola (1859), Ballymote (1859), Strokestown (1860), Gurteen (1866), and Killasser (1868).  The Cathedral's design was 1867.  Building took place between 1867 and 1875.  It was opened on 26th July, 1874, by Paul, Cardinal Cullen and consecrated by Cardinal Cullen on 1st July, 1897.

The design is in a massive Lombard Romanesque, the only 19th Century Irish Cathedral in the Romanesque style.  It is in a basilican style with the triforium gallery extended across the transepts. This effect can also be seen, 'though less correctly and with much less effect, in a Gothic context, in Ss. Peter and Paul's, Cork City.  The tower reaches a height of 70 meters.  The interior is 69 meters wide at the transepts and 19 meters high.  The aisles continue under the triforium right through into a fine ambulatory with a corona chapel that is now a baptistery.  The High Altar, surmounted by a statue of Mary Immaculate is intact under a brass baldachino.  Some of the stained glass is by Lobin of Tours.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Sligo Abbey (Walsh)

From Walsh, Thomas; History of the Irish Hierarchy, chapter lx, p. 655 ff.

Sligo, the capital of the county; a seaport, market-town and a parliamentary borough.

Maurice Fitzgerald, who was Lord Justice of Ireland in the year 1229, and who retained that office from 1232 to 1245, founded this noble monastery on the bank of the river Gitly and adjacent to the castle of Sligo, which Maurice erected A.D. 1245. The church was dedicated under the invocation of the Holy Cross, of which a commemoration was made daily in the divine office. It was supplied with
friars of the order of St. Dominick.

O'Connor Sligo was a liberal benefactor to this monastery. So was Pierce O'Timony, whose statue was erected in the cloister.

A.D. 1360, Mac William Bourke spoiled and burned the town.

A.D. 1414, the sacred edifice was destroyed by an accidental fire: at this time twenty friars were resident in the abbey. Pope John XXIII granted an indulgence to all who would contribute towards the expenses of refounding it.

A.D. 1416, the monastery was rebuilt by friar Bryan Mac Dermot Mac Donagh.

A.D. 1454, Bryan Mac Donagh, dynast of Tirerill, was interred here.

At the general suppression, it was granted to Sir William Taaffe.  It is at present in the possession of Lord Palmerston, who can be styled the "Cecil" of England in this enlightened century.

The ruins of this spacious and beautiful monastery indicate its former magnificence. The northern and southern sides of the arcade, with the east one, still remain covered with an arched roof, which will soon yield to the wreck of time. The arches and pillars are of extraordinary workmanship, a few of which are adorned with sculpture. The east window is beautiful, and the high altar, which still remains, is decorated with relievo sculpture in the Gothic style. On the south side of the altar is a monument of O'Connor, with his own figure and that of his lady.

Archdale observes that Cromwell has done some injury to this monastery, but "that merit" rather belongs to Ireton and Sir Charles Coote, who could perceive no fault in the "frolics" of his soldiers when transfixing Irish innocent babes with their bayonets, and then elevating them on their points, in order that the writhings of those "innocents" would afford diversion to the puritan soldiery of England. Cromwell was never in Connaught.