Monday, 24 July 2017

Boyle Abbey (Walsh)

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



Boyle, anciently called Athdalarg. See Easraacneirc. A market-
town on the river Boyle.

A.D. 1148, the Cistercians procured a settlement at Grelacdinach. They afterwards removed to Athdalarg or Boyle. Peter O'Morra, a man of great learning, became their first abbot; afterwards promoted to the see of Clonfert, and was unfortunately drowned at Port de Caneog, on the river Shannon, 27th of December, 1171.

Boyle abbey was one of the most celebrated monasteries of Europe. Boyle was filial to Mellifont, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Aodh O'Maccain succeeded the learned O'Morra. He moved his monks to Drumconaid. His successor, Maurice O'Dubhay, having continued there near three years, removed to Bunfinne; remained in this latter place near two years and six months, when they finally settled at Boyle in the year 1161.

MacDerraot, prince of Moylnrg, erected this noble monastery. The estates of the Macdermots have been seized by the King family, and lord Lorton is the present occupant.

A.D. 1174, the abbot Maurice O'Dubhay died the 27th of December, and was interred here.

A.D. 1218, the abbey church of Boyle was consecrated.

A.D. 1235, the English forces, under the command of lord justice Maurice Fitzgerald and MacWilliam Bourke, encamped within the abbey walls, sacrilegiously seized all the goods, holy vestments, chalices, &c., belonging to this abbey, and very irreverently stripped the monks of their habits in the midst of their cloister.

A.D. 1250, the abbot Dunchad O'Daly, the "Ovid of Ireland," died.  He was superior to all the poets of his time in hymnal compositions.

A.D, 1315, Kory O'Connor pillaged this abbey.

A.D, 1331, MacDermot, lord of Moylurg, resigned his lordship and assumed in this abbey the habit of the order.

A.D. 1342, Dermot Roe MacDermot died here in the Cistercian habit.

A.D. 1383, died the abbot MacDairt, a charitable and humane gentleman.

A.D. 1444, the abbot Thady died at Rome.

At the suppression, Tumaltach MacDermot was the abbot. Patrick Cusacke, of Gerrardstown, in the county of Meath, obtained a grant of the possessions of this abbey, then consisting of 2350 acres in various counties.

A.D. 1603, a second grant of this abbey and its possessions was made to Sir John King.

In the reign of Elizabeth, the abbey of Boyle was converted into a place of defence. Within a few miles of the abbey, on the north side of the Curlew mountains, O'Donnel, on the morning of the 15th of August, 1598, defeated the English troops under the command of Clifford, governor of Connauglit. Every Irish soldier, imitating the good example of their commander, prepared himself for the approaching combat by confession and communion. Scarcely had the divine sacrifice been concluded on the morning of this festival dedicated to the holy and immaculate mother of God, the queen of heaven, and the mother of the afflicted, when the English army appeared slowly advancing with
great order and regularity.

A notion then prevailed among the native Irish, that one of the objects of the reformation was to impugn the virginity of blessed Mary, mother of God. And this notion, which the language of the reformers then as well as the present day too fully justified, impressed such a horror against the English in the minds of the Irish clergy and laity, that it rendered their detestation more intense, and the English, objects of greater abhorrence. O'Donnel, impatient for the combat, which he deemed decisive of his country's fate, harangued his troops in the language of old Ireland, pointing out the advantages which their situation gave them over their opponents. "Moreover," continued O'Donnel
"were we even deprived of those advantages, we sliould trust to the great dispenser of eternal justice, to the dreadful avenger of iniquity and oppression, the success of our just and righteous cause. He has already doomed to destruction those assassins, who have butchered our wives and our children, lundered us of our properties, set fire to our habitations, demolished our churches and monasteries, and who have changed the face of Ireland into a wild and uncultivated desert. On this day more particularly, I trust to heaven for protection, a day dedicated to the greatest of all saints, whom those enemies to all religion endeavor to vilify; a day on which we have purified our consciences, to defend
honestly the cause of justice against men whose hands are reeking with blood, and who, not content with driving us from our native plams, come to hunt us like wild beasts, into the mountains of Dunaveragh. But what ! I see you have not patience to hear a word more. Brave Irishmen, you burn for revenge. Scorning the advantage of this impregnable situation, let us rusli down and shew the world that, guided by the Lord of life and death, we exterminated those oppressors of the human race. He who falls, will fall gloriously, fighting in defence of justice, liberty, his native country ; his name will be remembered while there is an Irishman left, and he who survives, will be pointed out as the companion of O'Donnel and the defender of his country. The congregation shall make way for him at the altar, saying, 'That hero fought at the battle of Dunaveeragh.'"

In this engagement the English lost fourteen hundred men. Clifford's head was struck off, and the cause of the British thrown into confusion by this victory, which the brave and the pious O'Donnel gained. The natives of Dunaveragh still point out the spot where Clifford fell.

Boyle abbey was once one of me finest buildings in Ireland, and even still in its fallen yet picturesque condition, is signally creditable to the architectural taste and skill of the native princes as well as that
of the clergy, previously to the English invasion.

Its ruins consist of the nave, choir and transepts, with a lofty square steeple in the centic of the cross; the south side of the nave is formed by a range of four lofty circular arches, supported by round piers or columns of considerable solidity. These columns support a lofty wall, on the side which the ivy now mantles, and are still ornamented with some beautifully carved corbels, which once supported the vaulted roofs. The great arches supporting the tower were forty-eight feet high, three of them circular, while the fourth singularly formed a pointed arch; the bases of these columns are traced with various ornamental devices, each studiously difliering from the other, and all equally beautiful.

The eastern window was particularly attractive. It consisted of three jiointed arches, divided by mullions with decorated heads, all tolerably perfect. Some of the capitals are plain, othei-s adorned with carving. The walls round the nave were perforated with a triforium, which opens into the body of the building, through various small circular arches, still traceable behind the ivy. The entrance was at the western end by a small arch pointed door. The stone used in the building is of the most solid description.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Annual Latin Mass in Letterkenny Cathedral

You are warmly invited to join us in prayer for the Annual Traditional Latin Mass in the magnificent Cathedral of Ss. Eunan and Columba at 4 p.m. on 15th August, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.


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, 22 May 2017

Drumcliffe Abbey

From Thomas Walsh's 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.

A.D. 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.

A.D. 930, died the abbot Moyngall, son of Becan.

A.D. 950, died the blessed Flan O'Becain, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, a learned and celebrated scribe.

A.D. 1029. This year Aengus O'Hoengusa, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, with sixty other persons, perished by an accidental fire in an island called Inislanne (territory of Carberry).

A.D. 1053, Murchad O'Beollain, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, died.

A.D. 1077, died Murrogh O'Beollan, comorb of Drumcliffe and St. Columb.

A.D. 1187, the abbey was spoiled by Melaghlin, king of Meath. The wrath of Heaven soon overtook him, having been killed in a fort-night after.

A.D. 1225, died Amlave O'Beollain, archdeacon of Drumcliffe, a man of extraordinary erudition, and in general esteem for piety, wisdom, and unbounded hospitality.

A.D. 1252, died in this abbey Maelmaidoc O'Baollan, comorb of St. Columb, a venerable and hospitable man, and in universal estimation in England and Ireland.

A.D. 1416, this abbey was set on fire by a band of plunderesr; the abbot Maurice O'Coincoil perished in the flames.

A.D. 1503, died the abbot O'Beollan.

Monday, 13 March 2017

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.