The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xvii, at p. 149 and following:
Roche Mac Geoghegan was bishop in 1640.
Roche Mac Geoghegan it seems presided over Kildare and Leighlin in 1640.
Edmond O'Dempsey bishop of Leighlin in 1646 signed the manifesto issued at Waterford against those who had assisted in restoring peace to the country. Edmond was a Dominican friar. He was forced to go into exile and died in Finisterra in the kingdom of Gallicia. His brother James O'Dempsey was vicar general of Leighlin in 1646.
Edward Wesley was bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in 1685.
Mark Forestal was bishop in 1701.
Edward Murphy, bishop in 1724.
James Gallagher, bishop in 1747.
John O Keeffe, bishop in 1770. James Keeffe, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, died 1786.
Richard O'Reilly, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, or rather coadjutor, was translated to Armagh in 1782.
Daniel Delany, died AD 1814.
Michael Corcoran, bishop in 1819.
James Doyle, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, was born in New Ross, county Wexford, in 1786. He was sent by his parents to the best schools and having as he grew up manifested a desire to embrace the priesthood he repaired to Portugal where he was trained for the ecclesiastical state. While yet a student in Coimbra, Portugal was invaded by Napoleon and Doctor Doyle and his fellow students enlisted under the banner of the country which they temporarily adopted and were of considerable assistance to the Duke of Wellington in his wars of the Peninsula.
Surrounded by the influences of his college life, the disciples or admirers of Rousseau, D'Alembert and Voltaire, he was well nigh making a wreck of that faith in which he was born and of that morality which is its concomitant but, as he himself admits, when everything conspired to induce him to shake off the sweet yoke of the gospel, the dignity of religion her majesty and grandeur arrested him in his career towards unbelief and filled him with awe and veneration towards her precepts. Everywhere she presided her ardent votaries while a terror to the enemies of revelation glorified and adorned religion when she alone swayed their hearts he read with attention the history of the ancient philosophers as well as lawgivers and discovered that all of them paid homage to religion as the purest emanation of the one supreme and invisible and omnipotent God. He examined the systems of religion prevailing in the east, the koran with attention, the Jewish history and that of Christ his disciples and of his Church with interest, nor did he hesitate to continue attached to the religion of the Redeemer as alone worthy of God and, being a Christian, he could not fail to be a Catholic.
Shortly after the retreat of the French from Portugal and Spain in 1812, Doctor Doyle returned to Ireland and became professor in the Ecclesiastical College in Carlow. In this capacity his acquirements won him the admiration of his fellow professors and his mild manner gained him the esteem of the students. As a preacher he was learned fluent argumentative and persuasive, every one who listened to his discourses should admire religion, its ceremonies and its mysteries. Having spent five years in the college he was at the unanimous request of the clergy of the diocese promoted at the age of thirty two years, by his holiness the Pope, to the bishopric of Kildare and Leighlin. During his episcopacy, his life is delineated by his own pen in the following words: "I am a churchman but I am unacquainted with avarice and I feel no worldly ambition. I am attached to my profession but I love Christianity more than its earthly appendages. I am a Catholic from the fullest conviction but few will accuse me of bigotry. I am an Irishman hating injustice and abhorring with my whole soul the oppression of my country but I desire to heal her sores not to aggravate her evils."
Doctor Doyle appeared on the stage of Irish politics when the people were yet slaves and aliens in their own land unrecognised by the laws of the empire to which they paid all the obligations of subjects. Everything that emanated from his pen carried with it due weight and tended in a great degree to soften the prejudices that were fostered for centuries in Ireland. Towards the dissenters from Catholicity he showed a most tolerant spirit and at one time suggested a junction of Catholics and Protestants, a suggestion which was unwarrantable as it was made on his private authority and which the holy see could not sanction. A canon of St. Peter's church of Rome, having arrived at Carlow with instructions to Doctor Doyle, the prelate at once perceiving his mistake as another Fenelon, archbishop of Cambray, made a noble sacrifice of his own sentiments by the calmest submission to the voice of St. Peter's successor.
Doctor Doyle, in a letter to the Marquis Wellesley, has vindicated the faith of Catholics, which was so long placed under the ban of proscription by England and her rulers: "It was, my lord, the creed of a Charlemagne and of a St. Louis, of an Alfred and an Edward, of the monarchs of the feudal times as well as the emperors of Greece and Rome, it was believed at Venice and at Genoa in Lucca and the Helvetic nations in the days of their freedom and happiness. All the barons of the middle ages, all the free cities of later times, professed the religion we now profess. You well know, my lord, that the charter of British freedom and the common law of England have their origin and source in Catholic times. Who framed the free constitutions of the Spanish Goths? Who preserved science and literature during the long night of the middle ages? Who imported literature from Constantinople and opened for her an asylum at Rome, Florence, Padua, Paris and Oxford? Who polished Europe by art and refined her by legislation? Who discovered a new world and opened a passage to another? Who were the masters of architecture of painting and of music? Were they not almost exclusively the professors of our creed? Were they who created and possessed freedom under every shape and form unfit for her enjoyment? Were men deemed even now the lights of the world and the benefactors of the human race the deluded victims of slavish superstition? But what is there in our creed which renders us unfit for freedom? Is it the doctrine of passive obedience? No, for the obedience we yield to authority is not blind but reasonable. Our religion does not create despotism, it supports every established constitution which is not opposed to the laws of nature. In Poland, it supported an elective monarch, in France an hereditary sovereign, in Spain an absolute or constitutional king, in England, when the houses of York and Lancaster contended, it declared that he who was king de facto was entitled to the obedience of the people. During the reign of the Tudors there was a faithful adherence of the Catholics to their prince under trials the most severe and galling because the constitution required it. The same was exhibited by them to the ungrateful race of Stuart. But, since the expulsion foolishly called an abdication, have they not adopted with the nation at large the doctrine of the revolution that the crown is held in trust for the benefit of the people and that should the monarch violate his compact the subject is freed from the bond of his allegiance? Has there been any form of government ever devised by man to which the religion of Catholics has not been accommodated? Is there any obligation either to a prince or to a constitution which it does not enforce?"
The health of Doctor Doyle visibly declining he was recommended to resign the diocese and travel on the continent with a view of restoring it but he did not choose to adopt the advice. His end approaching and solicitous for the welfare of his flock, he entreated the holy father to provide a coadjutor bishop and the Rev Edward Nolan was elected. Doctor Doyle died the 15th of June, 1834, of consumption. He resigned his spirit with fortitude and calmness and with that hope and confidence which faith alone inspires.
Edward Nolan completed his ecclesiastical studies at Maynooth, was ordained priest by Doctor Doyle in December, 1819, and was consecrated his successor by Daniel Murray, archbishop of Dublin, on the 28th of October, 1834, in the cathedral of Carlow. The intervening years of Doctor Nolan's life were spent in the college of Carlow, where he successively taught moral and natural philosophy, theology, and sacred scriptures. Doctor Nolan died about the close of the year 1837.
Francis Healy who succeeded, was parish priest of Kilcock at the time of his election, was consecrated on the 25th of March, 1838. Still happily presides.
Almost seven years after our first pilgrimage to Rathangan, which took place during the Holy Year for Priests (see here) the members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association returned for a traditional Latin Mass during the Holy Year of Mercy.
The following article was contained in the 1956 Year Book of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin:
Rathangan Builds The New Church and Schools are a Credit to Ireland
On Sunday, 6th November, 1956, the little town of Rathangan, by the River Spate, with a proud past that can be traced back well over a thousand years, added one more page to an illustrious history of Catholic devotion. For this memorable day witnessed a twin triumphant accomplishment, the laying of the foundation stone of the new Church of the Assumption by his Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Keogh, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and the blessing and opening of Rathangan's new schools named in honour of Saint Brigid.
Speaking with characteristic sincerity Most Rev. Dr. Keogh paid tribute to the priests, nuns, and faithful to whose devotion and self-sacrifice the new Church and Schools present so lasting a monument. "The people have dona a grand work in building their Church, the laying of the foundation stone of which symbolises that Christ and Christ's teaching should be the foundation stone of our lives."
And so, almost two hundred and fifty years from the year in which the first humble Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was built in Rathangan, and one hundred and forty years from the founding of its successor, St. Patrick's Church, this second Church dedicated to the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven is rearing its graceful lines to the sky.
The site upon which the new Church and Schools were destined to stand were donated by the local Order of Mercy nuns. Most Rev. Dr. Keogh visited these sites on Monday, 14th February, 1955. One week later fundamental operations were under way. Building started on May 16th. on the 6th November of 1955, the Feast of all Saints of Eire, "under the invocation also of St. Patrick," the cornerstone was solemnly blessed and laid. Already progress is well in evidence, and it seems a foregone conclusion that this beautifully planned Church will be completed well within the scheduled period of 15 to 18 months.
Designed in the Irish traditional style the Church will cost £60,000 and accommodate a congregation of four figures. One hundred and ninety feet long, sixty feet wide, and fifty two feet high, it will be graced with a belfry rising to an imposing height of one hundred and twelve feet. Its front elevation shows a dignified proportioned piece of architecture with gentle, graceful lines, the whole effect in perfect taste and symmetry.
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xvii, at p. 146 and following:
Murechad Mac Flan comorban or successor of St Conleath died AD 985 Moel Martin died in 1028 or 1030 Mselbrigid died in 1042
Fin Mac Gussan Mac Gorman died at Achonry in 1085
Ferdomnach was bishop and resigned in 1096 Maelbrigid O Brolcan bishop of Kildare died in 1097 He was a man of great fame
Aid O Heremon died AD 1100
Ferdomnach according to Ware resumed the see and died in 1101
Mac Dongail died in 1108
Cormac O Cathsuigh called bishop of Leinster on account of the preeminence of Kildare died in the year 1146
O Dubhin died in 1148
Finian Mac Tiarcain O Gorman abbot of Newry succeeded and died at Killeigh in the year 1160 where he was buried He assisted at the council of Kells in 1152
Malachy O Byrn remarkable for his modesty When St Lawrence OToole would have sent him to dispossess a demoniac he declined alleging that he had not virtue enough to cast out a devil This prelate died on the 1st of January 1176
Nehemiah succeeded in 1177 and governed the see of Kildare about eighteen years
Cornelius Mac Gelany rector of Cloncurry and archdeacon of Kildare was elected consecrated in the year 1206 and died in 1222
Ralph of Bristol treasurer of St Patrick's Dublin was consecrated in 1223 Ralph was at great expense in repairing and beautifying his cathedral He died about the beginning of 1232 he wrote the life of St Lawrence O Toole archbishop of Dublin
John De Taunton canon of St Patrick's Dublin succeeded in 1233 sat twenty five years Died about the beginning of summer 1258 and was buried in his own church Simon De Kilkenny was canon of Kildare and elected to the see in 1258 He died at Kildare in the beginning of April 1272 After the decease of this prelate the see was vacant for some time
Nicholas Cusack a Franciscan friar and a native of Meath was de elared bishop of the see by the pope who annulled the elections of Stephen dean of Kildare and William treasurer of that church He succeeded in November 1279 In 1292 he was joined in commission with Thomas St Leger bishop of Meath to collect a disme or tenth granted by the Pope to the king for relief of the holy land The sheriffs of the kingdom were ordered to aid in the collection He died in September 1299 having sat about twenty years and was buried in his own church
Walter le Veel chancellor of Kildare succeeded in 1299 Was consecrated in 1300 in St Patrick's church Dublin He sat upwards of thirty two years He died in November 1332 and is said to have been buried in his own church
Richard Hulot succeeded in 1334 was canon and archdeacon of Kildare He died on the 24th of June 1352 in the 19th year of his consecration
Thomas Gifford chancellor of Kildare was elected by the dean and chapter in 1353 He died on the 25th of September 1365 and was buried at Kildare in the church of St Bridget
Robert de Aketon obtained the see of Kildare in 1366 Was an Augustine hermit Elected in the previous year to the see of Down but the Pope annulled the election He sat in 1367
George is said to have succeeded and to have died in 1401
Henry de Wessenberch a Franciscan friar was promoted in December 1401 by the Pope Boniface IX
Thomas who succeeded died in 1405
John Madock archdeacon of Kildare succeeded and died in 1431
William archdeacon of Kildare succeeded in 1432 by provision of Pope Eugene IV Having governed the see fourteen years he died in April 1446
Geoffry Hereford a Dominican friar was advanced in 1449 to this see by Pope Eugene IV and was consecrated on Easter Sunday He died having sat about fifteen years and was buried in his own church
Richard Lang a man of exemplary gravity and wisdom succeeded in 1464 He was strongly recommended by the dean and chapter of Armagh to Pope Sixtus IV for the see of Armagh but without success He was cited by public edict on the part of the Pope to appear and produce his title to the see of Kildare He died in possession of his see AD 1474 David succeeded and died before he got possession in 1474
James Wall a Franciscan friar and doctor of divinity was promoted on the 5th of April 1475 He died on the 28th of April 1494 and was buried in a church of Franciscans at London He resigned long before his death
William Barret succeeded He must have resigned as he was vicar to the bishop of Clermont France in 1493
Edmund Lane succeeded in 1482 and died about the end of 1522 and was buried in his own church to which he was a benefactor He founded a college at Kildare in which the dean and chapter might live in a collegiate manner He sat in this see upwards of forty years He was entrapped into the mock coronation of Lambert Simnel He afterwards obtained a pardon In 1494 he assisted at a provincial synod held in Christ church by Walter Fitzsimon archbishop of Dublin
Thomas Dillon a native of Meath and an alumnus of Oxford was promoted to this see in 1523 and died in 1531 having presided about eight years
Peter Stole a master of sacred theology was provided by Clement VII on the 15th March 1529
Walter Wellesley a canon regular prior of Conal in the county of Kildare obtained the see in 1531 by provision of Pope Clement VII He died in 1539 and was buried in his own convent King Henry VIII endeavored to advance him to the see of Limerick ten years before this but without avail as the Pope was unwilling
Donald O Beachan a Franciscan friar of the Kildare convent succeeded on the 16th of July 1540 He died in a few days after
On the 15th of November 1541 succeeded by provision of the Pope Thady Reynolds a doctor of the civil and canon law One of Henry VIII's intruders was advanced to the see on the election of bishop Reynolds
Thomas Leverous a native of the county of Kildare and dean of St Patrick's Dublin was appointed by Queen Mary in March 1554 and was confirmed the year following by the Pope's bull. In January 1559 he was deprived by the government for refusing to take the oath of supremacy. After this he obtained a livelihood by teaching school in Limerick. He died at Naas in 1577 in the 80th year of his age.
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlix, at p. 493:
Graignemanach Vale of St Saviour AD 1204 was founded this abbey for Cistercians under the invocation of the Mother of God by William Mareschal earl of Pembroke AD 1225 William junior confirmed the donations in land of his father to this abbey AD 1330 Richard O Nolan was besieged in the steeple of this abbey and was compelled to deliver his son as a hostage for his future good conduct AD 1380 It was enacted by parliament that no mere Irishman should make profession in this abbey AD 1524 Charles O Cavanagh the abbot made a present to the abbey of a beautiful cross of silver richly gilt and adorned with precious stones he also purchased for the monastery several rich vestments and attended the Lateran council held in 1515 and 1516 as vicar general to the bishop of Leighlin AD 1537 a pension of 10 annually was granted to the last abbot Charles Mac Murrough O Cavenagh By an inquisition held in the ninth year of Elizabeth this abbey was found to possess six hundred and twenty acres of arable and pasture land eight townlands and eleven rectories with the tithes and alterages of the same The properties of this abbey were granted by patent to Sir Edward Butler of Lowgrange and to James Butler junior at the annual rent of £41 Irish
A monastery for the canons of St. Augustine was founded at Kildare, of which St. Natfrioch is said to have been the first Abbot – he was the Priest who attended the institution of St. Brigid before the appointment of its first Bishop – he is spoken of as the companion of St. Brigid, and to have remained with her all his life, notwithstanding the superintendence of Conlaeth, and it is also stated that he was wont to read in the refectory while the nuns were at their meals.
P. 486, Ecclesiastical History of Ireland by Rev. Thomas Walsh
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lviii, at p. 618:
Cluanchaoin not far distant from Clonenagh The following saints are recorded as bishops in this place St Fintan a holy anchorite who died AD 860 Aromeus or Aaron whose festival is held on the 1st of August
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lviii, at p. 621:
Timahoe in the barony of Cullinagh and south of Stradbally anciently called Teagh mochoe from the founder Archdall would lead us to think that St Mochoe of Antrim was the founder who does not seem to have any establishment beyond the confines of Ulster As there were other saints of this name it must have been erected in some time posterior to the age of the Antrim saint who died in 497 AD 925 died the abbot Moyle Kevin He is the first abbot whose name is recorded AD 931 died the abbot Cosgrach AD 951 died Gormgall prelector of this abbey AD 969 died the abbot Finghen O Fiachrach AD 1001 died the abbot Conaing O Fiachra AD 1007 died the abbot Fensneachta O Fiachra AD 1142 the abbey was burned A round tower in fine preservation as well as some of the monastic ruins are still to be seen The doorway of this tower is the finest of the kind remaining in Ireland has some things in its style peculiar to the round tower of Kildare The doorway is formed of a hard siliceous sandstone It consists of two divisions separated from each other by a deep reveal and presenting each a double compound recessed arch resting on plain shafts with flat capitals the carving is all in very low relief its height is fifteen feet from the ground The capitals of the shafts are decorated with human heads and the bases which are in better preservation than the capitals present at their alternate eastern angles a similar human head and at their alternate western angles a figure not unlike an hour glass The measurement of the shafts of the external arch including the bases and capitals is five feet eight inches the breadth at the spring of the arch is three feet nine inches and at the base four feet and the entire height of the arch is seven feet six inches
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xvii, at p. 144 and following:
The see of Kildare seems indebted for its foundation to the celebrated nunnery established by St. Bridget in this place. The sanctity of this holy virgin and the excellence of her institute attracted hither vast multitudes so that it became very extensive and, in time, Kildare became a large and populous town. Hence arose a necessity for episcopal functions and thus St. Bridget was induced to make application for the appointment of a bishop. Her request was listened to and Conlaeth a person of retirement and sanctity was selected. He led for many years an ascetic life in a solitary spot on the banks of the Liffey. Conlaeth was consecrated about the year 490 and it would appear that this ceremony was conducted with more than usual magnificence as it was attended by many of the ancient and sainted fathers of the Irish Church.
Fiech, the bishop of Sletty, Ibar of Begerin, Erck of Slane, Maccaleus of Hy Falgia in the King's County and Bron of Caissel Iorra in Sligo and other prelates attended on this solemn occasion.
St. Conlaeth governed his see with great wisdom and during his incumbency the diocese of Kildare obtained a high rank among the sees of Ireland. It was not however the ecclesiastical metropolis of the province nor was its prelate recognized as an archbishop. Whatever preeminence existed in the province it pertained without doubt to the see of Sletty. Kildare enjoying this dignity at a later period when it was transferred from the see of Ferns in the 8th century. The cathedral of Kildare the most extensive and beautiful in the kingdom except that of Armagh belonged conjointly to the Nunnery of St Bridget and to the ordinary of the diocese.
Beyond the sanctuary the great aisle was divided by a partition. The bishop and his clergy entered the church by a door on the north side the abbess and her nuns entered by the south. St. Conlaeth, after a life of zeal and apostolical labors died the 3d of May 519. The names of his successors in the see of Kildare have been carefully handed down in an unbroken series until the year 1100 in which Aid O'Heremon became its bishop. St. Conlaeth was buried in the church of Kildare near the high altar. His bones or relics were AD 800 translated into a sliver gilt shrine and adorned with precious stones.
St Aid the black who, according to Colgan, from being king of Leinster became monk abbot and bishop of Kildare, died on the 10th of May 638. The annals of the Four Masters place the death of Aid abbot and bishop of Kildare in 638. It is probable that this abbot and bishop was only a member of the royal house of Leinster.
Lochen the Silent commonly called wise and styled abbot of Kildare. His memory is celebrated on the 12th of January and his death is mentioned under 694. Of him and his successor and others are doubts regarding their consecration as the annals of the Four Masters call them only abbots of Kildare. Sometimes the terms abbots and bishops are synonymous.
Farannan, whose death is mentioned in the year 697, his memory is kept on the 15th of January.
Maeldaborcon expressly styled bishop of Kildare died on the 19th of February 708.
Tola, a worthy soldier of Chris,t a bishop is omitted by Colgan. He died on the 3d of March 732.
Dima called also Modimoe was abbot of Kildare and Clonard. He died on the 3d of March 743.
Cathal O Farannan mentioned as abbot of Kildare died AD 747.
Lomtuil expressly called bishop of Kildare died AD 785.
Snedbran also called bishop of Kildare died in the same year.
Muredach O'Cathald abbot of Kildare died the same year.
Eudocius O'Diocholla abbot of Kildare died in 793.
Feolan O'Kellach abbot of Kildare died in May or June 799.
Lactan O Muctigern expressly called bishop of Kildare died in 813.
Murtogh O Kellagh abbot of Kildare died 820.
Sedulius abbot died in 828.
Tuadcar expressly called bishop of Kildare died AD 833.
Orthanac also bishop of Kildare died in 840.
Aedgene surnamed Brito, scribe, bishop and anchoret of Kildare, died AD 862 in the 116th year of his age.
Cohbtach O Muredach abbot of Kildare and a man of singular wisdom died in 868. Colgan says his festival is observed on the 18th of July.
Moengal bishop of Kildare died in 870. Lanigan puts Moengal as the successor of Aedgen
Robertac Mac Niserda bishop of Kildare, scribe and abbot of Achonry, died on the 15th of January 874.
Lasran Mac Moctigern bishop of Kildare, abbot of Fearna, died the same year.
Suibne O Finacta died in 880.
Seannal died in 884.
Largisius was slain in battle by the Danes of Dublin in 885.
Flanagan O Riagan called abbot of Kildare and prince of Leinster died in the year 920.
Crunmoel died on the 11th of December 929.
Malfinan died in 949 or 950.
Culian Mac Kellach abbot said to be slain by the Danes in 853.
Mured Mac Foelan of the royal blood of Leinster abbot of Kildare was slain by Amlave prince of the Danes and Kerbhal Mac Lorcan in 965.
Anmcaid bishop of Kildare died in 981 having spent a holy life to a good old age.
For the 40th Anniversary of the death of Bishop James Joseph McNamee, who had been Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise from 1927 to his death on 24th April, 1966, our Association was granted the singular privilege by Bishop Francis Duffy, his successor as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise of organising a Traditional Latin Mass in the newly refurbished Longford Cathedral celebrated by Bishop Colm O'Reilly, another of Bishop McNamee's successor's as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise.
On Sunday, 24th April, 2016, members and friends of the Catholic Heritage Association gathered to pray for the soul of one of the most liturgically conscious of Ireland's Bishops of the mid-20th Century, who had attended the first three Sessions of the Second Vatican Council.
About a century after Ss. Brigid and Conleth Patrons of Kildare lived St. Laserian or Molaise Patron of Leighlin. Today is the 1,371st (or 1,372nd) anniversary of his birth to heaven.
Revd. Fr. Lanigan, D.D., in his An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, Vol. II, p. 402 ff., 1829 Ed., states:
St. Laserian, the other great supporter of the new Paschal computation, was, it is said, (57) son of Cairel a nobleman of Ulster and of Gemma daughter of Aiden king of the British Scots. (58) The year of his birth is not known (59); and the early part of his life is involved in obscurity. According to one account he was a disciple of Fintau Munnu, while another places him under an abbot Murin. (60) When arrived at a mature age, he is said to have proceeded to Rome, and to have remained there for 14 years. (6l) Then we are told that he was ordained priest by Pope Gregory the great, and soon after returned to Ireland. Coming to Leighlin (Old Leighlin) he was most kindly received by St. Gobban, who there governed a monastery. This saint conceived such a high opinion of Laserian that he gave up to him his establishment, and went to erect a monastery elsewhere. (62) Laserian is said to have had 150O monks under him at Leighlin. (63) About the year 63O he went again to Rome, probably as chief of the deputation sent by the heads of the Southern clergy after the synod of Maghlene, (64) and was there consecrated bishop by the then Pope, Honorius I. (65) After his return to Ireland, in or about 633, he greatly contributed towards the final settlement of the Paschal question in the South, (66) which he survived only a few years, having died in 639 (67) on the 18th of April. This saint was buried in his own church at Leighlin, and his memory has been greatly revered in the province of Leinster. (68)
(57) The Bollandists have (at 18 April) a Life of Laserian or Lasrean, which, they say, was written after the year 1100. They jiv.tly observe, that it is a confused tract and often not worthy of credit. He is sometimes called Molossius or Molaissus, latinized from Mo and Laisre his real name, in the same manner as his nanlesake of Devcnish was so called, with whom he must not (as has been done by Hanmer, p. 123, new ed.) be confounded. (See Not. 124 to Chap, xn.) (58) Ware (Antiq. cap. 29. and Bishops at Leighlin) says, that Laserian was son of Cairel de Blitha. Harris (Bishops) translates by Blitha; and perhaps this was Ware's meaning; for his account of this saint differs in many respects from that of the Life published by the Bollandists. For instance, according to Ware, his mother was daughter of a king of the Picts. (59) The Bollandists supposed, (Comment. praev.) but without any authority, that he was born about 566. This conjecture is connected with a huge mistake of theirs, of which lower down, in stating that Fintan Munnu was then a monk in Hy. (60) The Bollandist Life makes Fintan his master. But it is probable that Laserian was nearly as old as Fintan, who was young at the time of Columbkill's death in 597. In the account of the contest between them at Whitefield there is no allusion to this discipleship. According to Ware, Laserian studied under Murin, until he set out for Rome. Who this Murin was Ware does not tell us. He could not have been St. Murus of Fahen, (in Donegal!) who flourished about the middle of the seventh century. Perhaps the person meant by the name of Murin was Murgenius abbot of Glean-Ussen ; (see Chap. xiv. §. 11.) and there is reason to think, that Laserian studied rather in the South, where the clergy were inclined to receive the Roman cycle, than in the North where it was violently opposed. (61) Ware agrees with the Life as to these 14 years spent at Rome. The Bollandists think that, instead of fourteen, we ought to read four. (62) Colgan was of opinion (AA. SS. p. 750) that this was the Gobban who governed a church at [Kill-Lamhraighea, a place in the West of Ossory, viz. after having left Leighlin, and who was buried at Clonenagh. Archdall (at Leighlin) refers to Colgan and Usher as if placing the death of Gobban in 639, although Usher says nothing about him, nor does Colgan even mention his name in the page referred to. (63) See Not. 36. (64) Ib. I wish the account of Laserian's having been at Rome in the time of Gregory the Great were as well founded as that of his mission thither after the synod of Magh-lene. (65) Usher, p. 938. Ware, Antiq. cap. 29. (66) See Not. 36. (67) Annals of Innisfallen. (68) Ware, loc. cit.
Revd. Fr. Walsh, in his History of the Irish Hierarchy, p. 149 ff., 1854 Ed., writes:
"In the year 616, St. Gobhan founded a celebrated abbey at old Leighlin. About the year 630, a synod of the clergy was held in St. Gobhan's abbey, to debate on the proper time for the celebration of Easter, which was attended by most of the superiors of all the religious houses in Ireland. In 632, St. Gobhan, entertaining a high opinion of Laserian, who supported the Roman custom of celebrating Easter, gave him up his abbey at old Leighlin, and went elsewhere to found another. He is said to have ruled over fifteen hundred monks; they supported themselves by manual labor; and by reason of their numbers and the fertile district in which they had been situated, were enabled to receive a greater complement of students and inmates than many of the other institutions of the country. The schools of old Leighlin held a high rank among the literary establishments of Ireland, in the 7th century. The fame which it acquired in foreign countries, as well as in Ireland, attracted such numbers of students and of religious persons to its halls, that old Leighlin soon became a town of great note, and the surrounding district was usually called the territory of saints and scholars.
"St. Laserian, the first bishop and founder of this see, was the son of Cairel, a nobleman of Ulster, and of Gemma, daughter of Aiden, king of the British Scots. The time of his birth is unknown, and the early portion of his life is involved in obscurity. By some he is said to have been the disciple of Fintan Munnu, and by another account to have been instructed by an abbot Murin.
"Having arrived at maturity, he is said to have travelled to Rome, and there sojourned fourteen years —ordained priest by Gregory the Great, and to have returned shortly after to Ireland. Having been sent to Rome about 630, probably as head of the deputation from the southern clergy after the synod of old Leighlin, he was consecrated bishop by Pope Honorius I., and made legate of Ireland. Having returned to Ireland he founded the see, A.D. 632, and previously to his death, which occurred on the 18th of April, 639, he was a chief instrument in finally settling the question of the Easter controversy, in the south of Ireland. In the same year died St. Gohhan, founder of the abbey."
Revd. Fr. Alban Butler, in his The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol. IV, p. 176 ff., 1866 Ed., tells us:
"Laserian was son of Cairel and Blitha, persons of great distinction, who intrusted his education, from his infancy, to the Abbot St. Murin. He afterwards travelled to Rome in the days of Pope Gregory the Great, by whom he is said to have been ordained priest. Soon after his return to Ireland, he visited Leighlin, a place situated a mile and a half westward of the river Barrow, where St. Goban was then abbot, who, resigning to him his abbacy, built a little cell for himself and a small number of monks. A great synod being soon after assembled there, in the White Fields, St. Laserian strenuously maintained the Catholic time of celebrating Easter against St. Munnu. This council was held in March 630. But St. Laserian not being able to satisfy in it all his opponents, took another journey to Rome, where Pope Honorius ordained him bishop, without allotting him any particular see, and made him his legate in Ireland. Nor was his commission fruitless: for, after his return, the time of observing Easter was reformed in the south parts of Ireland. St. Laserian died on the 18th of April, 638, and was buried in his own church which he had founded. In a synod held at Dublin, in 1330, the feasts of St. Patrick, StLaserian, St. Bridget, St. Canic, and St. Edan, are enumerated among the double festivals through the province of Dublin. St. Laserian was the first bishop of Old Leighlin, now a village.— New Leighlin stands on the eastern bank of the river Barrow See Ware, p. 54, and Colgan's MSS. on the 18th of April."
St. Ethbin was born in Great Britain; and died in Kildare about the year 600. He was of noble birth. His father died when he was only about 15 years of age. His widowed mother then entrusted his education to his countryman, Saint Samson of Dol Abbey in Brittany.
One day, while Ethbin was at Mass, he really heard the words: "Every one of you that cannot renounce all that he possesses, cannot be my disciple." He immediately resolved to renounce the world. Because he was a deacon, Ethbin sought the permission of his bishop to withdraw from the world. Upon receiving it, Ethbin retired to the abbey of Taurac. This was about the year 554.
For his spiritual director, this saint chose another: Saint Winwaloë. The community of Taurac was dispersed by a Frankish raid in 556 and Winwaloë died soon thereafter.
Ethbin then crossed over to Ireland, where he led the life of a hermit for 20 years in a forest near Kildare, now unidentifiable, called Nectensis. Historically, there was no cultus for Saint Ethbin in Ireland. His relics are claimed by Montreuil and Pont-Mort in France. The date assigned to his feast, for example, in the Martyrology of Donegal, is 19th October.
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlviii, at p. 488:
Killossy called after St Auxilius the nephew of St Patrick and son of Restitutus the Lombard was bishop here and assisted St Patrick in compiling the ordinances by which the Irish church was to be guided St Auxilius died on the 27th of August 455.
St. Erk of Slane, Bishop
Friend of St. Brigid of Kildare, co-consecrator of St. Conleth, first Bishop of Kildare.
“St. Erk, ‘the sweet spoken judge’, was, in all probability, a native of Munster; and is said to have been page to King Laoghaire at the time he showed this respect to St. Patrick. [Lanigan, vol. 1, p. 346] He was consecrated some time before the year 465, and was the first bishop of the ancient diocese of Slane, and abbot of the monastery which was erected there by St. Patrick. He is said to have been the preceptor of St. Brendan, and was an intimate friend of St. Brigid. At the synod of Magh-Femyn, in Tipperary, it is related that Erk spoke highly of the great abbess of Kildare, and of the miraculous favours with which she was endowed by the Almighty. He assisted at the consecration of Conlaeth, first bishop of Kildare, and took an active part in all the ecclesiastical movements of the age… Colgan says that, in the old calendars, Ercus is treated of on 2nd of October and 2nd of November Probus, writing of him in the tenth century, says: “Hercus, filius Dego, cujus reliquae nunc venerantur in civitate, quae vocatur Slane.”
From: The Diocese of Meath, Ancient and Modern, by Rev. A. Cogan, C.C., Published in Dublin, 1862.
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lxvi, at p. 715:
Baltinglass a market town in the barony of Talbotstown on the river Slaney Dearmit Mac Murrogh O Cavanagh king of Leinster founded the abbey of Baltinglass for Cistercians in which he was interred about the year 1151 AD 1185 Albinus O Mulloy was abbot of Baltinglass attended the synod held in Christ church by John Comyn archbishop of Dublin inveighed in his discourse against the incontinence of the English clergy for having by their ill example vitiated the hitherto untainted probity and innocence of the clergy of Ireland Albinus was made bishop of Ferns See diocese of AD 1314 Griffin was abbot AD 1346 the better to enable the king Edward III to resist his Irish enemies the clergy of Meath granted to him in this year 40 the county of Louth 20 the prebendaries of the church of St Patrick Dublin 40 marcs the prior of St John of Jerusalem 40 marcs the clergy of Ossory 20 the clergy of Ferns 10 and the abbot of Baltinglass 10 marcs for the aforesaid purpose AD 1377 Philip the abbot received a full and free pardon for all seditions felonies breaches of the peace conspiracies confederacies false allegations and all other transgressions whatsoever by him committed and for which he had been indicted AD 1380 it was enacted by the parliament of the pale that no mere Irishman should be permitted to make his profession in the abbey of Baltinglass which an Irish prince had founded AD 1488 the abbot received a pardon for his participation in the affair of Lambert Simnell John Galbally was the last abbot At the suppression of the abbey AD 1537 an annual pension was granted to him The abbot of Baltinglass De valle salutis sat as a baron of parliament By an inquisition taken in the thirty third of Henry VIII the possessions were forty acres of pasture one hundred of wood a mill and watercourse in Baltinglass together with thirty messuages seven hundred and twenty acres of arable and pasture land in various parts of the counties of Wicklow and Kildare This abbey and its possessions were granted to Thomas Eustace Viscount Baltinglass and by the thirtieth of Elizabeth a second grant was made to Sir Henry Harrington to hold for ever at the annual rent of 11 19s Irish money
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xxxvii, at p. 369:
Tullach a village in the barony of Ravilly on the river Slaney In the sixth year of the reign of king Edward II Simon Lombard and Hugh Tallon granted to the Eremites of St Augustin a house and three acres of land in the village of St John near this place Tullagh John de Kell was prior in 1331 and in that year king Edward III confirmed their grant Tullagh was a strong place in the time of Cromwell who took it with great slaughter of the Irish Queen Elizabeth granted this monastery in 1557 to Thomas earl of Ormond
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xxxvii, at p. 366-8:
Killarge In the reign of king John Gilbert de Borard founded a preceptory in this place under the invocation of St John the Baptist for knights Templars but on the extinction of that order it was granted to the knights of St John of Jerusalem In the year 1308 the king Edward II having received the commands of the Pope caused all the knights Templars in Great Britain and Ireland to be made prisoners and their property to be sequestered Being a formidable body of men it was necessary that much caution should be observed in the management of this affair There was a writ directed to John Wogan Lord Justice of Ireland informing him of the proceedings adopted in England for the apprehension of the Templars and seizure of their goods and commanding him to proceed in a similar manner against those in Ireland but the time and place for the assembling of the sheriffs and their followers was left to the discretion of the said lord justice and the treasurer of the exchequer It was however ordered that the writ should be executed before the Templars could learn the proceedings against the members of the order in England In pursuance of those commands the establishments of Killarge and Ballymoon were suppressed The instructions given to the English sheriffs were that they should arrest all the Templars within their districts to seize all their lands cattle and goods and to cause an inventory of the same to be made in presence of the warden of the place whether Templar or not and of respectable persons in the neighborhood to place said goods and chattels in safe keeping to keep the Templars in safe custody in some convenient place without subjecting them to prison or to irons and to preserve the charge of the goods and chattels till they received instructions as to their final disposal The military order of the Templars was instituted about the year 1113 Some noblemen who had followed Godfrey de Bouillon to theholy wars against the Turks were the founders of this military institute They were nine in number and the principals were Hugh de Paganis and Godfrey de Sacro Amore They associated for the purpose of preserving the holy places and defending the pilgrims from the outrages of the Turks while on their way to the Holy Land To the three vows of which they made profession before the patriarch of Jerusalem they added a fourth that of perpetual warfare with the Turks They obtained the name of Templars because at the desire of Baldwin the Second king of Jerusalem they inhabited a house that was adjacent to the temple of Solomon They afterwards in the year 1128 became a religious order were confirmed as such by Pope Honorius H and St Bernard compiled a rule which they were to observe The order of knights Templars being accused of various crimes Pope Clement V called a council at Vienna with a view as he himself declared of ascertaining the truth of those allegations This council was held in the year 1311 and is the fifteenth oecumenical one of the Church The second reason was to deliberate on the rescue or relief of the Holy Land and the third motive was to provide for the maintenance of morals and discipline The decree of extinction which was only however provisional not definitive was passed on the sixth of the nones of May AD 1312 It appears they were justly condemned though the contrary is asserted The pontiff Clement V after due examination which he instituted wrote to Philip the Fair of France that the crimes of the Templars were acknowledged by seventy four members of their body that they had freely and without any coercion whatever affirmed on oath the truth of their guilt and among other things confessed that it was usual in the admission of members to abjure the Redeemer and spit upon the Cross that they committed horrible and disgusting crimes which he could not mention It is moreover absurd to suppose that all the cardinals bishops inquisitors officials magistrates and others could be so unmindful of their obligations and of public justice as to be influenced in their judgment in order to gratify the cupidity or the resentment of Philip the Fair of France Whether guilty or not as the order became suspected it became useless as no honest or well disposed person would embrace its institute Queen Elizabeth granted the commandery of Killarge to Mary wife of Gerald Aylmer on the 12th of December 1590
Today is the feast given in the Martyrology of Donegal for St. Connat or Comnat or Comnantan who was Abbess of Kildare in succession to St. Brigid until her death in the year 590.
Nothing is recorded of her life but it is an excellent opportunity to recall to mind the many excellent women of the Convent of Kildare, particularly her sister Abbesses, St. Darlaugdach, Abbess of Kildare, who was the immediate successor of St. Brigid and lived for but a year after the great foundress, St. Tulalla, a near contemporary of St. Connat, St. Sebdana, Abbess of Kildare, who died in the year 726, St. Affrica, Abbess of Kildare, who died in the year 738, and St. Finnia, Abbess of Kildare, who died in the year 801.
On a glorious January morning, despite very short notice, members and friends of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association make a pilgrimage north to St. Fintan's Church, Sutton. The Mass was offered for a member recently deceased. The Church is in the lea of the beautiful Head of Howth and looks across the northern stretches of Dublin Bay towards Bull Island and the harbour. It was a magnificent way to begin our pilgrimage year in the Archdiocese of Dublin, which had ended in 2015 with the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form by His Grace the Archbishop.
The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xxxvii, at p. 366:
Achad Finglass This abbey was situated near Leighlin on the east of the river Barrow in the district of Idrone the precise time of its erection is not known St Fintan of Clonenagh may have been the founder This abbey was one of note in the year 864 as the Danes then pillaged it St Aidus was abbot of this monastery The festival of this saint is observed on the 11th of April St Fintan having been at Achad Finglass advised a bishop Brandubh who applied for admission into the monastery of Clonenagh to remain where he was as the rule was less severe.
Born: 8 May 1861, Received into the Catholic Church: 21 December 1896, Received into the Sodality of Our Lady: 22 December 1896, Entered Society of Jesus: 7 September 1900, Ordained Priest: 28 July 1900, Died 19 February 1933.