Coolbanagher is, however, chiefly famous as being the place where St. Aenguis, surnamed Cele De, or servant of God, conceived the idea of his celebrated religious Poem called from him the Felire Aenguis, or Festology of St. Aenguis. In the Introduction to this Poem we are informed that, when retiring from Disert-Enos, the Saint visited Coolbanagher, and that, one day, whilst engaged in prayer there, he noticed a certain grave, and the angels from heaven constantly descenting upon it and ascending from it. Aenguis asked the priest of the Church who it was that lay buried in the grave; the priest replied that it was a poor man who formerly had lived at the place. "What good did he do?" said Aenguis. "I saw no particular good by him," said the priest, "but that his customary practice was to recount and invoke the Saints of the world as far as he could remember them, at his going to bed and getting up, according to the custom of the old devotees." "Ah! my God," said Aenguis, "he who would make a metrical composition in praise of the Saints should doubtless have a high reward, when so much has been vouchsafed to the efforts of this old devotee." And Aenguis then commenced his poem on the spot. He subsequently continued it at Clonenagh and Tallaght. (O'Curry's Lectures, p. 365.)
It was in good company, therefore, that the members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association made another pilgrimage to Emo, Co. Laois, today and, by the kindness of the Parish Priest, organised Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, which was a votive Mass in honour of Ss. Peter and Paul, in the Parish Church of St. Paul. Reports of the Masses for previous years can be found here, here and here.
Bishop Comerford also records:
The handsome parish church of Emo, the site of which was a gift from Lord Portarlington, was erected during the pastorate of the Very Rev. T. O'Connell, but chiefly through the zealous exertions of the Rev. William Hooney, then resident curate. The bell-tower was completed by the Rev. John Phelan, P.P. Fr. Hooney died, to the great grief of his many friends, on the 3rd of May, 1872, and was interred in his native parish of Suncroft. The Altar of the Sacred Heart at Emo, and another [now destroyed] under the same invocation, at Suncroft, have been erected to his memory.
All ye holy Saints of Ireland, pray for us!