Wednesday 12 August 2015

Kildare Abbey (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlviii, at p. 488 and following:

A monastery for canons of St Augustine was founded at Kildare of which St Natfroich 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 spiritual 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 St Derlugdacha who is said to have been a great favorite with St Brigid succeeded as abbess and survived her only a year The feast of this saint is observed also on the 1st February AD 694 died the abbot Lochen the wise and the silent AD 726 died the abbess St Sebdana daughter of Corcius AD 738 died the abbess St Affrica AD 747 died the abbot Cathald Mac Forannan AD 833 died the abbess Affrica the Danes plundered Kildare AD 836 the Danes attacked Kildare destroyed the shrines of SS Conlaeth and Brigid her relics were conveyed to Down about this time AD 862 died Owen Britto scribe and anchorite of Kildare aged 116 years AD 868 died the abbot O Muredach a man of exemplary piety and wisdom AD 870 died the abbot of Kildare Murrough Mac Brian formerly king of Leinster AD 919 died the abbess Morean AD 962 died the abbess Murenna The Danes committed awful ravages Neil Oherluibh redeemed at his own expense as many of the ecclesiastics as could stand in the great house and church of St Brigid AD 1009 died the abbess Eithne AD 1112 died the abbess Gormfhlaith She was a remarkable exemplar of penitence AD 1135 Diarmod MacMurrough king of Leinster forcibly took the abbess from her cloister and compelled her to marry one of his own people It is related that 170 persons of the town and abbey were destroyed during the commission of this sacrilegious act AD 1220 Henry de Loundres archbishop of Dublin extinguished the fire which had been preserved by the nuns of St Brigid Of this inextinguishable fire as it is called nothing was known in the lifetime of St Brigid The first author who mentions it is Gerald Barry AD 1643 the earl of Castlehaven quartered his troops in Kildare In the twenty seventh of Elizabeth who has been the disgrace of her sex and whose infamies were legalized by an act of parliament the monastery of St Brigid with its appurtenances was granted to Anthony Deering and the renegade of the ancient faith which the perjured queen of England strove to supplant Ledwich has declared the patroness of Ireland as an imaginary person in his antiquities Hardiman of Gal way who is justly styled the light of the west assures us that there is not one word of truth in the book of Ledwich except what he has taken from O Flaherty's Ogygia A manuscript copy of the four evangelists was preserved at Kildare in the time of Gerald Barry said to have been dictated by an angel to St Brigid and elaborately described by Gerald as an unequalled specimen of caligraphy and illumination Gray Abbey was erected for Franciscans in the year 1260 by lord William de Vesci AD 1320 a provincial chapter was held here AD 1520 the strict observance was received Thomas was guardian of this house in the thirty first of queen Elizabeth Daniel Sutton obtained a grant of this abbey and its property in capite or by military service at the annual rent of 2s 3d Irish money A considerable part of the abbey still remains.

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