Friday, 2 September 2016


From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Kells on the river Blackwater gives its name to the barony. Is attributed to St. Columbkille about the year 550 by others to Kellach abbot of Hy who took refuge there from the ravages and attacks of the Danes and who is said to have founded the abbey. However this may be mention is made of abbots of Kells long prior to his flight from Hy.

A.D. 692 Muredach O Cricain was abbot.
A.D. 713 in the seventy fourth year of his age the abbot Foylcow died.
A.D. 802 the abbey of Kells was destroyed by fire.
A.D. 804 it was rebuilt in honor of St Columba.
A.D. 806 the Danes having killed many of the monks of Hy the abbot Kellach sought safety in Ireland.
A.D. 899 the abbey was sacked and pillaged.
A.D. 919 the Danes plundered Kells and laid the church which was of stone level with the ground.
A.D. 1061 died the blessed St. Ciaran famed for his great erudition wisdom and exemplary piety.

This abbey is remarkable for many memorable events. The Danes having made a furious attack in the year 967 on this monastery were routed with great slaughter by Ó Neil, the Great king of Ireland. In 1152 the famous synod of Kells was held under cardinal Paparo at which three thousand ecclesiastics attended besides the bishops. The abbey was destroyed six times by fire but was afterwards rebuilt in a style of greater magnificence partly by the bounty of the princes of Ireland but chiefly by the revenues which were attached to it. It possessed the most splendid library of any monastery in the kingdom having been celebrated for its manuscripts among which was St. Columbkille's book of the four Gospels adorned with gold and precious stones. Richard Plunket was the last abbot when in 1537 Henry VIII took into his own hands the extensive possessions of this abbey.

The grants of De Lacie in 1173 consisted of 36 townlands. In Kells it possessed 90 acres, in Grangestown 86, in Corbally 82, in Malerdone 16 messuages and 300 acres, in Kilbride 220 acres in Kiltome 350 acres together with 19 rectories. These several possessions were granted to Sir Gerald Plunkett.

At Kells is still to be seen St. Columba's house situated outside the boundary wall of the cemetery on the north side in its ground plan it presents a simple oblong form measuring externally twenty three feet nine inches in length and twenty one in breadth the walls being three feet ten inches in thickness. It is roofed with stone and measures in height from its base to the vertex of the gable thirty eight feet. The lower part of the building is arched semicircularly with stone and has at the east end a small semicircular headed window about fifteen feet from the ground. At the south side is a second window with a triangular head about the same height from the ground and measuring one foot nine inches in height. Those windows have a considerable splay on the inside. The apartment placed between the arched floor and the slanting roof is six feet in height and appears to have been originally divided into three apartments of unequal size of which the largest is lighted by a small aperture at the east end. In this chamber there is a flat stone six feet long and one thick called St. Columba's penitential bed.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Kilbeggan Abbey

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

19th Cent. Convent, Kilbeggan

Killbeggan in the barony of Moycashell on the river Brosna. The abbey was subsequently called de flumine Dei by allusion probably to that river. The ancient establishment of Killbeggan is attributed to St. Becan, brother of St. Cormac, of the royal blood of Munster, and of St. Evin of Ross, in the county of Wexford. In the life of St. Cormac mention is made of Becan Sanctus Becanus in Mumonia remanens monasterium de Killbeacain alias Cluan ard Mobecoc crexit et sanc tissime rexit. The highest encomiums are paid to his extraordinary sanctity the austerity of his life and the miracles which he wrought. We are told that he used to sing the whole Psalter every day whether dry or wet, cold or warm, by the side of a stone cross in the open air outside the monastery. St. Becan lived in the sixth century. His memory was revered on the 26th of May.

A.D. 1200 the family of Dalton founded a Cistercian abbey here under the invocation of the Virgin Mary and probably on the site of the ancient edifice. It was supplied with brethren from the abbey of Mellifont.
A.D. 1213 Melaghlin Mac Coughlan, prince of Delvin, died here in pilgrimage.
A.D. 1218 his sons died here.
A.D. 1236 Hugh O'Malone, bishop of Clonmacnois, died here.
A.D. 1298 the abbot William O'Finan was made bishop of Clonmacnois. Maurice Ó Shangane was the last abbot. In the thirty first of Henry VIII an inquisition was held and its property confiscated. Its possessions consisted of one thousand and twenty acres of wood arable and pasture, three water mills, nineteen messuages, eleven cottages and twenty six rectories. In the eleventh of Elizabeth eight carucates of this land were granted to Robert Dillon at the annual rent of £6 15s. The remainder had been parcelled out in 1618 by James I to different favorites to be held of the king as of the castle of Dublin in free and common soccage.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Kilschire Abbey

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Killschire in the barony of Kells bordering on Westmeath. This church was erected under the invocation of the holy virgin St. Schiria whose name it bears. She was venerated on the 24th of March while Corcaria Caoin, a sister of hers, is not met with in the calendars. They were the daughters of an Eugene who was great grandson to Fergus a brother of Neil Negilliach. St Schiria was living in 580.

A.D. 745 died the abbot Dubdaleithe Nagraifne.
A.D. 750 died the abbot Daolgus.
A.D. 866 died the bishop, the first and only one at Killschire, St. Conall son of Fiachna prince of East Meath and of the royal blood of Ireland. The memory of St. Conall was revered in the isle of Arran where he is interred with the three other beautiful saints of Ireland in the same tomb.  Many of the Irish saints when their last days were near repaired to this island in order to prepare for the journey to eternity and to have the assistance of those holy men who served God in this famed retreat of contemplation and sanctity.
A.D. 920 died the abbot Allgus.
A.D. 949 the Danes plundered and pillaged this abbey.
A.D. 951 Godfrid son of Sitric at the head of the Danes did again spoil the abbey.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Religious Houses of Trim

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Ruins of the Abbey at Trim

Trim in the barony of Navan and situated on the Boyne. St. Loman the founder of the see of Trim in the 7th century.

A.D. 741 on the 17th of February died the bishop, St. Cormac, the son of Colman. This saint has been confounded with Cormac, archbishop of Armagh. Cormac of Trim is said to have been of the royal house of the Nialls. Three brothers of his are mentioned in the Irish annals: Rumond a very wise man deeply skilled in history and antiquities and who died A.D. 743. In the annals of Tighernach his death is thus recorded: "Ruman MacColman poeta optimus quievit." Ruman is styled by Irish annalists 'the Virgil of Ireland.' St. Baitellach, abbot of Trim, whose death is marked at the 5th of October 752, and Ossan, a priest whose death is not dated and who is not to be confounded with his namesake of Rath Ossan
A.D. 1110 died Flann O Kionedha dean and abbot of Trim and a poet in high esteem.
A.D. 1444 great miracles were wrought before the image of the blessed Virgin which was preserved in this abbey Sight was restored to the blind speech to the dumb and the use of their limbs to the weak and decrepit This is not to be wondered at in other countries similar miracles are recorded. On the 23d of July, 1418, a Swiss soldier struck with his dagger a stone image of the blessed Virgin placed at the corner of the rue aux Ours and the rue de Salle au Compte in Paris and the blow made the blood spout forth in abundance from the stone statue. Similar occurrences have taken place in Italy and a few years ago the conversion of a Jew Monsieur Ratisbon, now a priest, suddenly took place in Rome having been viewing a painting of the blessed Virgin who appeared to him while his friend was praying at the great altar of the church of St. Andrew delle Fratte.
A.D. 1454 Robert Acton senior a canon of this house was elected abbot.
A.D. 1464 numerous miracles were wrought in presence of this image.
A.D. 1484 a parliament was held in Trim.
A.D. 1538 the famous image of the Virgin Mary was publicly burned. The four Masters record the proceedings of this memorable year in the following words: "A heresy and a new error sprang up in England through pride vain glory avarice and lust and through many strange sciences so that the men of England went into opposition to the Pope and to Rome. They at the same time adopted various opinions and among others the old law of Moses in imitation of the Jewish people and they styled the king the chief head of the Church of God in his own kingdom. New laws and statutes were enacted by the king and parliament according to their own will. They destroyed the orders to whom worldly possessions were allowed namely the monks, canons, nuns, brethren of the Cross and the four poor orders: the minors; preachers; Carmelites and Augustinians, and the lordships and livings of all these were taken up for the king. They broke down the monasteries and sold their roofs and bells so that from Arran of the saints to the Iccian sea between France and England there was not one monastery that was not broken and shattered with the exception of a few in Ireland of which the English took no notice or heed. They afterwards burned the images shrines and relics of the saints of Ireland and England. They likewise burned the celebrated image of the blessed Virgin Mary at Trim which used to perform wonders and miracles which used to heal the blind the deaf and the crippled and persons affected with all kinds of diseases and they also burned the staff of Jesus which was in Dublin performing miracles from St Patrick's time to the present and had been in the hands of Christ while he was among men said to have been given to St Patrick in the island of Lerins. They also appointed archbishops and sub-bishops for themselves and though great was the persecution of the Roman emperors against the church scarcely had there ever come so great a persecution as this from Rome when Pagan. So that it is impossible to narrate or tell its description unless it should be narrated by those who saw it."

Anthony St. Leger, knight, and Richard Hayne obtained the possessions of this monastery from Elizabeth. The steeple usually called the yellow steeple was a lofty and handsome square tower one half of which was demolished by Oliver Cromwell against whom it held out a considerable time as a garrison.

Gray friary which was dedicated to St. Bonaventure was originally founded by King John for the order of strict observants. Others say it was founded by the Plunketts. The Observantines reformed this house before the year 1325.
A.D. 1330 the Boyne overflowing its banks the building was undermined and a great part of it fell. Maurice was the last prior who was found seized of the church and steeple, a dormitory, hall, three chambers and sundry other offices within the precincts and of no value. Its possessions in land about one hundred acres &c with appurtenances were granted to Lodwyche O'Tudyr, parson of Roslaye, John Morye, parson of Walterstown and John Wakely at the annual rent of 2s 10d Irish money. This friary has been totally demolished. In the church of this friary assizes were held before the erection of a session house on its site. Father Richard Plunkett who wrote an Irish Dictionary now in the public library of Dublin resided in this convent.

Dominican friary situated near the gate leading to Athboy was founded in honor of the Virgin Mary, A.D. 1263 by Geoffrey de Geneville, lord of Meath.

A.D. 1285 a general chapter of the order was held here.
A.D. 1291 on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Matthew a general meeting was held in this abbey, the four archbishops bishops deans &c attending and enacting measures for the good of the Irish church.
A.D. 1308 the founder of this abbey assumed the habit of the order. In 1273 he had been viceroy of Ireland.
A.D. 1314 died the pious founder and was interred here.
A.D. 1315 a general chapter of the order was held here.
A.D. 1368 the church was consumed by fire.
A.D. 1418 Mathew Hussey, baron of Galtrim and a great benefactor of this convent, was interred here.
A.D. 1446 in a parliament held here it was enjoined that the Irish should not wear shirts stained with saffron.
A.D. 1484, 1487 and 1491 parliaments were held here
A.D. 1756 Sir Arthur Cole created Baron Ranelagh by George II occupied the possessions of this abbey. There were at this time seven friars in the vicinity of their convent Patrick Lynham, prior, Michael Wynn, Thomas Hussey, pastor of the parish of Donore, Thomas Curtis, Philip O Reilly, William Cruice and Vincent Coffey.

Crutched Friary, Trim

Brethren of the cross bearers. This priory was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. A bishop of Meath is said to have been the founder and his successors in the see were great benefactors to it. The last prior, Hussey, with his brethren, abandoned their monastery on the 4th of February and in the twenty seventh of Henry VIII. Its possessions were a church and belfry, chapter house, dormitory, hall, three chambers, a store, kitchen, stable and cemetery, three gardens with an orchard within the precincts. These and other appurtenances were granted for ever to Sir Thomas Cusack, knight, at the annual rent of 8s 5d Irish. This priory was a truly magnificent building.

Nunnery founded in Trim but no account of its history remains.

Greek church. An ancient church existed here of old. A fact which shows that Ireland was the mart of literature and that students from all quarters of Europe flocked to her celebrated schools.

Chantry. A perpetual chantry was founded in the parish church of St. Patrick. Contrary to the statute, they, the priests, acquired a castle and ten messuages in Trim with eight tenements and ten acres of land in Donderry and Irishtown in the county of Meath. In return for the intention of the founder some meek minister of the reformed creed must be incited by the private spirit to curse pope and popery as well as execrate that faith which prompted the pious bequest which gives him aliment while he may be celebrating the victories of the glorious and immortal memory in a bumper of genuine Boyne water.