27 September 2013

Patron saints of Iar Connacht

Here are the patron saints of the parishes of h-Iar Connacht as it was when the O’Flahertys first began to be consistently called kings of h-Iar Connacht in the mid-11th century.  By that time, the Ui Briuin Seola had lost Conmaicne Cuile Tolad (barony of Kilmain, Co. Mayo) and nearly half of their core territory in Muintir Murchada to the advance of the Sil Murray.  The latter formed the territory of a new branch of Sil Murray, the Clann Taidg.  The parish of Tuam, the territory of which formerly belonged to Muintir Murchada, was taken by Aedh O’Connor, high king of Connacht, for his capital in 1049.

The parishes are listed by barony, and I’ve included the Aran Islands because they have been considered part of Iar Connacht since 1582.  The barony of Inishbofin has also belonged since 1873 but it was also part of Ballynahinch until the mid-14th century.  Some parishes exist now that didn’t then and I’ve included them as well.  Some parishes have more recently assigned patron saints.  The map is at the bottom of the article.

There are hundreds, even thousands, of churches, chapels, wells, and other sites dedicated to various saints, but just the patron saints of parishes (with one exception) are listed here.

Barony of Dunkellin

This territory belonged to the O’Hallorans of Clan Fearghail, whose patron saint was St. Finbarr of Cork.

Parish of Ballynacourty (number 14 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Colgan, and his feast day is 20 February.

Parish of Oranmore (number 111 on the map):  The patron saint of this parish is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and her feast day is 8 December.  The original patron saint was probably St. Patrick, who founded the early abbey here in the 5th century.

Barony of Clare

At one time, the territory of the O’Flahertys, Ui Briuin Seola or Muintir Murchada, probably took in nearly all the barony.  However, the family’s holdings were drastically reduced by the mid-11th century.  Their patron saint was St. Fursey of Killursa.

Parish of Lackagh (number 99 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Colmcille of Iona, and his feast day is 9 June.

Parish of Claregalway (number 24 on the map):  The original patron saint is St. Colman Mac Duagh, whose feast day is 29 October.  The modern patron saint is St. James the Great, and his feast day is 25 July.

Parish of Cummer (number 31 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Colman Mac Duagh, and his feast day is 29 October.

Parish of Killower (number 85 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Patrick, and his feast day is 17 March.

Parish of Belclare (number 20 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Patrick, and his feast day is 17 March.

Parish of Donaghpatrick (number 43 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Patrick, and his feast day is 17 March.

Parish of Kilkilvery (number 64 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Mary, and her feast day is 15 August.

Parish of Killursa (number 86 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Fursey, and his feast day is 21 March.

Parish of Cargin (number 23 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Brendan of Clonfert, and his feast day is 16 May.

Parish of Killeany (number 68 on the map):   The patron saint is St. Enda, and his feast day is 21 March.

Parish of Kilcoona (number 59 on the map):   The patron saint is St. Cuana, and his feast day is 4 February.

Parish of Annaghdown (number 5 on the map):  The original patron saint is St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, who feast day is 9 September.  The modern patron saint is St. Brendan of Clonfert, and his feast day is 16 May.

Barony of Galway

Coextensive with the church parish of Saint Nicholas and including Galway City.  The land outside the city walls was once a part of Ui Briuin Seola known Clan Cosgraig, of which the O’Hughes were chiefs.  With the Composition of 1585, it was originally assigned to the barony of Moycullen.  The town of Galway was a borough, or free city.

Parish of Galway (number 114 on the map):  The patron saint is St. James the Great, and his feast day is 25 July.

Town of Galway (in number 114 on the map)The patron saint is St. Nicholas of Myra, and his feast day is 6 December.

Barony of Moycullen

This barony takes in the former territory of Delbhna Tir Da Locha, which divided into the two territories of Gnomore and Gnobeg.  The parish church of Kilcummin dedicated to St. Cuimin is in Gnomore while the parish church of Kilannin dedicated to St. Anhin is in Gnobeg.  Until the mid-13th century, these belonged to the MacConroys and the O’Heaneys.  Afterwards, when the O’Flahertys and the O’Hallorans moved into the area after being chased out of the region east of River Galway by the Clanrickard Burkes, they adopted the local patron saints.  Historically, these are the two patron saints of the entire territory.

When the Church divided the territory into new parishes, it divided the two territories into the four parishes of Rahoon, Moycullen, Killanin, and Kilcummin, for some reason separating the parish of Killanin from its parish church in the parish of Moycullen, plus the parish of Killin, which is no longer extant.  The parish, though not the city, of Galway originally belonged to this barony as well.

Parish of Rahoon (number 112 on the map)The original patron saint is St. Mochua of Balla, whose feast day is 30 March.  The modern patron saint is St. James the Great, and his feast day is 25 July.

Parish of Moycullen (number 107 on the map):  The original patron saint is St. Enda of Aran, whose feast day is 21 March.  The modern patron saint is Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, and her feast day is 8 December.

Parish of Killanin (number 67 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Anhin, a contemporary and possibly companion of St. Patrick, and her feast day is 18 January.

Parish of Kilcummin (number 61 on the map):  The patron saint is the St. Cuimin, and his feast day is 14 October.

Parish of Killinkelly (formerly on Carraroe Peninsula and including Gorumna and Lettermullen Islands):  The patron saints is St. Mocan, and his feast day is 15 March.

Barony of Ballynahinch

Crossing the River Invermore (formerly Inverglassen), we enter Connemara, whose name is often mistakenly applied to all of h-Iar Connacht.  When the barony was erected along with the others in 1585, it was named for the seat of the western O’Flahertys in the region.  In addition to its original parishes of Moyrus, Ballindoon, Omey, and Ballynakill, it added Inishbofin from Co. Mayo in 1873.

These parishes all have their ancient patron saints dating from the time when the Conmaicne Mara held the region before the arrival of the exiles from east of River Galway in the 13th century.  For the area as a whole, a group of seven women saints were and are held particularly in high esteem, known variously as the Seven Sisters or Seven Daughters of Connemara, to whom sites dedicated dot the landscape of both Connemara and the Aran Islands.  St. Fechin of Cong, or “of Fore” if you happen to be in Midhe, is known as the Apostle of Connemara.

Parish of Moyrus (number 109 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Sinach MacDara, usually known by his patronymic, and his feast day is 16 July.

Parish of Ballindoon (number 11 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Flannan of Killaloe, and his feast day is 18 December.

Parish of Omey (number 110 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Fechin of Cong, and his feast day is 20 January.

The parish church was once the church at Ath Dearg (the “Red Ford”), where the road from the east crosses a small river into the head of Bauratrough (Streamstown) Bay, but is now on Omey Island west of Ballyconry (Kingstown) Peninsula.

Parish of Ballynakill (number 17 on the map): The patron saint is St. Gregory Ceannanach, and his feast day is 12 March.  St. Gregory is one of the few “red martyrs” of Ireland’s evangelization period, beheaded by a local chieftain.

Parish of Inishbofin (west of number 17 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Colman of Lindisfarne, who founded the abbey here after leaving Northumbria following the Synod of Whitby.  His feast day is 18 February.  Its other island, Inishark, holds St. Leo as its patron saint, and his feast day is 10 November.

Barony of Ross

Formerly known as Duiche Sheoige (Joyce Country) and before that as Ui Orbsen.  In Co. Mayo, the barony of Kilmain has parishes of Ballinchalla, Ballinrobe, and Cong, and the barony of Carra has a parish of Ballinrobe.

Parish of Ross (number 113 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Brendan of Clonfert, and his feast day is 16 May.

Parish of Ballinchalla (number 10 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Brigid of Kildare, and her feast day is 1 February. 

Parish of Ballinrobe (number 12 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Patrick, and his feast day is 17 March. 

Parish of Cong (number 30 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Patrick, and his feast day is 17 March.

Barony of Carra, Co. Mayo

Parish of Ballinrobe:  The patron saint is St. Patrick of Armagh, and his feast day is 17 March. 

Barony of Kilmaine, Co. Mayo

Parish of Ballinchalla:  The patron saint is St. Patrick of Armagh, and his feast day is 17 March. 

Parish of Ballinrobe:  The patron saint is St. Patrick of Armagh, and his feast day is 17 March. 

Parish of Loch Measg: The patron saint is St. Colmcille of Iona, and his feast day is 9 June.

Parish of Cong:  The patron saint is St. Fechin of Cong, and his feast day is 20 January.

Parish of Shrule:  The patron saint is St. Colman Mac Duagh, and his feast day is 29 October.

Barony of Aran

In the early Christian era, the Aran Islands belonged to the Corco Mruad Arann, a sept of the same-named tribe on the mainland in what is now Co. Clare, then the southern part of Ui Fiachrach Aidne.  It remained so until the 8th century, when the Eoghanachta Ninussa took over the islands along with the mainland.  In the 12th century, the MacTeige O’Briens seized control of the archipelago and held it until 1582, when they lost it to the O’Flahertys, who added it to the kingdom of Iar Connacht.

Parish of Inisheer (number 44 on the map):  The patron saint is Saint Cavan, and his feast day is 14 June.

Parish of Inishmaan (number 43 on the map):  The original patron saint if St. Fechin of Cong, ans his feast day is 20 January.  The modern patron saint is St. John the Baptist, and his feast day is 24 June.

Parish of Inishmore (number 45 on the map):  The patron saint is St. Enda, who founded the great school and the abbey of Killeany here, and his feast day is 21 March.






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