An ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish, to the beginning of the thirteenth century , Compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors ... who have written and published on matters connected with the Irish church; and from Irish annals an online

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a poor marif while contrasting him with the nobles of the coun-
try ? Ware distinguishes {Bishops of Cork) Gilla Aeda O'Mu-
gin from the person mentioned by St. Bernard, probably on ac-
count of his thinking that this person was appointed bishop by
St. Makchy about 1140, and his supposing that this might be
too early a date for Gilla Aeda, who held the see until 1172.
But St. Bernard says nothing about the time of that appointment,
and it might have been six or seven years later than what Ware
imagined. Perhaps he was moved also by St. Bernard's calling
that man an alienigena, as if he meant to say a Joreigner, as in
fact Harris {ib.) has falsely translated it. But it is plain from
the context, that St. Bernard styled him alienigena for no other
reason than that he was not a native of the diocese of Cork ;
and this answers quite well for Gilla Aeda O'JMugin, who was
from Connaught.

(57) St. Bernard, ib.cap, 13, Messingham ; 26. Mabillon.

§.ix. The man, whom St. Malachy had allowed
to possess the lands belonging to the monastery of
Bangor, (58) was constantly hostile to him and his
disciples, and used to find fault with all his proceed-
ings. He had an only son, who imitated him, par-
ticularly on one occasion. St. Malachy having un-
dertaken to construct at Bangor a stone oratory,
like those which he had seen in other countries,
and begun to lay the foundation of it, some of the
inhabitants wondered at it, because stone buildings
were unusual in that part of Ireland. (59) That
young man not only wondeied, but became enraged,
and by means of whisperings and detractions induced



several persons to join him in preventing the execution
of the work. On their going to the siK)t, he ad-
dressed St. Malacliy with much insolence, saying ;
'* Good man, why have you taken it into your head
to introduce this novelty into our country ? We are
Scots, not Frenchmen. What folly ! What necessity
is there for this superfluous and superb edifice?
Where will you get money towards the completion
of it ? Who will see it finished ? Stop then, desist
from this madness; otherwise we will put a stop to it."
Little did he know how unable he was to effectuate
his threat, in which he was left alone ; for the others,
who went with him, had, on seeing St. Malachy,
changed their minds. The saint replied; ** Wretched
** man, the work, which you now see begun, will
*' certainly be completed, and many will see it so ;
" but you shall not, and beware lest you die in your
'* sin." In fact he died in the course of that year
before the oratory was finished. Meanwhile his
father, being informed of what St. Malachy had
foretold concerning him, said; "He has killed my
son ;" and denounced him to the duke and chief men
of Ulidia, in which territory Bangor was situated,
as a liar, kc, and abused him with the nickname of
ape. St. Malachy did not answer a word ; but on
the same day the unfortunate man, having returned
home, lost his reason and fell into the hre, out of
which he was dragged not without the burning of a
part of his body. St. Malachy called to see him,
and found him in a dreadful ungovernable state ; hut
on his praying for him the man opened his eyes, and
recovered the use of his reason ; but it seems that he
was afterwards subject to certain intervals of insanity.
Having become unfit to manage the lands, with
which he had been entrusted, they reverted to the
monastery. (60) St. Malachy really had nothing
to enable him to erect the oratory, but he confided
in Providence and fortunately discovered a sum of
money, which had been hid in the very spot, where


tlie building was undertaken ; and he gave orders,
that it sliould be all expended on the work. It is
stated, that he saw in a vision a model of an oratory,
and that he followed it in the construction of this
edifice. It is added, that he had a similar vision
with regard to not only the oratory but likewise the
entire monastery of Saul. (61)

(58) See Chap,xxvi.§. 9.

(59) We have seen already, that long before this period there
were buildings of stone in other parts of Ireland. An instance
of them is Cormac's Chapel at Cashel, and a much older one was
the ancient church of Duleek, which got its name, Dam-liagy
from its house or church of stone. Harris had no right to say
{Bishops p. 56.) that the stone oratory of Bangor is said to have
been the first of that sort in Ireland.

(60) St. Bernard, id. cap. 14;, Messingham ; 28, Mabillon.

(61) lb.

§. X. This monastery of Saul in the county of.
Down might seem one of those five Cistercian estab-
lishments, which St. Bernard says had been de-
rived from Mellifont. (62) But it is not reckoned
among the Cistercian monasteries, and seems to have
belonged to the Canons Regular of St. Augustin
after it had been erected, or rather, as usually said,
repaired by St. Malachy. (63) The monastery,
which he calls Surknse, or Suriam, was undoubtedly
one of them, and, in all probability, the oldest next
after Mellifont. I think it cannot be doubted, that
it was somewhere near the river Suir. (64) As St.
Malachy was passing through a town not far from it,
where he was surrounded by a great crowd of people,
he descried among them a young man, who had got
upon a stone to see him, and was eying him with
great attention. The saint immediately perceived
that he was of a good disposition, and on the follow-
ing night told the brethren what he foresaw concern-
ing him. After two or three days a nobleman, the


master of that young man, brought him to St. Ma-
lachy and requested that lie would, according to his
wish, admit him among his followers. St. Malacliy
received him with pleasure, and entrusted him to the
abbot Congan, who recommended him to the brethren
ofSurium, in which, in all appearance, Congan was
the abbot., (65) The said young man was the first
conversus, or lay-brother of that monastery, and led
a holy life according to the Cistercian institution. (JoQ)
♦St. Malachy rebuilt or repaired his cathedral of
Down, but in what year I do not find mentioned. (67)
In 1148 he consecrated the church, under the names
of St. Peter and Paul, of the monastery or Knock-
na-Sengan, since called Knock abbey, near Louth,
which was founded and endowed for Augustin Ca-
nons by Donogh O' Carrol, prince of Oriel, and
Edan O' Kelly or O'Killedy, bishop of Clogher. (68)
St. Malachy was uneasy about the pallium s, and was
sorry that they had not been applied for during the
life-time of Innocent J I. who had promised to give
them. Innocent died in 1143; his successor Celes-
tine II. held the pontificate for less than six months;
and after him Lucius II. for little more than eleven
months, on whose death in February, 1 1 45, Eugene
III. was placed on the Holy see. This Pope had
been a monk of Clair vaux and a disciple of St. Ber-
nard. St. Malachy had therefore a good right to
suppose, that he would be favourable to his wish for
obtaining the palliums, and thought it adviseable,
that the opportunity of a journey of the Pope to
France should be seized upon. Accordingly a synod
is convoked by St. Malachy and Gelasius of Armagh
to be held in the year 1148 in the church of Inis-
Patrick, (Holmpatrick) which was attended by 15
bishops, 200 priests, and many of the inferior clergy.
(69) Having sat for tiiree days, and made many
useful regulations, the business relative to the pal-
liums was treated of on the fourth. It was agreed
to, but a wish was expressed that St. Malachy should



not be the messenger. Yet, as he was inclined to
go, and it being supposed that, having to proceed
no farther than France, he wouhi not be long ab-
sent, no one presumed to oppose his determination.

(€2) See above Not. 4^1.

(63) Ware, who was very particular in investigating the history
of the Cistercian houses in Ireland, has [Antiq. cap. 26.) the ab-
bey of Saul, which, he says, was repaired by St. Malachy, among
those of the Canons Regular of St. Augustin ; but he was wTong
in supposing, that it had belonged to them since the days of St.
Patnck ; for, as we have often seen, there were no such Canons
in the world until many centuries after St. Patrick's death.

(64-) Ware [ib. at Tipperary) makes mention of the Cistercian
abbey of Inislaunaght, cr De Surio, a place near the Suir 3i
miles West of Clonmel. He says, that it was founded in 1159,
while others make it later. If so, it was different from the one
mentioned by St. Bernard. But perhaps it v.a^ only re-founded
or newly endowed after St. Bernard's death ; or, as Ware ob-
serves, the monks of the former De Surio, or Surium, might
have removed to Inislaunaght. I have remarked elsewhere
[Not. 69. to Chap, xvii.) on the mistakes of Colgan, Harris, and
Archdall relative to this place. Lynch was inchned to think,
[Cnmhr. evers. p. 169), that Surium was the same as Shrowl in
the county of Longford ; but, as he objects to himself, the monas.
ter}^ of Shrowl is said to have been founded in 1150 or 1152,
and consequent after the death of St. Malachy. Besides, the
iiame i> much different from Surium.

{Q5) This is sufficiently clear from the context of St. Bernard,
and his speaking of that young man as a member of the monas-
tery of Surium. Congan was the person, at whose request St.
Bernard wrote the Life of St. Malachy, and who helped him
with materials for composing it. (See Preface to it.) Some say,
that he wrote one himself. It has been also said, that he wrote
Acts of St. Bernard. See W^are and Harris, " JVriters at Con-


(fiQ) St. Bernard, ib. cap. U, IVIessingham ; 29, Mabillon.

(67) See Ware, Antiq. cap. 29. at DoxLn.

(G8) Tr. Th. p. S05. Ware, Antiq. cap. 26. at Louth , and


Bishops of Clogker at Edan, KnoGk-na-Sengan signifies the h'M
of ants. Colgan places it in the town of Loutli, and Ware near
it ; it might have been formerly in the town. Colgan elsewhere
{A A, SS.p. 737) speaks of the church consecrated by St. Malachy
as merely the church of Louth, and seems to distinguish it from
that of Knock-na-sengan. Ware {locc. citt.) and after him Hanii
(Monast.J and Archdall (at Louth) have another monastery of
Augustin Canons in Louth itself, which, they say, was founded
by the same prince Donogh and bishop Edan. It was probably
no other than the ancient abbey of Louth restored and renewed,
AS may be conjectured from its church being called, as the old
one had been, by the name of St. Mary. For Edan O'Kclly
see above J. 3,

(69) Life of Gelasius, cap. 15. and Tr. Th. p. 305. See also
the Annals of Lmisfallen at A. 1148. In these documents men-
tion is made of the enacting of good rules by the synod,

§. XI. St. Malachy immediately set out, and was
accompanied as far as the sea shore by some brethren,
but not many, as he ordered them not to follow him.
One of them, named CathoUcus, who was subject to
epileptic fits, lamented with tears his being aban-
doned by the saint without his doing any thing for
him, while he suffered so severely, and was con-
stantly troublesome to the other brethren. St. Ma-
lachy, having compassion on him, embraced him,
and making the sign of the cross on his breast said y
** Be assured, that you will not suffer any thing of
the kind until I return." In fact, Catholicus was
freed from those fits without being afterwards at-
tacked by them. Just as St. Malachy was entering
the ship, two other brethren represented to him,
that they wished for a favour. On his asking them
what it was, they answered that they would not tell,
unless he promised to do it. He promised that he
would ; and then they said ; " your Reverence will
please to give us your word, that you will return safe
to Ireland," and in this they were joined by the rest



of them. At first he was sorry for tlie promise he
had TYiade, but wishing not to make them uneasy he
agreed, as well as he<^ould, to their request. When
the sliip was half way over, a contrary wind arose
and drov^ it back to the Irish coast. St. Malachy
landed on a part of it, where there was one of his
own churches, in which he spent the night, and
thanking Providence considered this circumstance as
a fulfilment of his pledge to the brethren. Return-
ing to sea he arrived after a quick passage in Scot-
land, and on the third day came to a place called
Green-Pool, (70) where he had got a monastery
prepared, in which he now placed a Cistercian ab-
bot and monks, whom he brought with him from
Ireland for that purpose. Taking leave of them and
travelling along, he was met by the king David,
who detained him for some days. On the saint's
entering England, he stopped for a while at Gis-
burn, where some holy men following a canonical
rule lived, with whom he had been long acquainted.
While there, a woman afflicted with a dreadful cancer
was brought to him, whom he cured by sprinkling
water, which he blessed, on the ulcers. When ar-
rived at a sea-port, he was denied a passage to the
continent ; for the king (Stephen), who had some
dispute with the Pope, would not allow any bishop
to pass over. (71)

(70) Virlde stagmim. Some have confounded this place with
Viride lignum^ Green tvood. But Viride lignum was the Cister.
cian monastery of Newry, which was founded some years after
St, r.Ialachys death.

(71 ) St. Bernard, iL cap. 16, Messingham ; 30, Mabillon.

§. XII. Owing to this delay St. Malachy lost the
opportunity of seeing the Pope Eugene TIL in
France, and particularly at Clairvaux, where he
spent some time ; [12) for he had returned to Italy,
before St. Malachy, having got permission to sail


from England, could overtake him in France The
saint continuing his course reached Clairvaux in
October, 1148, and was received with the utmost
joy by St. Bernard and his holy monks. Having
spent with them four or five of the happiest days
possible on both sides, he was seized, after having
celebrated mass, on the festival of St. Luke with a
fever, and obliged to take to his bed. At first it
was thought to be of little consequence ; but every
attention, that could be used, was paid to him. He
told those good men, that it was all in vain ; and
when his Irish brethren, who had come along with
him, encouraged him not to give himself up, he said
to them; ** Malachy must die this year; behold, the
day is approaching, which, as you well know, I al-
ways wished should be my last." Having called for
Extreme unction, he would not allow the clergymen
to go up stairs to where he lay, but came down to
them. Being anointed, he received the holy viaticum,
and recommending himself to the prayers of the
brethren, and the brethren to God, returned to bed.
On finding the last night of his life coming on, he
f>poke with the greatest spiritual hilarity, and said to
those about him ; "Take care of me ; I shall not
" forget you, if it will be allowed ; but it will be
•* allowed. I have believed in God, and do believe
** that all things are possible. I have loved God ;
'* I have loved you ; and charity never failcth.'*
Then looking towards heaven he says ; *' O God,
** preserve them in thy name, and not only them, but
'* likewise all those, who through my words and
*' ministry have bound themselves to thy service."
Then placing his hands on the heads of each of them,
and blessing them all, he desired them to go to rest,
whereas his hour was not yet come. About midnight
the whole community assembled, and seveial abbots
were in attendance with St. Bernard and the brethren
to watch his exit. Not long after he expned m the
54th year of his age, on the 2d of November, A. D.


1 148, in the place and time (All Souls day), which
he had wished for and foretold. His death was like
a sleep ; so placid and chearful was his countenance,
as if he were alive. His body was carried on the
shoulders of abbots to the oratory, where the holy
sacrifice was offered for him, the funeral service per-
formed ; and every thing conducted with the greatest
devotion. St. Bernard, having observed a boy in
the oratory, one of whose arms was dead, pointed to
him to come forward. The boy did so, and applied
the dead arm to the hand of St. Malachy, upon
which he recovered the use of it. The remains of
the saint were deposited on the same day in the
oratory of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (73) St.
Bernard preached a funeral oration in honour of
him on said day, and another sermon of a similar
purport, apparently on an aniiiversary of his death ♦
(73*) St. Malachy was canonized, many years after
his death, by Pope Clement, probably the third,
rather than the fourth, as some seem to have
thought. (7^) He was undoubtedly the greatest,
the holiest, and the most disinterested of the bishops
of his times. St. Bernard, a truly competent judge,
could scarcely find words sufficient to express his ad-
miration of him. It may seem odd, that St. Malachy
has been called head of the religion not only of
Ireland but likewise of Scotland ; (75) but this may
be understood relatively to the great esteem, in
which he was held by the princes and people of that
country, and to his having formed there some reli-
gious establishments ; or perhaps to the traditionary
account of a dependance of the Scottish churches of
of N. Britain on Armagh. (76) As to his being
reckoned among the Irish writers, I cannot find any
sidficient reason for it, except his having written
some letters, not extant, to St. Bernard, and probably
to some others. (77) He was succeeded in the see,
of Down, by Moeiiosa Mac-In-clericuir, a learned
man who has been called Malachy II. (78)


(72) See Floury, Hist Eccl L.69. f 38.

(73) St, Bernard, ib, cap. xvi. xvir. segq. Messingham ; 31,
Mabillon. The 4< Masters [ap. Tr. Tk. p. 305.) agree with St,
Bernard as to the year and day of St. Malachy's death, obsen'-
ing, as does also Baronius, that his festival was transferred to
the following day to avoid the concurrence with that of All
Souls. The Annals of Innisfallen also place his death in 1148.
Harris {^■Archbishops of Armagh at St. Malachi/) mentions some
idle opinions concerning the year of his death or the day of his
festival, which are not worth examination.

(73*) These sermons may be seen in the first volume of Ma-
billon's edition of St. Bernard's works, col. 1047, seqq. He also
announced St. Malachy's death to the religious brethr :: of Ire-
land, and particularly to the congregations which he had .junded,
in a most affectionate consolatory letter. No. 45, in Usher's Syl-
logey and 374 in Mabiilon's ed.

(74) The bull of canonization has been published by IMabillon,
ib. immediately after the Life of St. Malachy. It is addressed to
the general chapter of the Cistercians, and dated the third
year of Pope Clement's pontificate. Mabillon says, Chronologia
Bernardina, col. x. towards the end of the 1st Vol. of St. Ber-
nard's works, that the canonization of St. Malachy is marked at
A. 1192 in the chronicle of Clairvaux ap. Fr. Chifflet. It will be
objected, that this cannot agree with its having been in the third
year of Clement III. who died in 1191, and whose third year
was 1190. But, although the bull may be fairly supposed to
have been issued in 1190, it might not have been acted upon by
the Cistercian order until 1192, after due notice had been given
of it and matters arranged for the solemnization of St. Malachy's

(75) Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1148.

(76) See above §. 4. and 11. Also Not. 35 to Chap. xv.

(77) Concerning the tracts attributed to St. Malachy see V^'are
and Harris Writers at Malachij. In our days nobody will think
of making him the author of tiie famous forged prophecy con-
cerning the Poy Li.

(78) Ware, Bishops at Dotvn. Some French writers, ex. c.
Mer\ard {Observat. ad Marti/rol. Beued. 18 Mart.) and Fleury
Hist. Eccl L, 69. §. 41.) have said, that Christian, abbot of


Mellifont, was bishop of Down after St. Malachy, which they
deduced from its having been stated, that St. Malachy was suc-
ceeded by Christian. But this should have been understood not
relatively to the see of Down, but as to his having been the next
Apostolic legate after St. Malachy ; not that he was appointed to
that office immediately after St. Malachy 's death, nor probably
until at least two years later. Christian was never bishop of
Down, but became bishop of Lismore, the only see that he held
at any time. The French ecclesiastical historians and antiqua-
ries, not excepting even such men as D'Achery and Mabillon,
have, when treating or touching on matters of Irish church his-
tory, fallen into many mistakes, owing to their not having thought
it worth their while to consult the documents, by which they
might have been best guided, such as Colgan's collections ; and
some of them seem to have been unacquainted even with the
works of Ware.

§. XIII. In the said year 1148 after the departure
of St. Malachy, Gelasius, archbishop of Armagh,
brought about in an assembly held at Armagh a
reconciliation between Murchertach or Maurice
O'Lochlin, the prince of Tyrone, and the chieftains
and nobles of Orgiel and Ulidia, who recognized the
supreme power of O'Lochlin and gave him hostages.
(79) To this year is assigned the foundation of a
monastery of Augustin Canons in Louth by Donogh
O' Carrol, prince of Orgiel, and Edan, bishop of
Clogher, (80) and the death of O' Dubbin, bishop of
Kildare. (81; In 1149 died Nehemias O'Morier-
tach bishop of Cloyne, who is highly praised by
Irish writers. (82) A very respectable prelate,
Muredach O'Dubhthaich, or O'Dubhai, bishop of
Tuam, greatly esteemed for his wisdom and hberality,
died in the 75th year of his age on the festival of St.
Brendan (l6th of May) A, D. 1 150, and was buried
in the monastery of Cong. (83) During his incum-
bency Turlogh O'Conor erected tlie priory of St.
John Baptist at Tuam. (84) In the same year
1 150 a great part of Armagh was destroyed by fire,


after which Gelasius made a visitation of his diocese,
partly for the purpose of procuring contributions
towards re-building and repairing what been burned,
in which he was successful. (8,5) According to
some accounts four Cistertian abbies were founded in
1151, tiz, those of Bective in the county of Meath,
Boyle in the county of Roscommon, Magio, alias
Nenay, in the county of Limerick, aud Baltinglass
in the county of Wicklow. (86) But it is much
more probable, that at least some of them were
founded earlier. (87) If, as can scarcely be doubted,
these were among the five monasteries derived from
Mellifont, which existed at the time St. Bernard
was writing the Life of St. Malachy, they must have
been established prior to 1 151. They are, next to
Mellifont, the oldest that appear in the catalogue of
the L'ish Cistercian houses. (88) Now St. Bernard
wrote that work before 1151, as is plain from his
speaking of Christian merely as abbot of Mellifont
at that time. But it cannot be doubted, that Chris-
tian was bishop of Lismore, and even Apostolic
legate in said year. He succeeded Moelmonech
0*Lonsec,whodiedin 1150. (89) Christian (Gilla-
Criost) was of a family named O^Conairche ; and,
as he was brother to the monk Malchus, (90) it
must be supposed, that he was a native of the country
about Bangor,

(79) Life of Gelasius, cap. 15. and Tr. Th. p. 306.

(80) See above Not, 67.

(81) Tr. Th.p. 630. and Ware, Bishops at Kildare.

(82) The 4 Masters, (ap, Tr, Th, p, 308.) wlio have his
death at A, 1119, call him a bishop of the Soutli of Ireland, and
represent him as very wise, devout and cliaste. He is praised
also in the Vision of Tundal or Tungal. (See Ware, Bishops ut
Cloyne.) St. Bernard makes mention of him, as we have seen
above, ^.7.

(83) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Tuam.

(8i) Ware, ib, and Antiq^ cap. 26. at Galwai/y where he sa)^, '


that he does not find of what order said priory was. Harris {ib)
makes it of that of Augustin Canons ; yet at Monasteries he
states that the order is uncertain.

(85) Life of Gelasius, cap. 16. and Tr, Th. p, 306.

(86) Annals of Mary's Abbey at A. 1151.

(87) Ware states ( Aiitiq. cap. 26. at Limerick) that the house
©f Magio, or Nenay, was fouhded in 1148 by, it is thought,
O'Brian, I suppose Turlogh O'Brian king of Munster. Of Bec-

Online LibraryUnknownAn ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish, to the beginning of the thirteenth century , Compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors ... who have written and published on matters connected with the Irish church; and from Irish annals an → online text (page 12 of 45)