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Eoghan, Saints

Brief descriptions of the lives of five Irish saints

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Eoghan, SAINTS.—(I) EOGHAN OF ARDSTRAW was a native of Leinster, and, after presiding over the Abbey of Kilnamanagh (Co. Wicklow) for fifteen years, settled in the valley of Mourne (Co. Tyrone), his mother's country, about the year 576. He was followed by many disciples including St. Kevin of Glendalough, who completed his studies under this saint. As a boy he had been carried off to Britain, and subsequently he was taken captive to Brittany, together with St. Tighernach, who is best known as the founder of the Abbey of Clones, Co. Monaghan. So great was the fame of the sanctity and learning of St. Eoghan, at Mourne, that he was consecrated first Bishop of Ardstraw about the year 581. It is difficult to give his chronology with any degree of exactness, but the Irish annalists give the date of his death as August 23, 618. His name is generally latinized as Eugenius, but the Irish form is Eoghan (Owen), hence Tir Eoghain, or Tyrone.

Ardstraw continued as an episcopal see until 1150, when it was translated to Rathlure and subsequently to Maghera, but in 1254 it was definitely removed to Derry. In all these changes St. Eoghan was regarded as the clan patron, and hence he is the tutelary guardian of the See of Derry to this day, His feast is celebrated on August 23.

(2) EOGIIAN OF CLONCULLEN, Co. Tipperary, has been identified with Eoghan, son of Saran of Cloncullen, for whom St. Ailbe of Emly composed a rule. He is entered in the Martyrologies of Tallaght and Donegal, and is venerated on March 15.

(3) EOGHAN, Bishop, is commemorated in the Martyrology of Tallaght on April 18, and is included by the Bollandists under that date, but the particulars of his life are scanty in the extreme.

(4) EOGHAN THE SAGE (SAPIENS) finds a place in the Irish martyrologies, and he is also included in the "Acta Sanctorum", but no reliable data as to his life is forthcoming. His feast is celebrated on May 28.

(5) EOGHAN OF CRANFIELD (Co. Antrim) has been described as Abbot of Moville, but there is reason to believe that he is to be identified with the preceding saint of the same name, especially as the Bollandists style him Episcopas et Sapiens de-Magh-cremhcaille. A St. Ernan of Cremhcaille (Cranfield) is honored on May 31, but this is also the feast day of St. Eoghan. However, "Ernan" may be a scribal error for "Eoghan", and this would account for the seeming mistake of name in regard to the patron of Cranfield.

There are other Irish saints of this name, but their history is somewhat obscure, and it is not easy to reconcile their chronology.

W. H. GRATTAN-FLOOD


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