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Produced by Dennis McCarthy



Vol. XVI.

(Edited from MS. in Bibliotheque Royale, Brussels),


(Edited from MS. in the Library of Royal Irish Academy),

With Introduction, Translation, and Notes,


Rev. P. Power, M.R.I.A.,
University College, Cork.



- General
- St. Declan
- St. Mochuda
- Map of Ireland
Life of Declan
Life of Mochuda
[Transcriber's Note]


It is solely the historical aspect and worth of the two tracts herewith
presented that appealed to their edition and first suggested to him
their preparation and publication. Had preparation in question depended
for its motive merely on considerations of the texts' philologic
interest or value it would, to speak frankly, never have been
undertaken. The editor, who disclaims qualification as a philologist,
regards these Lives as very valuable historical material, publication of
which may serve to light up some dark corners of our Celtic
ecclesiastical past. He is egotist enough to hope that the present
"blazing of the track," inadequate and feeble though it be, may induce
other and better equipped explorers to follow.

The present editor was studying the Life of Declan for quite another
purpose when, some years since, the zealous Hon. Secretary of the Irish
Texts Society suggested to him publication of the tract in its present
form, and addition of the Life of Carthach [Mochuda]. Whatever credit
therefore is due to originating this work is Miss Hull's, and hers alone.

The editor's best thanks are due, and are hereby most gratefully
tendered, to Rev. M. Sheehan, D.D., D.Ph., Rev. Paul Walsh, Rev. J.
MacErlhean, S.J., M.A., as well as to Mr. R. O'Foley, who, at much
expense of time and labour, have carefully read the proofs, and, with
unselfish prodigality of their scholarly resources, have made many
valuable suggestions and corrections.




A most distinctive class of ancient Irish literature, and probably the
class that is least popularly familiar, is the hagiographical. It is,
the present writer ventures to submit, as valuable as it is distinctive
and as well worthy of study as it is neglected. While annals, tales and
poetry have found editors the Lives of Irish Saints have remained
largely a mine unworked. Into the causes of this strange neglect it is
not the purpose of the present introduction to enter. Suffice it to
glance in passing at one of the reasons which has been alleged in
explanation, scil.:--that the "Lives" are uncritical and romantic, that
they abound in wild legends, chronological impossibilities and all sorts
of incredible stories, and, finally, that miracles are multiplied till
the miraculous becomes the ordinary, and that marvels are magnified till
the narrative borders on the ludicrous. The Saint as he is sketched is
sometimes a positively repulsive being--arrogant, venomous, and cruel;
he demands two eyes or more for one, and, pucklike, fairly revels in
mischief! As painted he is in fact more a pagan deity than a Christian

The foregoing charges may, or must, be admitted partially or in full,
but such admission implies no denial of the historical value of the
Lives. All archaic literature, be it remembered, is in a greater or
less degree uncritical, and it must be read in the light of the writer's
times and surroundings. That imagination should sometimes run riot and
the pen be carried beyond the boundary line of the strictly literal is
perhaps nothing much to be marvelled at in the case of the supernatural
minded Celt with religion for his theme. Did the scribe believe what he
wrote when he recounted the multiplied marvels of his holy patron's
life? Doubtless he did--and why not! To the unsophisticated monastic
and mediaeval mind, as to the mind of primitive man, the marvellous and
supernatural is almost as real and near as the commonplace and natural.
If anyone doubts this let him study the mind of the modern Irish
peasant; let him get beneath its surface and inside its guardian ring of
shrinking reserve; there he will find the same material exactly as
composed the mind of the tenth century biographers of Declan and
Mochuda. Dreamers and visionaries were of as frequent occurrence in Erin
of ages ago as they are to-day. Then as now the supernatural and
marvellous had a wondrous fascination for the Celtic mind. Sometimes the
attraction becomes so strong as seemingly to overbalance the faculty of
distinguishing fact from fancy. Of St. Bridget we are gravely told that
to dry her wet cloak she hung in out on a sunbeam! Another Saint sailed
away to a foreign land on a sod from his native hillside! More than
once we find a flagstone turned into a raft to bear a missionary band
beyond the seas! St. Fursey exchanged diseases with his friend
Magnentius, and, stranger still, the exchange was arranged and effected
by correspondence! To the saints moreover are ascribed lives of
incredible duration--to Mochta, Ibar, Seachnal, and Brendan, for
instance, three hundred years each; St. Mochaemog is credited with a
life of four hundred and thirteen years, and so on!

Clan, or tribe, rivalry was doubtless one of the things which made for
the invention and multiplication of miracles. If the patron of the
Decies is credited with a miracle, the tribesmen of Ossory must go one
better and attribute to their tribal saint a marvel more striking still.
The hagiographers of Decies retort for their patron by a claim of yet
another miracle and so on. It is to be feared too that occasionally a
less worthy motive than tribal honour prompted the imagination of our
Irish hagiographers--the desire to exploit the saint and his honour for
worldly gain.

The "Lives" of the Irish Saints contain an immense quantity of material
of first rate importance for the historian of the Celtic church.
Underneath the later concoction of fable is a solid substratum of fact
which no serious student can ignore. Even where the narrative is
otherwise plainly myth or fiction it sheds many a useful sidelight on
ancient manners, customs and laws as well as on the curious and often
intricate operations of the Celtic mind.

By "Lives" are here meant the old MS. biographies which have come down
to us from ages before the invention of printing. Sometimes these
"Lives" are styled "Acts." Generally we have only one standard "Life"
of a saint and of this there are usually several copies, scattered in
various libraries and collections. Occasionally a second Life is found
differing essentially from the first, but, as a rule, the different
copies are only recensions of a single original. Some of the MSS. are
parchment but the majority are in paper; some Lives again are merely
fragments and no doubt scores if not hundreds of others have been
entirely lost. Of many hundreds of our Irish saints we have only the
meagre details supplied by the martyrologies, with perhaps occasional
reference to them in the Lives of other saints. Again, finally, the
memory of hundreds and hundreds of saints additional survives only in
place names or is entirely lost.

There still survive probably over a hundred "Lives"--possibly one
hundred and fifty; this, however, does not imply that therefore we have
Lives of one hundred or one hundred and fifty saints, for many of the
saints whose Acts survive have really two sets of the latter--one in
Latin and the other in Irish; moreover, of a few of the Latin Lives and
of a larger number of the Irish Lives we have two or more recensions.
There are, for instance, three independent Lives of St. Mochuda and one
of these is in two recensions.

The surviving Lives naturally divide themselves into two great
classes--the Latin Lives and the Irish,--written in Latin and Irish
respectively. We have a Latin Life only of some saints, and Irish Life
only of others, and of others again we have a Latin Life and an Irish.
It may be necessary to add the Acts which have been translated into Latin
by Colgan or the Bollandists do not of course rank as Latin Lives.
Whether the Latin Lives proper are free translations of the Irish Lives
or the Irish Lives translations of Latin originals remains still, to a
large extent, an open question. Plummer ("Vitae SSm. Hib.," Introd.)
seems to favour the Latin Lives as the originals. His reasoning here
however leaves one rather unconvinced. This is not the place to go into
the matter at length, but a new bit of evidence which makes against the
theory of Latin originals may be quoted; it is furnished by the well
known collection of Latin Lives known as the Codex Salmanticensis, to
which are appended brief marginal notes in mixed middle Irish and Latin.
One such note to the Life of St. Cuangus of Lismore (recte Liathmore)
requests a prayer for him who has translated the Life out of the Irish
into Latin. If one of the Lives, and this a typical or characteristic
Life, be a translation, we may perhaps assume that the others, or most
of them, are translations also. In any case we may assume as certain
that there were original Irish materials or data from which the formal
Lives (Irish or Latin) were compiled.

The Latin Lives are contained mainly in four great collections. The
first and probably the most important of these is in the Royal Library
at Brussels, included chiefly in a large MS. known as 'Codex
Salmanticensis' from the fact that it belonged in the seventeenth
century to the Irish College of Salamanca. The second collection is in
Marsh's Library, Dublin, and the third in Trinity College Library. The
two latter may for practical purposes be regarded as one, for they are
sister MSS.--copied from the same original. The Marsh's Library
collection is almost certainly, teste Plummer, the document referred to
by Colgan as Codex Kilkenniensis and it is quite certainly the Codex
Ardmachanus of Fleming. The fourth collection (or the third, if we take
as one the two last mentioned,) is in the Bodleian at Oxford amongst
what are known as the Rawlinson MSS. Of minor importance, for one
reason or another, are the collections of the Franciscan Library,
Merchants' Quay, Dublin, and in Maynooth College respectively. The
first of the enumerated collections was published 'in extenso,' about
twenty-five years since, by the Marquis of Bute, while recently the gist
of all the Latin collections has been edited with rare scholarship by
Rev. Charles Plummer of Oxford. Incidentally may be noted the one
defect in Mr. Plummer's great work--its author's almost irritating
insistence on pagan origins, nature myths, and heathen survivals.
Besides the Marquis of Bute and Plummer, Colgan and the Bollandists have
published some Latin Lives, and a few isolated "Lives" have been
published from time to time by other more or less competent editors.

The Irish Lives, though more numerous than the Latin, are less
accessible. The chief repertorium of the former is the Burgundian or
Royal Library, Brussels. The MS. collection at Brussels appears to have
originally belonged to the Irish Franciscans of Louvain and much of it
is in the well-known handwriting of Michael O'Clery. There are also
several collections of Irish Lives in Ireland--in the Royal Irish
Academy, for instance, and Trinity College Libraries. Finally, there
are a few Irish Lives at Oxford and Cambridge, in the British Museum,
Marsh's Library, &c., and in addition there are many Lives in private
hands. In this connection it can be no harm, and may do some good, to
note that an apparently brisk, if unpatriotic, trade in Irish MSS.
(including of course "Lives" of Saints) is carried on with the United
States. Wealthy, often ignorant, Irish-Americans, who are unable to
read them, are making collections of Irish MSS. and rare Irish books, to
Ireland's loss. Some Irish MSS. too, including Lives of Saints, have
been carried away as mementoes of the old land by departing emigrants.

The date or period at which the Lives (Latin and Irish) were written is
manifestly, for half a dozen good reasons, a question of the utmost
importance to the student of the subject. Alas, that the question has
to some extent successfully defied quite satisfactory solution. We can,
so far, only conjecture--though the probabilities seem strong and the
grounds solid. The probabilities are that the Latin Lives date as a
rule from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when they were put into
something like their present form for reading (perhaps in the refectory)
in the great religious houses. They were copied and re-copied during
the succeeding centuries and the scribes according to their knowledge,
devotion or caprice made various additions, subtractions and occasional
multiplications. The Irish Lives are almost certainly of a somewhat
earlier date than the Latin and are based partly (i.e. as regards the
bulk of the miracles) on local tradition, and partly (i.e. as regards
the purely historical element) on the authority of written materials.
They too were, no doubt, copied and interpolated much as were the Latin
Lives. The present copies of Irish Lives date as a rule from the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries only, and the fact that the Latin
and the Irish Life (where there is this double biography) sometimes
agree very perfectly may indicate that the Latin translation or Life is
very late.

The chief published collections of Irish Saints' Lives may be set down
as seven, scil.:--five in Latin and one each in Irish and English. The
Latin collections are the Bollandists', Colgan's, Messingham's,
Fleming's, and Plummer's; the Irish collection is Stokes' ("Lives of
Saints from the Book of Lismore") and the English is of course

Most striking, probably, of the characteristics of the "Lives" is their
very evident effort to exalt and glorify the saint at any cost. With
this end of glorification in view the hagiographer is prepared to
swallow everything and record anything. He has, in fact, no critical
sense and possibly he would regard possession of such a sense as rather
an evil thing and use of it as irreverent. He does not, as a
consequence, succeed in presenting us with a very life-like or
convincing portrait of either the man or the saint. Indeed the saint,
as drawn in the Lives, is, as already hinted, a very unsaintlike
individual--almost as ready to curse as to pray and certainly very much
more likely to smite the aggressor than to present to him the other
cheek. In the text we shall see St. Mochuda, whose Life is a specially
sane piece of work, cursing on the same occasion, first, King Blathmac
and the Prince of Cluain, then, the rich man Cronan who sympathised with
the eviction, next an individual named Dubhsulach who winked insolently
at him, and finally the people of St. Columba's holy city of Durrow who
had stirred up hostile feeling against him. Even gentle female saints
can hurl an imprecation too. St. Laisrech, for instance, condemned the
lands of those who refused her tribute, to--nettles, elder shrub, and
corncrakes! It is pretty plain that the compilers of the lives had some
prerogatives, claims or rights to uphold--hence this frequent insistence
on the evil of resisting the Saint and presumably his successors.

One characteristic of the Irish ascetics appears very clear through all
the exaggeration and all the biographical absurdity; it is their spirit
of intense mortification. To understand this we have only to study one
of the ancient Irish Monastic Rules or one of the Irish Penitentials as
edited by D'Achery ("Spicilegium") or Wasserschleben ("Irische
Kanonensamerlung"). Severest fasting, unquestioning obedience and
perpetual self renunciation were inculcated by the Rules and we have
ample evidence that they were observed with extraordinary fidelity. The
Rule of Maelruin absolutely forbade the use of meat or of beer. Such a
prohibition a thousand years ago was an immensely more grievous thing
than it would sound to-day. Wheaten bread might partially supply the
place of meat to-day, but meat was easier to procure than bread in the
eighth century. Again, a thousand years ago, tea or coffee there was
none and even milk was often difficult or impossible to procure in
winter. So severe in fact was the fast that religious sometimes died of
it. Bread and water being found insufficient to sustain life and health,
gruel was substituted in some monasteries and of this monastic gruel
there were three varieties:--(a) "gruel upon water" in which the liquid
was so thick that the meal reached the surface, (b) "gruel between two
waters" in which the meal, while it did not rise to the surface, did not
quite fall to the bottom, and (c) "gruel under water" which was so weak
and so badly boiled that he meal easily fell to the bottom. In the case
of penitents the first brand of gruel was prescribed for light offences,
the second kind for sins of ordinary gravity, and the "gruel under
water" for extraordinary crimes (vid. Messrs. Gwynne and Purton on the
Rule of Maelruin, &c.) The most implicit, exact and prompt obedience
was prescribed and observed. An overseer of Mochuda's monastery at
Rahen had occasion to order by name a young monk called Colman to do
something which involved his wading into a river. Instantly a dozen
Colmans plunged into the water. Instances of extraordinary penance
abound, beside which the austerities of Simon Stylites almost pale. The
Irish saints' love of solitude was also a very marked characteristic.
Desert places and solitary islands of the ocean possessed an apparently
wonderful fascination for them. The more inaccessible or forbidding the
island the more it was in request as a penitential retreat. There is
hardly one of the hundred islands around the Irish coast which, one time
or another, did not harbour some saint or solitary upon its rocky bosom.

The testimony of the "Lives" to the saints' love and practice of prayer
is borne out by the evidence of more trustworthy documents. Besides
private prayers, the whole psalter seems to have been recited each day,
in three parts of fifty psalms each. In addition, an immense number of
Pater Nosters was prescribed. The office and prayers were generally
pretty liberally interspersed with genuflexions or prostrations, of
which a certain anchorite performed as many as seven hundred daily.
Another penitential action which accompanied prayer was the
'cros-figul.' This was an extension of the arms in the shape of a
cross; if anyone wants to know how difficult a practice this is let him
try it for, say, fifteen minutes. Regarding recitation of the Divine
Office it was of counsel, and probably of precept, that is should not be
from memory merely, but that the psalms should all be read. For this a
good reason was given by Maelruin, i.e. that the recitation might engage
the eye as well as the tongue and thought. An Irish homily refers to
the mortification of the saints and religious of the time as martyrdom,
of which it distinguishes three kinds--red, white, and blue. Red
martyrdom was death for the faith; white martyrdom was the discipline of
fasting, labour and bodily austerities; while blue martyrdom was
abnegation of the will and heartfelt sorrow for sin.

One of the puzzles of Irish hagiology is the great age attributed to
certain saints--periods of two hundred, three hundred, and even four
hundred years. Did the original compilers of the Life intend this?
Whatever the full explanation be the writers of the Lives were clearly
animated by a desire to make their saint cotemporary and, if possible, a
disciple, of one or other of the great monastic founders, or at any rate
to prove him a pupil of one of the great schools of Erin. There was
special anxiety to connect the saint with Bangor or Clonard. To effect
the connection in question it was sometimes necessary to carry the life
backwards, at other times to carry it forwards, and occasionally to
lengthen it both backwards and forwards. Dr. Chas. O'Connor gives a
not very convincing explanation of the three-hundred-year "Lives,"
scil.:--that the saint lived in three centuries--during the whole of one
century and in the end and beginning respectively of the preceding and
succeeding centuries. This explanation, even if satisfactory for the
three-hundred-year Lives, would not help at all towards the Lives of
four hundred years. A common explanation is that the scribe mistook
numerals in the MS. before him and wrote the wrong figures. There is no
doubt that copying is a fruitful source of error as regards numerals.
It is much more easy to make a mistake in a numeral than in a letter;
the context will enable one to correct the letter, while it will give
him no clue as regards a numeral. On the subject of the alleged
longevity of Irish Saints Anscombe has recently been elaborating in
'Eriu' a new and very ingenious theory. Somewhat unfortunately the
author happens to be a rather frequent propounder of ingenious theories.
His explanation is briefly--the use and confusion of different systems
of chronology. He alleges that the original writers used what is called
the Diocletian Era or the "Era of the Martyrs" as the 'terminus a quo'
of their chronological system and, in support of his position, he
adduces the fact that this, which was the most ancient of all
ecclesiastical eras, was the era used by the schismatics in Britain and
that it was introduced by St. Patrick.

As against the contradiction, anachronisms and extravagances of the
Lives we have to put the fact that generally speaking the latter
corroborate one another, and that they receive extern corroboration from
the annals. Such disagreements as occur are only what one would expect
to find in documents dealing with times so remote. To the credit side
too must go the fact that references to Celtic geography and to local
history are all as a rule accurate. Of continental geography and
history however the writers of the Lives show much ignorance, but
scarcely quite as much as the corresponding ignorance shown by
Continental writers about Ireland.

The missionary methods of the early Irish Church and its monastic or
semi-monastic system are frequently referred to as peculiar, if not
unique. A missionary system more or less similar must however have
prevailed generally in that age. What other system could have been
nearly as successful amongst a pagan people circumstanced as the Irish
were? The community system alone afforded the necessary mutual
encouragement and protection to the missionaries. Each monastic station
became a base of operations. The numerous diminutive dioceses,
quasi-dioceses, or tribal churches, were little more than extensive
parishes and the missionary bishops were little more in jurisdiction
than glorified parish priests. The bishop's 'muintir,' that is the
members of his household, were his assistant clergy. Having converted
the chieftain or head of the tribe the missionary had but to instruct
and baptise the tribesmen and to erect churches for them. Land and
materials for the church were provided by the Clan or the Clan's head,
and lands for support of the missioner or of the missionary community
were allotted just as they had been previously allotted to the pagan
priesthood; in fact there can be but little doubt that the lands of the
pagan priests became in many cases the endowment of the Christian
establishment. It is not necessary, by the way, to assume that the
Church in Ireland as Patrick left it, was formally monastic. The clergy
lived in community, it is true, but it was under a somewhat elastic
rule, which was really rather a series of Christian and Religious
counsels. A more formal monasticism had developed by the time of
Mochuda; this was evidently influenced by the spread of St. Benedict's
Rule, as Patrick's quasi-monasticism, nearly two centuries previously,
had been influenced by Pachomius and St. Basil, through Lerins. The
real peculiarity in Ireland was that when the community-missionary-
system was no longer necessary it was not abandoned as in other lands
but was rather developed and emphasised.


"If thou hast the right, O Erin,
to a champion of battle to aid thee
thou hast the head of a hundred
thousand, Declan of Ardmore."
(Martyrology of Oengus).

Five miles or less to the east of Youghal Harbour, on the southern
Irish coast, a short, rocky and rather elevated promontory juts, with a
south-easterly trend, into the ocean. Maps and admiralty charts call it
Ram Head, but the real name is Ceann-a-Rama and popularly it is often
styled Ardmore Head. The material of this inhospitable coast is a hard
metamorphic schist which bids defiance to time and weather. Landwards
the shore curves in clay cliffs to the north-east, leaving, between it
and the iron headland beyond, a shallow exposed bay wherein many a proud
ship has met her doom. Nestling at the north side of the headland and
sheltered by the latter from Atlantic storms stands one of the most
remarkable groups of ancient ecclesiastical remains in Ireland--all that
has survived of St. Declan's holy city of Ardmore. This embraces a
beautiful and perfect round tower, a singularly interesting ruined church
commonly called the cathedral, the ruins of a second church beside a holy
well, a primitive oratory, a couple of ogham inscribed pillar stones,
&c., &c.

No Irish saint perhaps has so strong a local hold as Declan or has left
so abiding a popular memory. Nevertheless his period is one of the great
disputed questions of early Irish history. According to the express
testimony of his Life, corroborated by testimony of the Lives of SS.
Ailbhe and Ciaran, he preceded St. Patrick in the Irish mission and was a
co-temporary of the national apostle. Objection, exception or opposition
to the theory of Declan's early period is based less on any inherent
improbability in the theory itself than on contradictions and
inconsistencies in the Life. Beyond any doubt the Life does actually
contradict itself; it makes Declan a cotemporary of Patrick in the fifth
century and a cotemporary likewise of St. David a century later. In any
attempted solution of the difficulty involved it may be helpful to
remember a special motive likely to animate a tribal histrographer,
scil.:--the family relationship, if we may so call it, of the two saints;
David was bishop of the Deisi colony in Wales as Declan was bishop of
their kinsmen of southern Ireland. It was very probably part of the
writer's purpose to call attention to the links of kindred which bound
the separated Deisi; witness his allusion later to the alleged visit of
Declan to his kinsmen of Bregia. Possibly there were several Declans, as
there were scores of Colmans, Finians, &c., and hence perhaps the
confusion and some of the apparent inconsistencies. There was certainly
a second Declan, a disciple of St. Virgilius, to whom the latter
committed care of a church in Austria where he died towards close of
eighth century. Again we find mention of a St. Declan who was a foster
son of Mogue of Ferns, and so on. It is too much, as Delehaye ("Legendes
Hagiographiques") remarks, to expect the populace to distinguish between
namesakes. Great men are so rare! Is it likely there should have lived
two saints of the same name in the same country!

The latest commentators on the question of St. Declan's period--and they
happen to be amongst the most weighty--argue strongly in favour of the
pre-Patrician mission (Cfr. Prof. Kuno Meyer, "Learning Ireland in the
Fifth Century"). Discussing the way in which letters first reached our
distant island of the west and the causes which led to the proficiency of
sixth-century Ireland in classical learning Zimmer and Meyer contend that
the seeds of that literary culture, which flourished in Ireland of the
sixth century, had been sown therein in the first and second decades of
the preceding century by Gaulish scholars who had fled from their own
country owing to invasion of the latter by Goths and other barbarians.
The fact that these scholars, who were mostly Christians, sought asylum
in Ireland indicates that Christianity had already penetrated thither, or
at any rate that it was known and tolerated there. Dr. Meyer answers the
objection that if so large and so important an invasion of scholars took
place we ought have some reference to the fact in the Irish annals. The
annals, he replies, are of local origin and they rarely refer in their
oldest parts to national events: moreover they are very meagre in their
information about the fifth century. One Irish reference to the Gaulish
scholars is, however, adduced in corroboration; it occurs in that well
known passage in St. Patrick's "Confessio" where the saint cries out
against certain "rhetoricians" in Ireland who were hostile to him and
pagan,--"You rhetoricians who do not know the Lord, hear and search Who
it was that called me up, fool though I be, from the midst of those who
think themselves wise and skilled in the law and mighty orators and
powerful in everything." Who were these "rhetorici" that have made this
passage so difficult for commentators and have caused so various
constructions to be put upon it? It is clear, the professor maintains,
that the reference is to pagan rhetors from Gaul whose arrogant
presumption, founded on their learning, made them regard with disdain the
comparatively illiterate apostle of the Scots. Everyone is familiar with
the classic passage of Tacitus wherein he alludes to the harbours of
Ireland as being more familiar to continental mariners than those of
Britain. We have references moreover to refugee Christians who fled to
Ireland from the persecutions of Diocletian more than a century before
St. Patrick's day; in addition it is abundantly evident that many
Irishmen--Christians like Celestius the lieutenant of Pelagius, and
possibly Pelagius himself, amongst them--had risen to distinction or
notoriety abroad before middle of the fifth century.

Possibly the best way to present the question of Declan's age is to put
in tabulated form the arguments of the pre-Patrician advocates against
the counter contentions of those who claim that Declan's period is later
than Patrick's:--

For the Pre-Patrician Mission.
I.--Positive statement of Life, corroborated by Lives of SS. Ciaran and
II.--Patrick's apparent avoidance of the Principality of Decies.
III.--The peculiar Declan cult and the strong local hold which Declan has

Against Theory of Early Fifth Century period.
I.--Contradictions, anachronisms, &c., of Life.
II.--Lack of allusion to Declan in the Lives of St. Patrick.
III.--Prosper's testimony to the mission of Palladius as first bishop to
the believing Scots.
IV.--Alleged motives for later invention of Pre-Patrician story.

In this matter and at this hour it is hardly worth appealing to the
authority of Lanigan and the scholars of the past. Much evidence not
available in Lanigan's day is now at the service of scholars. We are to
look rather at the reasoning of Colgan, Ussher, and Lanigan than to the
mere weight of their names.

Referring in order to our tabulated grounds of argument, pro and con, and
taking the pro arguments first, we may (I.) discard as evidence for our
purpose the Life of St. Ibar which is very fragmentary and otherwise a
rather unsatisfactory document. The Lives of Ailbhe, Ciaran, and Declan
are however mutually corroborative and consistent. The Roman visit and
the alleged tutelage under Hilarius are probably embellishments; they
look like inventions to explain something and they may contain more than
a kernel of truth. At any rate they are matters requiring further
investigation and elucidation. In this connection it may be useful to
recall that the Life (Latin) of St. Ciaran has been attributed by Colgan
to Evinus the disciple and panegyrist of St. Patrick.

Patrick's apparent neglect of the Decies (II.) may have no special
significance. At best it is but negative evidence: taken, however, in
connection with (I.) and its consectaria it is suggestive. We can
hardly help speculating why the apostle--passing as it were by its front
door--should have given the go-bye to a region so important as the
Munster Decies. Perhaps he sent preachers into it; perhaps there was no
special necessity for a formal mission, as the faith had already found
entrance. It is a little noteworthy too that we do not find St.
Patrick's name surviving in any ecclesiastical connection with the
Decies, if we except Patrick's Well, near Clonmel, and this Well is
within a mile or so of the territorial frontier. Moreover the southern
portion of the present Tipperary County had been ceded by Aengus to the
Deisi, only just previous to Patrick's advent, and had hardly yet had
sufficient time to become absorbed. The whole story of Declan's alleged
relations with Patrick undoubtedly suggests some irregularity in Declan's
mission--an irregularity which was capable of rectification through
Patrick and which de facto was finally so rectified.

(III.) No one in Eastern Munster requires to be told how strong is the
cult of St. Declan throughout Decies and the adjacent territory. It is
hardly too much to say that the Declan tradition in Waterford and Cork is
a spiritual actuality, extraordinary and unique, even in a land which
till recently paid special popular honour to its local saints. In
traditional popular regard Declan in the Decies has ever stood first,
foremost, and pioneer. Carthage, founder of the tribal see, has held and
holds in the imagination of the people only a secondary place. Declan,
whencesoever or whenever he came, is regarded as the spiritual father to
whom the Deisi owe the gift of faith. How far this tradition and the
implied belief in Declan's priority and independent mission are derived
from circulation of the "Life" throughout Munster in the last few
centuries it is difficult to gauge, but the tradition seems to have
flourished as vigorously in the days of Colgan as it does to-day.
Declan's "pattern" at Ardmore continues to be still the most noted
celebration of its kind in Ireland. A few years ago it was participated
in by as many as fourteen thousand people from all parts of Waterford,
Cork, and Tipperary. The scenes and ceremonies have been so frequently
described that it is not necessary to recount them here--suffice it to
say that the devotional practices and, in fact, the whole celebration is
of a purely popular character receiving no approbation, and but bare
toleration, from church or clergy. Even to the present day Declan's name
is borne as their praenomen by hundreds of Waterford men, and, before
introduction of the modern practice of christening with foolish foreign
names, its use was far more common, as the ancient baptismal registers of
Ardmore, Old Parish, and Clashmore attest. On the other hand Declan's
name is associated with comparatively few places in the Decies. Of these
the best known is Relig Deaglain, a disused graveyard and early church
site on the townland of Drumroe, near Cappoquin. There was also an
ancient church called Killdeglain, near Stradbally.

Against the theory of the pre-Patrician or citra-Patrician mission we
have first the objection, which really has no weight, and which we shall
not stop to discuss, that it is impossible for Christianity at that early
date to have found its way to this distant island, beyond the boundary of
the world. An argument on a different plane is (I.), the undoubtedly
contradictory and inconsistent character of the Life. It is easy however
to exaggerate the importance of this point. Modern critical methods were
undreamed of in the days of our hagiographer, who wrote, moreover, for
edification only in a credulous age. Most of the historical documents of
the period are in a greater or less degree uncritical but that does not
discredit their testimony however much it may confuse their editors. It
can be urged moreover that two mutually incompatible genealogies of the
saint are given. The genealogy given by MacFirbisigh seems in fact to
disagree in almost every possible detail with the genealogy in 23 M. 50
R.I.A. That however is like an argument that Declan never existed. It
really suggests and almost postulates the existence of a second Declan
whose Acts and those of our Declan have become mutually confused.

(II.) Absence of Declan's name from the Acts of Patrick is a negative
argument. It is explicable perhaps by the supposed irregularity of
Declan's preaching. Declan was certainly earlier than Mochuda and yet
there is no reference to him in the Life of the latter saint. Ailbhe
however is referred to in the Tripartite Life of Patrick and the cases of
Ailbhe and Declan are "a pari"; the two saints stand or fall together.

(IV.) Motives for invention of the pre-Patrician myth are alleged,
scil.:--to rebut certain claims to jurisdiction, tribute or visitation
advanced by Armagh in after ages. It is hard to see however how
resistance to the claims in question could be better justified on the
theory of a pre-Patrician Declan, who admittedly acknowledged Patrick's
supremacy, than on the admission of a post-Patrician mission.

That in Declan we have to deal with a very early Christian teacher of the
Decies there can be no doubt. If not anterior to Patrick he must have
been the latter's cotemporary. Declan however had failed to convert the
chieftain of his race and for this--reading between the lines of the
"Life"--we seem to hear Patrick blaming him.

The monuments proper of Declan remaining at Ardmore are (a) his oratory
near the Cathedral and Round Tower in the graveyard, (b) his stone on the
beach, (c) his well on the cliff, and (d) another stone said to have been
found in his tomb and preserved at Ardmore for long ages with great
reveration. The "Life" refers moreover to the saint's pastoral staff and
his bell but these have disappeared for centuries.

The "Oratory" is simply a primitive church of the usual sixth century
type: it stands 13' 4" x 8' 9" in the clear, and has, or had, the usual
high-pitched gables and square-headed west doorway with inclining jambs.
Another characteristic feature of the early oratory is seen in the
curious antae or prolongation of the side walls. Locally the little
building is known as the "beannacan," in allusion, most likely, to its
high gables or the finials which once, no doubt, in Irish fashion,
adorned its roof. Though somewhat later than Declan's time this
primitive building is very intimately connected with the Saint.
Popularly it is supposed to be his grave and within it is a hollow space
scooped out, wherein it is said his ashes once reposed. It is highly
probable that tradition is quite correct as to the saint's grave, over
which the little church was erected in the century following Declan's
death. The oratory was furnished with a roof of slate by Bishop Mills in

"St. Declan's Stone" is a glacial boulder of very hard conglomerate which
lies on a rocky ledge of beach beneath the village of Ardmore. It
measures some 8' 6" x 4' 6" x 4' 0" and reposes upon two slightly jutting
points of the underlying metamorphic rock. Wonderful virtues are
attributed to St. Declan's Stone, which, on the occasion of the patronal
feast, is visited by hundreds of devotees who, to participate in its
healing efficacy and beneficence, crawl laboriously on face and hands
through the narrow space between the boulder and the underlying rock.
Near by, at foot of a new storm-wall, are two similar but somewhat
smaller boulders which, like their venerated and more famous neighbour,
were all wrenched originally by a glacier from their home in the Comeragh
Mountains twenty miles away.

"St. Declan's Well," beside some remains of a rather large and apparently
twelfth century church on the cliff, in the townland of Dysert is
diverted into a shallow basin in which pilgrims bathe feet and hands.
Set in some comparatively modern masonry over the well are a carved
crucifixion and other figures of apparently late mediaeval character.
Some malicious interference with this well led, nearly a hundred years
since, to much popular indignation and excitement.

The second "St. Declan's Stone" was a small, cross-inscribed jet-black
piece of slate or marble, approximately--2" or 3" x 1 1/2". Formerly it
seems to have had a small silver cross inset and was in great demand
locally as an amulet for cattle curing. It disappeared however, some
fifty years or so since, but very probably it could still be recovered in

Far the most striking of all the monuments at Ardmore is, of course, the
Round Tower which, in an excellent state of preservation, stands with its
conical cap of stone nearly a hundred feet high. Two remarkable, if not
unique, features of the tower are the series of sculptured corbels which
project between the floors on the inside, and the four projecting belts
or zones of masonry which divide the tower into storeys externally. The
tower's architectural anomalies are paralleled by its history which is
correspondingly unique: it stood a regular siege in 1642, when ordnance
was brought to bear on it and it was defended by forty confederates
against the English under Lords Dungarvan and Broghil.

A few yards to north of the Round Tower stands "The Cathedral"
illustrating almost every phase of ecclesiastical architecture which
flourished in Ireland from St. Patrick to the Reformation--Cyclopean,
Celtic-Romanesque, Transitional and Pointed. The chancel arch is
possibly the most remarkable and beautiful illustration of the
Transitional that we have. An extraordinary feature of the church is the
wonderful series of Celtic arcades and panels filled with archaic
sculptures in relief which occupy the whole external face of the west

St. Declan's foundation at Ardmore seems (teste Moran's Archdall) to have
been one of the Irish religious houses which accepted the reform of Pope
Innocent at the Lateran Council and to have transformed itself into a
Regular Canonry. It would however be possible to hold, on the evidence,
that it degenerated into a mere parochial church. We hear indeed of two
or three episcopal successors of the saint, scil.:--Ultan who immediately
followed him, Eugene who witnessed a charter to the abbey of Cork in
1174, and Moelettrim O Duibhe-rathre who died in 1303 after he had,
according to the annals of Inisfallen, "erected and finished the Church"
of Ardmore. The "Wars of the Gaedhil and Gall" have reference, circa 824
or 825, to plunder by the Northmen of Disert Tipraite which is almost
certainly the church of Dysert by the Holy Well at Ardmore. The same
fleet, on the same expedition, plundered Dunderrow (near Kinsale),
Inisshannon (Bandon River), Lismore, and Kilmolash.

Regarding the age of our "Life" it is difficult with the data at hand to
say anything very definite. While dogmatism however is dangerous
indefiniteness is unsatisfying. True, we cannot trace the genealogy of
the present version beyond middle of the sixteenth century, but its
references to ancient monuments existing at date of its compilation show
it to be many centuries older. Its language proves little or nothing,
for, being a popular work, it would be modernised to date by each
successive scribe. Colgan was of opinion it was a composition of the
eighth century. Ussher and Ware, who had the Life in very ancient
codices, also thought it of great antiquity. Papebrach, the Bollandist,
on the other hand, considered the Life could not be older than the
twelfth century, but this opinion of his seems to have been based on a
misapprehension. In the absence of all diocesan colour or allusion one
feels constrained to assign the production to some period previous to
Rathbreasail. We should not perhaps be far wrong in assigning the first
collection of materials to somewhere in the eighth century or in the
century succeeding. The very vigorous ecclesiastical revival of the
eleventh century, at conclusion of the Danish wars, must have led to some
revision of the country's religious literature. The introduction, a
century and-a-half later, of the great religious orders most probably led
to translation of the Life into Latin and its casting into shape for
reading in refectory or choir.

Only three surviving copies of the Irish Life are known to the writer:
one in the Royal Library at Brussels, the second in the Royal Irish
Academy Collection (M. 23, 50, pp. 109-120), and the third in possession
of Professor Hyde. As the second and third enumerated are copies of one
imperfect exemplar it has not been thought necessary to collate both with
the Brussels MS. which has furnished the text here printed. M. 23, 50
(R.I.A.) has however been so collated and the marginal references
initialled B are to that imperfect copy. The latter, by the way, is in
the handwriting of John Murphy "na Raheenach," and is dated 1740. It has
not been thought necessary to give more than the important variants.

The present text is a reproduction of the Brussels MS. plus lengthening
of contractions. As regards lengthening in question it is to be noted
that the well known contraction for "ea" or "e" has been uniformly
transliterated "e." Otherwise orthography of the MS. has been
scrupulously followed--even where inconsistent or incorrect. For the
division into paragraphs the editor is not responsible; he has merely
followed the division originated, or adopted, by the scribe. The Life
herewith presented was copied in 1629 by Brother Michael O'Clery of the
Four Masters' staff from an older MS. of Eochy O'Heffernan's dated 1582.
The MS. of O'Heffernan is referred to by our scribe as "seinleabar," but
his reference is rather to the contents than to the copy. Apparently
O'Clery did more than transcribe; he re-edited, as was his wont, into the
literary Irish of his day. A page of the Brussels MS., reproduced in
facsimile as a frontispiece to the present volume, will give the student
a good idea of O'Clery's script and style.

Occasional notes on Declan in the martyrologies and elsewhere give some
further information about our saint. Unfortunately however the alleged
facts are not always capable of reconciliation with statements of our
"Life," and again the existence of a second, otherwise unknown, Declan is
suggested. The introduction of rye is attributed to him in the Calendar
of Oengus, as introduction of wheat is credited to St. Finan Camm, and
introduction of bees to St. Modomnoc,--"It was the full of his shoe that
Declan brought, the full of his shoe likewise Finan, but the full of his
bell Modomnoc" (Cal. Oeng., April 7th). More puzzling is the note in the
same Calendar which makes Declan a foster son of Mogue of Ferns! This
entry illustrates the way in which errors originate. A former scribe
inadvertently copied in, after Declan's name, portion of the entry
immediately following which relates to Colman Hua Liathain. Successive
scribes re-copied the error without discovering it and so it became


"It was he (Mochuda) that had the famous congregation
consisting of seven hundred and ten persons; an angel
used to address every third man of them."
(Martyrology of Donegal).

In some respects the Life of Mochuda here presented is in sharp contrast
to the corresponding Life of Declan. The former document is in all
essentials a very sober historical narrative--accurate wherever we can
test it, credible and harmonious on the whole. Philologically, to be
sure, it is of little value,--certainly a much less valuable Life than
Declan's; historically, however (and question of the pre-Patrician
mission apart) it is immensely the more important document. On one
point do we feel inclined to quarrel with its author, scil.: that he
has not given us more specifically the motives underlying Mochuda's
expulsion from Rahen--one of the three worst counsels ever given in
Erin. Reading between his lines we spell, jealousy--'invidia
religiosorum.' Another jealousy too is suggested--the mutual distrust
of north and south which has been the canker-worm of Irish political
life for fifteen hundred years, making intelligible if not justifying
the indignation of a certain distinguished Irishman who wanted to know
the man's name, in order to curse its owner, who first divided Ireland
into two provinces.

Three different Lives of Mochuda are known to the present writer. Two of
them are contained in a MS. at Brussels (C/r. Bindon, p. 8, 13) and of
one of these there is a copy in a MS. of Dineen's in the Royal Irish
Academy (Stowe Collection, A. IV, I.) Dineen appears to have been a
Cork or Kerry man and to have worked under the patronage of the rather
noted Franciscan Father Francis Matthew (O'Mahony), who was put to death
at Cork by Inchiquin in 1644. The bald text of Dineen's "Life" was
published a few years since, without translation, in the 'Irish Rosary.'
The corresponding Brussels copy is in Michael O'Clery's familiar hand.
In it occurs the strange pagan-flavoured story of the British Monk
Constantine. O'Clery's copy was made in January, 1627, at the Friary of
Drouish from the Book of Tadhg O'Ceanan and it is immediately followed
by a tract entitled--"Do Macaib Ua Suanac." The bell of Mochuda, by the
way, which the saint rang against Blathmac, was called the 'glassan' of
Hui Suanaig in later times.

The "Life" here printed, which follows the Latin Life so closely that
one seems a late translation of the other, is as far as the editor is
aware, contained in a single MS. only. This is M. 23, 50, R.I.A., in
the handwriting of John Murphy, "na Raheenach." Murphy was a Co. Cork
schoolmaster, scribe, and poet, of whom a biographical sketch will be
found prefixed by Mr. R. A. Foley to a collection of Murphy's poems that
he has edited. The sobriquet, "na Raheenach," is really a kind of
tribal designation. The "Life" is very full but is in its present form
a comparatively late production; it was transcribed by Murphy between
1740 and 1750. It is much to be regretted that the scribe tells us
nothing of his original. Murphy, but the way, seems to have specialised
to some extent in saint's Lives and to have imbued his disciples with
something of the same taste. One of his pupils was Maurice O'Connor, a
scribe and shipwright of Cove, to whom we owe the Life of St. Ciaran of
Saighir printed in "Silva Gadelica." The reasons of choice for
publication here of the present Life are avowedly non-philological; the
motive for preference is that it is the longest of the three Lives and
for historical purposes the most important.

The Life presents considerable evidence of historical reliability; its
geography is detailed and correct; its references to contemporaries
of Mochuda are accurate on the whole and there are few inconsistencies
or none. Moreover it sheds some new light on that chronic
puzzle--organisation of the Celtic Church of Ireland. Mochuda, head of a
great monastery at Rahen, is likewise a kind of pluralist Parish Priest
with a parish in Kerry, administered in his name by deputed
ecclesiastics, and other parishes similarly administered in Kerrycurrihy,
Rostellan, West Muskerry, and Spike Island, Co. Cork. When a chief
parishioner lies seriously ill in distant Corca Duibhne, Mochuda himself
comes all the way from the centre of Ireland to administer the last rites
to the dying man, and so on.

The relations of the people to the Church and its ministers are in many
respects not at all easy to understand. Oblations, for instance, of
themselves and their territory, &c., by chieftains are frequent.
Oblations of monasteries are made in a similar way. Probably this
signifies no more than that the chief region or monastery put itself
under the saint's jurisdiction or rule or both. That there were other
churches too than the purely monastic appears from offerings to Mochuda
of already existing churches, v.g. from the Clanna Ruadhan in Decies,

Lismore, the most famous of Mochuda's foundations, became within a
century of the saint's death, one of the great monastic schools of Erin,
attracting to his halls, or rather to its boothies, students from all
Ireland and even--so it is claimed--from lands beyond the seas. King
Alfrid [Aldfrith] of Northumbria, for instance, is said to have partaken
of Lismore's hospitality, and certainly Cormac of Cashel, Malachy and
Celsus of Armagh and many others of the most distinguished of the Scots
partook thereof. The roll of Lismore's calendared saints would require,
did the matter fall within our immediate province, more than one page to
itself. Some interesting reference to Mochuda and his holy city occur
in the Life of one of his disciples, St. Colman Maic Luachain, edited
for the R.I.A. by Professor Kuno Meyer.

There are many indications in the present Life that, at one period, and
in the time of Carthach, the western boundary of Decies extended far
beyond the line at present recognised. Similar indications are furnished
by the martyrologies, &c.; for instance, the martyrology of Donegal
under November 28th records of "the three sons of Bochra" that "they are
of Archadh Raithin in Ui Mic Caille in Deisi Mumhan" and Ibid, p.
xxxvii, it is stated "i ccondae Corcaige ataid na Desi Muman." Not only
Imokilly but all Co. Cork, east of Queenstown [Cobh] and north to the
Blackwater, seems to have acknowledged Mochuda's jurisdiction. At
Rathbreasail accordingly (teste Keating, on the authority of the Book of
Cloneneigh) the Diocese of Lismore is made to extend to Cork,--probably
over the present baronies of Imokilly, Kinatallon, and Barrymore. That
part, at least, of Condons and Clangibbon was likewise included is
inferrible from the fact that, as late as the sixteenth century
visitations, Kilworth, founded by Colman Maic Luachain, ranked as a
parish in the diocese of Lismore. Further evidence pointing in the same
direction is furnished by Clondulane, &c., represented in the present
Life as within Carthach's jurisdiction.

The Rule of St. Carthach is one of the few ancient Irish so-called
monastic Rules surviving. It is in reality less a "rule," as the latter
is now understood, than a series of Christian and religious counsels
drawn up by a spiritual master for his disciples. It must not be
understood from this that each religious house did not have it formal
regulations. The latter however seem to have depended largely upon the
abbot's spirit, will or discretion. The existing "Rules" abound in
allusions to forgotten practices and customs and, to add to their
obscurity, their language is very difficult--sometimes, like the
language of the Brehon Laws, unintelligible. The rule ascribed to
Mochuda is certainly a document of great antiquity and may well have
emanated from the seventh century and from the author whose name it
bears. The tradition of Lismore and indeed of the Irish Church is
constant in attributing it to him. Copies of the Rule are found in
numerous MSS. but many of them are worthless owing to the incompetence
of the scribes to whom the difficult Irish of the text was
unintelligible. The text in the Leabhar Breac has been made the basis
of his edition of the Rule by Mac Eaglaise, a writer in the 'Irish
Ecclesiastical Record' (1910). Mac Eaglaise's edition, though it is not
all that could be desired, is far the most satisfactory which has yet
appeared. Previous editions of the Rule or part of it comprise one by
Dr. Reeves in his tract on the Culdees, one by Kuno Meyer in the 'Gaelic
Journal' (Vol. V.) and another in 'Archiv fuer C.L.' (3 Bund. 1905), and
another again in 'Eriu' (Vol. 2, p. 172), besides a free translation of
the whole rule by O'Curry in the 'I. R. Record' for 1864. The text of
the 'Record' edition of 1910 is from Leabhar Breac collated with other
MSS. The order in the various copies is not the same and some copies
contain material which is wanting in others. The "Rule" commences with
the Ten Commandments, then it enumerates the obligations respectively of
bishops, abbots, priests, monks, and culdees [anchorites]. Finally there
is a section on the order of meals and on the refectory and another on
the obligations of a king. The following excerpt on the duties of an
abbot ('I. E. Record' translation) will illustrate the style and spirit
of the Rule:

"Of the Abbot of a Church.
1.--If you be the head man of a Church noble is the power, better for you
that you be just who take the heirship of the king.
2.--If you are the head man of a Church noble is the obligation,
preservation of the rights of the Church from the small to the great.
3.--What Holy Church commands preach then with diligence; what you order
to each one do it yourself.
4.--As you love your own soul love the souls of all. Yours the
magnification of every good [and] banishment of every evil.
5.--Be not a candle under a bushel [Luke 11:33]. Your learning without a
cloud over it. Yours the healing of every host both strong and weak.
6.--Yours to judge each one according to grade and according to deed; he
will advise you at judgment before the king....
10.--Yours to rebuke the foolish, to punish the hosts, turning disorder
into order [restraint] of the stubborn, obstinate, wretched."

Reservation of the Coarbship of Mochuda at Lismore in favour of Kerrymen
is an extremely curious if not unique provision. How long it continued
in force we do not know. Probably it endured to the twelfth century and
possibly the rule was not of strict interpretation. Christian
O'Connarchy, who was bishop of Lismore in the twelfth century, is
regarded as a native of Decies, though the contrary is slightly
suggested by his final retirement to Kerry. The alleged prophecy
concerning Kerry men and the coarbship points to some rule, regulation
or law of Mochuda.


| |
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| ,_/ | |
| /,_ / |
| _ _/ ~\ |
| /~~ ~\/~-_| / |
| \ /~ |
| \ _ _\/ |
| ,' | |
| /~ Tara \ |
| \ * | |
| '~|__- Rahen / |
| .- ,/~ * \ |
| | / |
| / | |
| /_,_/~ | |
| / Cashel / |
| ,--~ * | |
| /--- Lismore __|_-_/ |
| ,-~ *-,-~ |
| \_-~/ \ /~ * |
| ,-~/= _/~ Ardmore |
| --~/_-_-/~'~ |
| |



1. The most blessed Bishop Declan of the most noble race of the kings of
Ireland, i.e., the holy bishop who is called Declan was of the most noble
royal family of Ireland--a family which held the sceptre and exacted
tribute from all Ireland at Tara for ages. Declan was by birth of noble
blood as will appear from his origin and genealogy, for it was from
Eochaidh Feidhleach, the powerful Ardrigh of Ireland for twelve years,
that he sprang. Eochaidh aforesaid, had three sons, scil.:--Breas, Nar,
and Lothola, who are called the three Finneavna; there reigned one
hundred and seven kings of their race and kindred before and after them,
i.e. of the race of Eremon, king of Ireland,--before the introduction of
Christianity and since. These three youths lay one day with their own
sister Clothra, daughter of the same father, and she conceived of them.
The son she brought forth as a consequence of that intercourse was marked
by three red wavy lines which indicated his descent from the three youths
aforesaid. He was named Lugaidh Sriabhdearg from the three lines
[sriabaib] in question, and he was beautiful to behold and of greater
bodily strength in infancy than is usual with children of his age. He
commenced his reign as king of Ireland the year in which Caius Caesar
[Caligula] died and he reigned for twenty-six years. His son was named
Criomthan Nianair who reigned but sixteen years. Criomthan's son was
named Fearadach Finnfechtnach whose son was Fiacha Finnolaidh whose son
again was Tuathal Teachtmhar. This Tuathal had a son Felimidh Reachtmhar
who had in turn three sons--Conn Ceadcathach, Eochaidh Finn, and Fiacha
Suighde. Conn was king of Ireland for twenty years and the
productiveness of crops and soil and of dairies in the time of Conn are
worthy of commemoration and of fame to the end of time. Conn was killed
in Magh Cobha by the Ulstermen, scil.:--by Tiopruid Tireach and it is
principally his seed which has held the kingship of Ireland ever since.
Eochaidh Finn was second son to Felimidh Reachtmhar and he migrated to
the latter's province of Leinster, and it is in that province his race
and progeny have remained since then. They are called Leinstermen, and
there are many chieftains and powerful persons of them in Leinster.
Fiacha Suighde moreover, although he died before he succeeded to the
chief sovereignty, possessed land around Tara. He left three sons--Ross,
Oengus, and Eoghan who were renowned for martial deeds--valiant and
heroic in battle and in conflict. Of the three, Oengus excelled in all
gallant deeds so that he came to be styled Oengus of the poisonous
javelin. Cormac Mac Art Mac Conn it was who reigned in Ireland at this
time. Cormac had a son named Ceallach who took by force the daughter of
Eoghan Mac Fiacha Suighde to dwell with him, i.e. Credhe the daughter of
Eoghan. When Oengus Gaebuaibhtheach ("of the poisonous javelin") heard
this, viz., that the daughter of his brother had been abducted by
Ceallach he was roused to fury and he followed Ceallach to Tara taking
with him his foster child, scil.:--Corc Duibhne, the son of Cairbre, son
of Conaire, son of Mogha Lamha whom Cormac held as a hostage from the
Munstermen, and whom he had given for safe custody to Oengus. When
Oengus reached Tara he beheld Ceallach sitting behind Cormac. He thrust
his spear at Ceallach and pierced him through from front to back.
However as he was withdrawing the spear the handle struck Cormac's eye
and knocked it out and then, striking the steward, killed him. He
himself (Oengus) with his foster child escaped safely. After a time
Cormac, grieving for the loss of his son, his eye and his steward at the
hands of Oengus of the poisonous javelin and of his kinsmen, ordered
their expulsion from their tribal territory, i.e. from the Decies of
Tara, and not alone from these, but from whole northern half of Ireland.
However, seven battles were fought in which tremendous loss was inflicted
on Cormac and his followers before Oengus and his people, i.e. the three
sons of Fiacha Suighde, namely, Ross and Oengus and Eoghan, as we have
already said, were eventually defeated, and obliged to fly the country
and to suffer exile. Consequent on their banishment as above by the king
of Ireland they sought hospitality from the king of Munster, Oilill Olum,
because Sadhbh, daughter of Conn Ceadcathach was his wife. They got land
from him, scil.: the Decies of Munster, and it is to that race, i.e. the
race of Eoghan Mac Fiacha Suighde that the kings and country of the
Decies belong ever since.

2. Of this same race of Eoghan was the holy bishop Declan of whom I
shall speak later scil.: Declan son of Eirc, son of Trein, son of
Lughaidh, son of Miaich, son of Brian, son of Eoghan, son of Art Corp,
son of Moscorb, son of Mesgeadra, son of Measfore, son of Cuana
Cainbhreathaigh, son of Conaire Cathbuadhaigh, son of Cairbre, son of
Eoghan, son of Fiacha Suighde, son of Felimidh Reachtmhar, son of Tuathal
Teachtmhar. The father of Declan was therefore Erc Mac Trein. He and
his wife Deithin went on a visit to the house of his kinsman Dobhran
about the time that Declan's birth was due. The child she bore was
Declan, whom she brought forth without sickness, pain or difficulty but
in being lifted up afterwards he struck his head against a great stone.
Let it be mentioned that Declan showed proofs of sanctification and power
of miracle-working in his mother's womb, as the prophet writes:--"De
vulva sanctificavi te et prophetam in gentibus dedi te" [Jeremias 1:5]
(Before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee and made thee
a prophet unto the nations). Thus it is that Declan was sanctified in
his mother's womb and was given by God as a prophet to the pagans for the
conversion of multitudes of them from heathenism and the misery of
unbelief to the worship of Christ and to the Catholic faith, as we shall
see later on. The very soft apex of his head struck against a hard
stone, as we have said, and where the head came in contact with the stone
it made therein a hollow and cavity of its own form and shape, without
injury of any kind to him. Great wonder thereupon seized all who
witnessed this, for Ireland was at this time without the true faith and
it was rarely that any one (therein) had shown heavenly Christian signs.
"Declan's Rock" is the name of the stone with which the Saint's head came
into contact. The water or rain which falls into the before-mentioned
cavity (the place of Declan's head) dispels sickness and infirmity, by
the grace of God, as proof of Declan's sanctity.

3. On the night of Declan's birth a wondrous sign was revealed to all,
that is to the people who were in the neighbourhood of the birthplace;
this was a ball of fire which was seen blazing on summit of the house in
which the child lay, until it reached up to heaven and down again, and it
was surrounded by a multitude of angels. It assumed the shape of a
ladder such as the Patriarch, Jacob saw [Genesis 28:12]. The persons who
saw and heard these things wondered at them. They did not know (for the
true faith had not yet been preached to them or in this region) that it
was God who (thus) manifested His wondrous power (works) in the infant,
His chosen child. Upon the foregoing manifestation a certain true
Christian, scil.:--Colman, at that time a priest and afterwards a holy
bishop, came, rejoicing greatly and filled with the spirit of prophecy,
to the place where Declan was; he preached the faith of Christ to the
parents and made known to them that the child was full of the grace of
God. He moreover revealed to them the height of glory and honour to
which the infant should attain before God and men, and it was revealed to
him that he (Declan) should spend his life in sanctity and devotion.
Through the grace of God, these, i.e. Erc and Deithin, believed in God
and Colman, and they delivered the child for baptism to Colman who
baptised him thereupon, giving him the name of Declan. When, in the
presence of all, he had administered Baptism, Colman spoke this prophecy
concerning the infant "Truly, beloved child and lord you will be in
heaven and on earth most high and holy, and your good deeds, fame, and
sanctity will fill all (the four quarters of) Ireland and you will
convert your own nation and the Decies from paganism to Christianity. On
that account I bind myself to you by the tie of brotherhood and I commend
myself to your sanctity."

4. Colman thereupon returned to his own abode; he commanded that Declan
should be brought up with due care, that he should be well trained, and
be set to study at the age of seven years if there could be found in his
neighbourhood a competent Christian scholar to undertake his tuition.
Even at the period of his baptism grace and surpassing charity manifested
themselves in the countenance of Declan so that it was understood of all
that great should be the goodness and the spiritual charm of his mature
age. When Dobhran had heard and seen these things concerning his kinsman
Erc he requested the latter and Deithin to give him the child to foster,
and with this request Erc complied. The name of the locality was
"Dobhran's Place" at that time, but since then it has been "Declan's
Place." Dobhran presented the homestead to Declan and removed his own
dwelling thence to another place. In after years, when Declan had become
a bishop, he erected there a celebrated cell in honour of God, and this
is the situation of the cell in question:--In the southern part of the
Decies, on the east side of Magh Sgiath and not far from the city of
Mochuda i.e. Lismore. For the space of seven years Declan was fostered
with great care by Dobhran (his father's brother) and was much loved by
him. God wrought many striking miracles through Declan's instrumentality
during those years. By aid of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him he
(Declan)--discreet Christian man that he was--avoided every fault and
every unlawful desire during that time.

5. On the completion of seven years Declan was taken from his parents
and friends and fosterers to be sent to study as Colman had ordained. It
was to Dioma they sent him, a certain devout man perfect in the faith,
who had come at that time by God's design into Ireland having spent a
long period abroad in acquiring learning. He (Dioma) built in that place
a small cell wherein he might instruct Declan and dwell himself. There
was given him also, to instruct, together with Declan, another child,
scil., Cairbre Mac Colmain, who became afterwards a holy learned bishop.
Both these were for a considerable period pursuing their studies

6. There were seven men dwelling in Magh Sgiath, who frequently saw the
fiery globe which it has been already told they first beheld at the time
of Declan's birth. It happened by the Grace of God that they were the
first persons to reveal and describe that lightning. These seven came to
the place where Declan abode and took him for their director and master.
They made known publicly in the presence of all that, later on, he should
be a bishop and they spoke prophetically:--"The day, O beloved child and
servant of God, will come when we shall commit ourselves and our lands to
thee." And it fell out thus (as they foretold), for, upon believing,
they were baptised and became wise, devout (and) attentive and erected
seven churches in honour of God around Magh Sgiath.

7. Declan remained a long time with Dioma, the holy man we have named,
and acquired science and sanctity and diversity of learning and doctrine,
and he was prudent, mild, and capable so that many who knew his nobility
of blood came when they had heard of the fullness of his sanctity and
grace. Moreover they submitted themselves to him and accepted his
religious rule. Declan judged it proper that he should visit Rome to
study discipline and ecclesiastical system, to secure for himself esteem
and approbation thence, and obtain authority to preach to the (Irish)
people and to bring back with him the rules of Rome as these obtained in
Rome itself. He set out with his followers and he tarried not till he
arrived in Rome where they remained some time.

8. At the same period there was a holy bishop, i.e. Ailbe, who had been
in Rome for a number of years before this and was in the household of
Pope Hilary by whom he had been made a bishop. When Declan with his
disciples arrived in Rome Ailbe received him with great affection and
gladness and he bore testimony before the Roman people to his (Declan's)
sanctity of life and nobility of blood. He (Declan) therefore received
marks of honour and sincere affection from the people and clergy of Rome
when they came to understand how worthy he was, for he was comely, of
good appearance, humble in act, sweet in speech, prudent in counsel,
frank in conversation, virtuous in mien, generous in gifts, holy in life
and resplendent in miracles.

9. When Declan had spent a considerable time in Rome he was ordained a
bishop by the Pope, who gave him church-books and rules and orders and
sent him to Ireland that he might preach there. Having bidden farewell
to the Pope and received the latter's blessing Declan commenced his
journey to Ireland. Many Romans followed him to Ireland to perform their
pilgrimage and to spend their lives there under the yoke and rule of
Bishop Declan, and amongst those who accompanied him was Runan, son of
the king of Rome; he was dear to Declan.

10. On the road through Italy Bishop Declan and Patrick met. Patrick
was not a bishop at that time, though he was (made a bishop) subsequently
by Pope Celestinus, who sent him to preach to the Irish. Patrick was
truly chief bishop of the Irish island. They bade farewell to one
another and they made a league and bond of mutual fraternity and kissed
in token of peace. They departed thereupon each on his own journey,
scil.:--Declan to Ireland and Patrick to Rome.

11. Declan was beginning mass one day in a church which lay in his road,
when there was sent him from heaven a little black bell, (which came) in
through the window of the church and remained on the altar before Declan.
Declan greatly rejoiced thereat and gave thanks and glory to Christ on
account of it, and it filled him with much courage to combat the error
and false teaching of heathendom. He gave the bell for safe keeping and
carriage, to Runan aforesaid, i.e. son of the king of Rome, and this is
its name in Ireland--"The Duibhin Declain," and it is from its colour it
derives its name, for its colour is black [dub]. There were manifested,
by grace of God and Declan's merits, many miracles through its agency and
it is still preserved in Declan's church.

12. When Declan and his holy companions arrived at the Sea of Icht
[English Channel] he failed, owing to lack of money, to find a ship, for
he did not have the amount demanded, and every ship was refused him on
that account. He therefore struck his bell and prayed to God for help in
this extremity. In a short time after this they saw coming towards them
on the crest of the waves an empty, sailless ship and no man therein.
Thereupon Declan said:--"Let us enter the ship in the name of Christ, and
He who has sent it to us will direct it skilfully to what harbour soever
He wishes we should go." At the word of Declan they entered in, and the
ship floated tranquilly and safely until it reached harbour in England.
Upon its abandonment by Declan and his disciples the ship turned back and
went again to the place from which it had come and the people who saw the
miracles and heard of them magnified the name of the Lord and Declan, and
the words of the prophet David were verified:--"Mirabilis Deus in Sanctis
Suis" [Psalm 67(68):36] (God is wonderful in His Saints).

13. After this Declan came to Ireland. Declan was wise like a serpent
and gentle like a dove and industrious like the bee, for as the bee
gathers honey and avoids the poisonous herbs so did Declan, for he
gathered the sweet sap of grace and Holy Scripture till he was filled
therewith. There were in Ireland before Patrick came thither four holy
bishops with their followers who evangelized and sowed the word of God
there; these are the four:--Ailbe, Bishop Ibar, Declan, and Ciaran. They
drew multitudes from error to the faith of Christ, although it was
Patrick who sowed the faith throughout Ireland and it is he who turned
chiefs and kings of Ireland to the way of baptism, faith and sacrifice
and everlasting judgment.

14. These three, scil.:--Declan, Ailbe and Bishop Ibar made a bond of
friendship and a league amongst themselves and their spiritual posterity
in heaven and on earth for ever and they loved one another. SS. Ailbe
and Declan, especially, loved one another as if they were brothers so
that, on account of their mutual affection they did not like to be
separated from one another--except when their followers threatened to
separate them by force if they did not go apart for a very short
time. After this Declan returned to his own country--to the Decies of
Munster--where he preached, and baptized, in the name of Christ, many
whom he turned to the Catholic faith from the power of the devil. He
built numerous churches in which he placed many of his own followers to
serve and worship God and to draw people to God from the wiles of Satan.

15. Once on a time Declan came on a visit to the place of his birth,
where he remained forty days there and established a religious house in
which devout men have dwelt ever since. Then came the seven men we have
already mentioned as having made their abode around Magh Sgiath and as
having prophesied concerning Declan. They now dedicated themselves and
their establishment to him as they had promised and these are their
names:--Mocellac and Riadan, Colman, Lactain, Finnlaoc, Kevin, &c.
[Mobi]. These therefore were under the rule and spiritual sway of bishop
Declan thenceforward, and they spent their lives devoutly there and
wrought many wonders afterwards.

16. After some time Declan set out to visit Aongus MacNatfrich, king of
Cashel, to preach to him and to convert him to the faith of Christ.
Declan however had two uterine brothers, sons of Aongus, scil.: Colman
and Eoghan. The grace of the Holy Ghost inspiring him Colman went to
Ailbe of Emly and received baptism and the religious habit at the
latter's hands, and he remained for a space sedulously studying science
until he became a saintly and perfect man. Eochaid however remained as
he was (at home)--expecting the kingdom of Munster on his father's death,
and he besought his father to show due honour to his brother Declan. The
king did so and put no obstacle in the way of Declan's preaching but was
pleased with Declan's religion and doctrine, although he neither believed
nor accepted baptism himself. It is said that refusal (of baptism) was
based on this ground: Declan was of the Decies and of Conn's Half, while
Aongus himself was of the Eoghanacht of Cashel of Munster--always hostile
to the Desii. It was not therefore through ill will to the faith that he
believed not, as is proved from this that, when the king heard of the
coming to him of Patrick, the archbishop of Ireland, a man who was of
British race against which the Irish cherished no hate, not only did he
believe but he went from his own city of Cashel to meet him, professed
Christianity and was immediately baptised.

17. After this Declan, having sown the word of God and preached to the
king (although the latter did not assent to his doctrines), proceeded to
his own country and they (the Desii) believed and received baptism except
the king alone and the people of his household who were every day
promising to believe and be baptised. It however came about through the
Devil's agency that they hesitated continually and procrastinated.

18. Other authorities declare that Declan went many times to Rome, but
we have no written testimony from the ancient biographers that he went
there more than three times. On one of these occasions Declan paid a
visit to the holy bishop of the Britons whose name was David at the
church which is called Killmuine [Menevia] where the bishop dwelt beside
the shore of the sea which divides Ireland from Britain. The bishop
received Declan with honour and he remained there forty days, in
affection and joy, and they sang Mass each day and they entered into a
bond of charity which continued between themselves and their successors
for ever afterwards. On the expiration of the forty days Declan took
leave of David giving him a kiss in token of peace and set out himself
and his followers to the shore of the sea to take ship for Ireland.

19. Now the bell which we have alluded to as sent from heaven to Declan,
was, at that time, in the custody of Runan to carry as we have said, for
Declan did not wish, on any account, to part with it. On this particular
day as they were proceeding towards the ship Runan entrusted it to
another member of the company. On reaching the shore however the latter
laid the bell on a rock by the shore and forgot it till they were half
way across the sea. Then they remembered it and on remembrance they were
much distressed. Declan was very sorrowful that the gift sent him by the
Lord from heaven should have been forgotten in a place where he never
expected to find it again. Thereupon raising his eyes heavenward he
prayed to God within his heart and he said to his followers:--"Lay aside
your sorrow for it is possible with God who sent that bell in the
beginning to send it now again by some marvellous ship." Very fully and
wonderfully and beautifully the creature without reason or understanding
obeyed its creator, for the very heavy unwieldy rock floated buoyantly
and without deviation, so that in a short time they beheld it in their
rear with the bell upon it. And when his people saw this wondrous thing
it filled them with love for God and reverence for their master. Declan
thereupon addressed them prophetically:--"Permit the bell to precede you
and follow it exactly and whatsoever haven it will enter into it is there
my city and my bishopric will be whence I shall go to paradise and there
my resurrection will be." Meantime the bell preceded the ship, and it
eased down its great speed remaining slightly in advance of the ship, so
that it could be seen from and not overtaken by the latter. The bell
directed its course to Ireland until it reached a harbour on the south
coast, scil.:--in the Decies of Munster, at an island called, at that
time, High Sheep Island [Aird na gCcaorac] and the ship made the same
port, as Declan declared. The holy man went ashore and gave thanks and
praise to God that he had reached the place of his resurrection. Now, in
that island depastured the sheep belonging to the wife of the chieftain
of Decies and it is thence that it derives its Irish name--Ard-na-
Ccaorac, scil.:--there was in it a high hill and it was a promontory
beautiful to behold. One of the party, ascending the summit of the hill,
said to Declan:--"How can this little height support your people?"
Declan replied:--"Do not call it little hill, beloved son, but 'great
height' [ard mor]," and that name has adhered to the city ever since,
scil.:--Ardmore-Declain. After this Declan went to the king of the Desii
and asked of him the aforesaid island. Whereupon the king gave it to

20. Declan next returned to Ait-mBreasail where, in a haven at the north
side, were the shipping and boats of the island, plying thither and
backwards. The people of the island hid all their boats not willing that
Declan should settle there; they dreaded greatly that if Declan came to
dwell there they themselves should be expelled. Whereupon his disciples
addressed Declan:--"Father," said they, "Many things are required (scil.:
from the mainland) and we must often go by boat to this island and there
will be (crossing) more frequently when you have gone to heaven and we
pray thee to abandon the place or else to obtain from God that the sea
recede from the land so that it can be entered dry shod, for Christ has
said:--'Whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name He will give it
to you' [John 15:16]; the place cannot be easily inhabited unless the sea
recede from it and on that account you cannot establish your city in it."
Declan answered them and said:--"How can I abandon the place ordained by
God and in which He has promised that my burial and resurrection shall
be? As to the alleged inconvenience of dwelling therein, do you wish me
to pray to God (for things) contrary to His will--to deprive the sea of
its natural domain? Nevertheless in compliance with your request I shall
pray to God and whatever thing be God's will, let it be done." Declan's
community thereupon rose up and said:--"Father, take your crosier as
Moses took the rod [Exodus 14:16] and strike the sea therewith and God
will thus show His will to you." His disciples prayed therefore to him
because they were tried and holy men. They put Declan's crosier in his
hand and he struck the water in the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Ghost and made the sign of the cross over the water and
immediately, by command and permission of God, the sea commenced to move
out from its accustomed place--so swiftly too that the monsters of the
sea were swimming and running and that it was with difficulty they
escaped with the sea. However, many fishes were left behind on the dry
strand owing to the suddenness of the ebb. Declan, his crosier in his
hand, pursued the receding tide and his disciples followed after him.
Moreover the sea and the departing monsters made much din and commotion
and when Declan arrived at the place where is now the margin of the sea a
stripling whose name was Mainchin, frightened at the thunder of the waves
and the cry of the unknown monsters with gaping mouths following the
(receding) water, exclaimed:--"Father, you have driven out the sea far
enough; for I am afraid of those horrid monsters." When Declan heard
this and (saw) the sea standing still at the word of the youth it
displeased him and turning round he struck him a slight blow on the nose.
Three drops of blood flowed from the wound on to the ground in three
separate places at the feet of Declan. Thereupon Declan blessed the nose
and the blood ceased immediately (to flow). Then Declan declared:--"It
was not I who drove out the sea but God in His own great power who
expelled it and He would have done still more had you not spoken the
words you have said." Three little wells of clear sweet water burst
forth in the place where fell the three drops of blood at the feet of
Declan, and these wells are there still and the colour of blood is seen
in them occasionally as a memorial of this miracle. The shore, rescued
from the sea, is a mile in width and is of great length around (the
island) and it is good and fertile land for tillage and pasture--lying
beneath the monastery of Declan. As to the crosier which was in Declan's
hand while he wrought this miracle, this is its name--the Feartach
Declain, from the miracles and marvels [fertaib] wrought through it. I
shall in another, subsequent, place relate some of these miracles

21. After the expulsion of the sea by this famous Saint, scil.: Declan,
whose name and renown spread throughout Erin because of his great and
diverse miracles, he commenced to build a great monastery by the south
side of the stream which flows through the island into the sea. This
monastery is illustrious and beautiful and its name is Ardmor Declain, as
we have said. After this came many persons to Declan, drawn from the
uttermost parts of Ireland, by the fame of his holy living; they devoted
themselves, soul and body to God and Declan, binding themselves beneath
his yoke and his rule. Moreover he built himself in every place
throughout the territory of the Decies, churches and monasteries and not
alone in his own territory (did he build) but in other regions of Ireland
under tribute to him. Great too were the multitudes (thousands) of men
and women who were under his spiritual sway and rule, in the places we
have referred to, throughout Ireland, where happily they passed their
lives. He ordained some of his disciples bishops and appointed them in
these places to sow the seed of faith and religion therein. Gentleness
and charity manifested themselves in Declan to such an extent that his
disciples preferred to live under his immediate control and under his
direction as subjects than to be in authority in another monastery.

22. After this the holy renowned bishop, head of justice and faith in
the Gaelic island came into Ireland, i.e. Patrick sent by Celestinus, the
Pope. Aongus Mac Nathfrich went to meet him soon as he heard the account
of his coming. He conducted him (Patrick) with reverence and great
honour to his own royal city--to Cashel. Then Patrick baptised him and
blessed himself and his people and his city. Patrick heard that the
prince of the Decies had not been baptised and did not believe, that
there was a disagreement between the prince and Declan and that the
former refused to receive instruction from the latter. Patrick thereupon
set out to preach to the prince aforesaid. Next, as to the four bishops
we have named who had been in Rome: Except Declan alone they were not in
perfect agreement with Patrick. It is true that subsequently to this
they did enter into a league of peace and harmonious actions with Patrick
and paid him fealty. Ciaran, however, paid him all respect and reverence
and was of one mind with him present or absent. Ailbe then, when he saw
the kings and rulers of Ireland paying homage to Patrick and going out to
meet him, came himself to Cashel, to wait on him and he also paid homage
to him (Patrick) and submitted to his jurisdiction, in presence of the
king and all others. Bear in mind it was Ailbe whom the other holy
bishops had elected their superior. He therefore came first to Patrick,
lest the others, on his account, should offer opposition to Patrick, and
also that by his example the others might be more easily drawn to his
jurisdiction and rule. Bishop Ibar however would on no account consent
to be subject to Patrick, for it was displeasing to him that a foreigner
should be patron of Ireland. It happened that Patrick in his origin was
of the Britons and he was nurtured in Ireland having been sold to bondage
in his boyhood. There arose misunderstanding and dissension between
Patrick and Bishop Ibar at first, although (eventually), by intervention
of the angel of peace, they formed a mutual fellowship and brotherly
compact and they remained in agreement for ever after. But Declan did
not wish to disagree at all with Patrick for they had formed a mutual
bond of friendship on the Italian highway and it is thus the angel
commanded him to go to Patrick and obey him:--

23. The angel of God came to Declan and said to him "Go quickly to
Patrick and prevent him cursing your kindred and country, for to-night,
in the plain which is called Inneoin, he is fasting against the king, and
if he curses your people they shall be accursed for ever." Thereupon
Declan set out in haste by direction of the angel to Inneoin, i.e. the
place which is in the centre of the plain of Femhin in the northern part
of the Decies. He crossed Slieve Gua [Knockmaeldown] and over the Suir
and arrived on the following morning at the place where Patrick was.
When Patrick and his disciples heard that Declan was there they welcomed
him warmly for they had been told he would not come. Moreover Patrick
and his people received him with great honour. But Declan made obeisance
to Patrick and besought him earnestly that he should not execrate his
people and that he should not curse them nor the land in which they
dwelt, and he promised to allow Patrick do as he pleased. And Patrick
replied:--"On account of your prayer not only shall I not curse them but
I shall give them a blessing." Declan went thereupon to the place where
was the king of Decies who was a neighbour of his. But he contemned
Patrick and he would not believe him even at the request of Declan.
Moreover Declan promised rewards to him if he would go to Patrick to
receive baptism at his hands and assent to the faith. But he would not
assent on any account. When Declan saw this, scil.:--that the king of
the Decies, who was named Ledban, was obstinate in his infidelity and
in his devilry--through fear lest Patrick should curse his race and
country--he (Declan) turned to the assembly and addressed
them:--"Separate yourselves from this accursed man lest you become
yourselves accursed on his account, for I have myself baptised and
blessed you, but come you," said he, "with us, to Patrick, whom God has
sent to bless you, for he has been chosen Archbishop and chief Patron of
all Erin; moreover, I have a right to my own patrimony and to be king
over you as that man (Ledban) has been." At this speech they all arose
and followed Declan who brought them into the presence of Patrick and
said to the latter:--"See how the whole people of the Deisi have come with
me as their Lord to thee and they have left the accursed prince whose
subjects they have been, and behold they are ready to reverence you and
to obey you for it is from me they have received baptism." At this
Patrick rose up with his followers and he blessed the people of the Deisi
and not them alone, but their woods and water and land. Whereupon the
chiefs and nobles of the Deisi said:--"Who will be King or Lord over us
now?" And Declan replied:--"I am your lord and whomsoever I shall
appoint offer you as lord, Patrick and all of us will bless, and he shall
be king over you all." And he whom Declan appointed was Feargal
MacCormac a certain young man of the nation of the Deisi who was a
kinsman of Declan himself. He (Declan) set him in the midst of the
assembly in the king's place and he was pleasing to all. Whereupon
Patrick and Declan blessed him and each of them apart proclaimed him
chieftain. Patrick moreover promised the young man that he should be
brave and strong in battle, that the land should be fruitful during his
reign. Thus have the kings of the Deisi always been.

24. After these things Declan and Feargal Mac Cormac (king of the Deisi)
and his people gave a large area of land to Patrick in the neighbourhood
of Magh Feimhin and this belongs to his successors ever since and great
lordship there. And the place which was given over to him is not far
from the Suir. There is a great very clear fountain there which is
called "Patrick's Well" and this was dear to Patrick. After this, with
blessing, they took leave of one another and Patrick returned to Cashel
to Aongus Mac Natfrich and Declan went with him.

25. A miracle was wrought at that time on Declan through the
intercession and prayers of Patrick for as Declan was walking carelessly
along he trod upon a piece of sharp iron which cut his foot so that blood
flowed freely and Declan began to limp. Ailbe of Emly was present at
this miracle and Sechnall a bishop of Patrick's and a holy and wise man,
and he is said to be the first bishop buried in Ireland. The wound which
Declan had received grieved them very much. Patrick was informed of the
accident and was grieved thereat. He said:--"Heal, O Master (i.e. God),
the foot of your own servant who bears much toil and hardship on your
account." Patrick laid his hand on the wounded foot and made over it the
sign of the cross when immediately the flow of blood ceased, the lips of
the wound united, a cicatrix formed upon it and a cure was effected.
Then Declan rose up with his foot healed and joined in praising God. The
soldiers and fighting men who were present cried out loudly, blessing God
and the saints.

26. As Patrick and the saints were in Cashel, i.e. Ailbe and Declan with
their disciples, in the territory of Aongus Mac Nathfrich, they made much
progress against paganism and errors in faith and they converted them
(the pagans) to Christianity. It was ordained by Patrick and Aongus Mac
Natfrich in presence of the assembly, that the Archbishopric of Munster
should belong to Ailbe, and to Declan, in like manner, was ordained
(committed) his own race, i.e. the Deisi, whom he had converted to be his
parish and his episcopate. As the Irish should serve Patrick, so should
the Deisi serve Declan as their patron, and Patrick made the "rann":--

"Humble Ailbe the Patrick of Munster, greater than any saying, Declan,
Patrick of the Deisi--the Decies to Declan for ever."

This is equivalent to saying that Ailbe was a second Patrick and that
Declan was a second Patrick of the Decies. After that, when the king had
bidden them farewell and they had all taken leave of one another, the
saints returned to their respective territories to sow therein the seed
of faith.

27. Declan and Ferghal Mac Cormac, king of the Deisi, with his army and
followers, met one another at Indeoin and they made still more strong on
the people the bond of Christian obligation. The king we have already
mentioned, scil.:--Ledban, the recusant to the Christian name, was
rejected of all and he came to nothing, leaving no knowledge (memory) of
his history, as is written of the enemies of the faith:--"Their memory
perisheth like a sound" [Psalm 9:7]. Moreover Declan and Fergal and the
chief men of the Deisi decreed this as the place where the king of the
Deisi should be inaugurated for ever thenceforward, because it was there
Patrick and Declan blessed the king, Fergal; moreover tradition states
that it was there the kings were crowned and ruled over the Deisi in
pagan times.

28. At that time there broke out a dreadful plague in Munster and it was
more deadly in Cashel than elsewhere. Thus it affected those whom it
attacked: it first changed their colour to yellow and then killed them.
Now Aongus had, in a stone fort called "Rath na nIrlann," on the western
side of Cashel, seven noble hostages. It happened that in one and the
same night they all died of the plague. The king was much affected
thereat and he gave orders to have the fact concealed lest it should
bring disgrace or even war upon him, for the hostages were scions of the
strongest and most powerful families in Munster. On the morrow however
Declan came to Cashel and talked with Aonghus. The king welcomed him
heartily and addressing him said to him in presence of persons of his
court, "I pray you, Declan, servant of God, that in the name of Christ
you would raise to life for me the seven hostages whom I held in bondage
from the chieftains of Munster. They have died from the plague of which
you hear, and I fear their fathers will raise war and rebellion against
me, for they are men of strength and power, and indeed we are ashamed of
their death, for they will say that it is we ourselves who killed them."
Declan answered the king, saying to him:--"Such a matter as this--to
raise one to life from death--belongs to Omnipotence alone--but I shall
do whatever is in my power. I go where the bodies lie and pray to God
for them and let Him do in their regard what seems best to Him." Next,
Declan, with a multitude and his disciples together with the king's
councillors, went to the place where the corpses of the young men lay.
The king followed after them until he came in sight of the bodies.
Declan, full of divine faith, entered the house wherein they lay and he
sprinkled holy water over them and prayed for them in the presence of
all, saying:--"O Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the living God, for thine
own name's sake wake the dead that they may be strengthened in the
Catholic faith through our instrumentality." Thereupon, at Declan's
prayer, the group (of corpses) revived and they moved their eyelids and
Declan said to them "In the name of Christ, our Saviour, stand up and
bless and glorify God." And at his words they rose up immediately and
spoke to all. Declan then announced to the king that they were alive and
well. When people saw this remarkable miracle they all gave glory and
praise to God. The fame of Declan thereupon spread throughout Erin and
the king rejoiced for restoration of his hostages.

29. After this the people of Cashel besought Bishop Declan to bless
their city and banish the plague from them and to intercede with God for
those stricken with sickness who could not escape from its toils. Declan
seeing the people's faith prayed to God and signed with the sign of
Redemption the four points of the compass. As he concluded, there was
verified the saying of Christ to His disciples when leaving them and
going to heaven:--"Super aegros imponent manus et bene habebunt" [Mark
16:18] (I shall place my hands on the sick and they shall be healed).
Soon as Declan had made the sign of the cross each one who was ill became
well and not alone were these restored to health but (all the sick) of
the whole region round about in whatsoever place there were persons
ailing. Moreover the plague was banished from every place and all
rejoiced greatly thereat as well as on account of the resurrection of the
dead men we have narrated. The king thereupon ordered tribute and honour
to Declan and his successors from himself and from every king who should
hold Cashel ever after. Upon this the glorious bishop Declan blessed
Aongus together with his city and people and returned back to his own

30. One night Declan was a guest at the house of a wealthy man who dwelt
in the southern part of Magh Femhin; this is the kind of person his host
was, scil.:--a pagan who rejected the true faith, and his name was
Dercan. He resolved to amuse himself at the Christians' expense;
accordingly he ordered his servants to kill a dog secretly, to cut off
its head and feet and to bury them in the earth and then to cook the
flesh properly and to set it before Declan and his company as their meal.
Moreover he directed that the dog should be so fat that his flesh might
pass as mutton. When, in due course, it was cooked, the flesh, together
with bread and other food, was laid before Declan and his following. At
that moment Declan had fallen asleep but he was aroused by his disciples
that he might bless their meal. He observed to them:--"Indeed I see,
connected with this meat, the ministry of the devil." Whereupon he
questioned the waiters as to the meat--what kind it was and whence
procured. They replied: "Our master ordered us to kill a fat ram for
you and we have done as he commanded." Declan said, "Our Master is Jesus
Christ and may He show us what it is that connects the ministry of Satan
with this meat and preserve thy servants from eating forbidden food." As
he spoke thus Declan saw in the meat the claw of a dog, for, without
intending it, they had boiled one quarter of the dog with its paw
adhering; they thought they had buried it (the incriminating limb) with
the other paws. Declan exclaimed, "This is not a sheep's but a dog's
foot." When the attendants heard this they went at once to their master
and related the matter to him. Then Dercan came to Declan, accepted his
faith and received Baptism at his hands, giving himself and his posterity
to Declan for ever. Moreover he gave his homestead to Declan and his
people were baptised. After this Dercan requested that Declan should
bless something in his homestead which might remain as a memorial of him
(Dercan) for ever. Then Declan blessed a bell which he perceived there
and its name is Clog-Dhercain ("Dercan's Bell"); moreover, he declared:
"I endow it with this virtue (power) that if the king of Decies march
around it when going to battle, against his enemies, or to punish
violation of his rights, he shall return safely and with victory." This
promise has been frequently fulfilled, but proud (men) undertaking battle
or conflict unjustly even if they march around it do not obtain victory
but success remains with the enemy. The name of that homestead was
Teach-Dhercain ("Dercain's House") and its name now is Coningean, from
the claw [con] of the hound or dog aforesaid. To this place came the
saintly concourse, scil:--Coman and Ultan, MacErc and Mocoba and
Maclaisren, who dedicated themselves to (the service of) God and placed
themselves under the spiritual rule and sway of Declan.

31. Thereupon Declan established a monastery in that place, scil.--in
Coningin--and he placed there this holy community with a further band of
disciples. Ultan however he took away with him to the place whither he

32. On another (subsequent) occasion Declan visited Bregia, i.e. the
original territory which belonged to his race previous to the expulsion
of his ancestors. There he was treated with particular honour by the
king of Tara and by the chieftains of Meath by whom he was beloved, since
it was from themselves (their tribe and territory) that his forbears had
gone out, for that region was the patrimony of his race and within it
lies Tara. Declan instituted therein a monastery of Canons, on land
which he received from the king, and it is from him the place is named.
Moreover he left therein a relic or illuminated book and a famous gospel
which he was accustomed to carry always with him. The gospel is still
preserved with much honour in the place and miracles are wrought through
it. After this again he turned towards Munster.

33. Declan was once travelling through Ossory when he wished to remain
for the night in a certain village. But the villagers not only did not
receive him but actually drove him forth by force of arms. The saint
however prayed to God that it might happen to them what the Sacred
Scripture says, "Vengeance is mine I will repay" [Deuteronomy 32:35].
The dwellers in the village, who numbered sixty, died that same night
with the exception of two men and ten women to whom the conduct of the
others towards the saint had been displeasing. On the morrow these
men and women came humbly to the place where Declan was and they told
him--what he himself foreknew--how miserably the others had died. They
themselves did penance and they bestowed on Declan a suitable site
whereon he built a monastery and he got another piece of land and had the
dead buried where he built the monastery. The name of that monastery is
Cill-Colm-Dearg. This Colm-Dearg was a kind, holy man and a disciple of
Declan. He was of East Leinster, i.e. of the Dal Meiscorb, and it is
from him that the monastery is named. When he (Declan) had completed
that place he came to his own territory again, i.e. to the Decies.

34. On a certain day Declan came to a place called Ait-Breasail and the
dwellers therein would not allow him to enter their village; moreover
they hid all their boats so that he could not go into his own island, for
they hated him very much. In consideration however of the sanctity of
his servant, who prayed in patience, God the All-Powerful turned the sea
into dry land as you have already heard. Declan passed the night in an
empty stable out in the plain and the people of the village did not give
him even a fire. Whereupon, appropriately the anger of God fell on them,
who had not compassion enough to supply the disciple of God with a fire.
There came fire from heaven on them to consume them all [together with
their] homestead and village, so that the place has been ever since a
wilderness accursed, as the prophet writes: "civitates eorum
destruxisti" [Psalm 9:7] (the dwellings of the unmerciful are laid

35. On yet another occasion Declan was in his own region--travelling
over Slieve Gua in the Decies, when his horse from some cause got lame so
that he could proceed no further. Declan however, seeing a herd of deer
roaming the mountain close to him, said to one of his people: "Go, and
bring me for my chariot one of these deer to replace my horse and take
with you this halter for him." Without any misgiving the disciple went
on till he reached the deer which waited quietly for him. He chose the
animal which was largest and therefore strongest, and, bringing him back,
yoked him to the chariot. The deer thereupon obediently and without
effort carried Bishop Declan till he came to Magh Femhin, where, when he
reached a house of entertainment, the saint unloosed the stag and bade
him to go free as was his nature. Accordingly, at the command of the
saintly man and in the presence of all, the stag returned on the same
road back (to the mountain). Dormanach is the name of the man aforesaid
who brought the stag to Declan and him Declan blessed and gave him a
piece of land on the north of Decies close by the Eoghanacht and his
posterity live till now in that place.

36. On another occasion, Declan, accompanied, as usual, by a large
following, was travelling, when one member of the party fell on the road
and broke his shin bone in twain. Declan saw the accident and, pitying
the injured man, he directed an individual of the company to bandage the
broken limb so that the sufferer might not die through excess of pain and
loss of blood. All replied that they could not endure to dress the wound
owing to their horror thereof. But there was one of the company, Daluadh
by name, who faced the wound boldly and confidently and said: "In the
name of Christ and of Declan our patron I shall be surgeon to this foot";
and he said that jestingly. Nevertheless he bandaged the foot carefully
and blessed it aright in the name of God and Declan, and in a little
while the wound healed and they all gave praise to God. Then Declan said
to Daluadh: "You promised to be surgeon to that foot in Christ's name
and in mine and God has vouchsafed to heal it at these words: on this
account you will be a true physician for ever and your children and your
seed after you for ever shall also possess the healing art, and
whomsoever they shall practise healing upon in God's name and mine,
provided there be no hatred [in their hearts] nor too great covetousness
of a physician's fee to him, God and myself shall send relief." This
promise of Declan has been fulfilled in the case of that family.

37. On another occasion, as Declan was travelling in the northern part
of Magh Femhin beside the Suir, he met there a man who was carrying a
little infant to get it baptised. Declan said to the people [his
"muinntear," or following]: "Wait here till I baptise yonder child," for
it was revealed by the Holy Ghost to him that he [the babe] should serve
God. The attendant replied to him that they had neither a vessel nor
salt for the baptism. Declan said: "We have a wide vessel, the Suir,
and God will send us salt, for this child is destined to become holy and
wonderful [in his works]." Thereupon Declan took up a fistful of earth
and, making prayer in his heart to God, he signed the clay with the sign
of the cross of redemption. It (the handful of earth) became white, dry
salt, and all, on seeing it, gave thanks and honour to God and Declan.
The infant was baptised there and the name of Ciaran given him. Declan
said: "Bring up my spiritual son carefully and send him, at a fitting
age, for education to a holy man who is well instructed in the faith for
he will become a shining bright pillar in the Church." And it was this
child, Ciaran Mac Eochaidh, who founded in after years a famous monastery
(from which he migrated to heaven) and another place (monastery) besides.
He worked many miracles and holy signs and this is the name of his
monastery Tiprut [Tubrid] and this is where it is:--in the western part
of the Decies in Ui Faithe between Slieve Grot [Galtee] and Sieve Cua and
it is within the bishopric of Declan.

38. On another day there came a woman to Declan's monastery not far from
the city where she dwelt. She committed a theft that day in Declan's
monastery as she had often done previously, and this is the thing she
stole--a "habellum" [possibly an item of tribute]; she departed homewards
taking it with her and there met her a group of people on the highway,
and the earth, in their presence, swallowed her up, and she cast out the
tabellum from her bosom and it was quickly turned into a stone which the
wayfarers took and brought with them to Declan. Declan himself had in
supernatural vision seen all that happened to the woman in punishment of
her theft, and the name of Declan was magnified owing to those marvels so
that fear took possession of all-those present and those absent. The
stone in question remains still in Declan's graveyard in his own town of
Ardmore-Declain, where it stands on an elevated place in memory of this

39. A rich man named Fintan was childless, for his wife was barren for
many years. He himself, with his wife, visited Declan and promised large
alms and performance of good works provided he (Declan) would pray that
they might have children: they held it as certain that if Declan but
prayed for them God would grant them children. Declan therefore, praying
to God and blessing the pair, said: "Proceed to your home and through
God's bounty you shall have offspring." The couple returned home, with
great joy for the blessing and for the promise of the offspring. The
following night, Fintan lay with his wife and she conceived and brought
forth twin sons, scil.: Fiacha and Aodh, who, together with their
children and descendants were under tribute and service to God and

40. When it was made known to a certain holy man, scil.:--Ailbe of Emly
Iubar, chief bishop of Munster, that his last days had come, he said to
his disciples: "Beloved brethren, I wish, before I die, to visit my very
dear fellow worker, scil.:--Declan." After this Ailbe set out on the
journey and an angel of God came to Declan notifying him that Ailbe was
on his way to visit him. On the angel's notification Declan ordered his
disciples to prepare the house for Ailbe's coming. He himself went to
meet Ailbe as far as the place which is called Druim Luctraidh
[Luchluachra]. Thence they came home together and Ailbe, treated with
great honour by Declan and his people, stayed fourteen pleasant days.
After that the aged saint returned home again to his own city, scil.:--to
Emly Iubar. Declan came and many of his people, escorting Ailbe, to
Druim Luchtradh, and Ailbe bade him return to his own city. The two knew
they should not see one another in this world ever again. In taking
leave of one another, therefore, they shed plentiful tears of sorrow and
they instituted an everlasting compact and league between their
successors in that place. Ailbe moreover blessed the city of Declan, his
clergy and people and Declan did the same for Ailbe and they kissed one
another in token of love and peace and each returned to his own city.

41. On a certain day the Castle of Cinaedh, King of the Deisi, took fire
and it burned violently. It happened however that Declan was proceeding
towards the castle on some business and he was grieved to see it burning;
he flung towards it the staff to which we have referred in connection
with the drying up of the sea, and it (the staff) flew hovering in the
air with heavenly wings till it reached the midst of the flame and the
fire was immediately extinguished of its own accord through the grace of
God and virtue of the staff and of Declan to whom it belonged. The place
from which Declan cast the staff was a long mile distant from the castle
and when the king, i.e. Cinaedh, and all the others witnessed this
miracle they were filled with amazement and gave thanks to God and to
Declan when they came to know that it was he who wrought it. Now the
place where the castle stands is not far from the Suir, i.e. on the south
side of it and the place from which Declan cast the staff is beside a
ford which is in the Suir or a stream which flows beside the monastery
called Mag Laca [Molough] which the holy virgins, daughters of the king
of Decies, have built in honour of God. There is a pile of stones and a
cross in the place to commemorate this miracle.

42. On another occasion there approached a foreign fleet towards
Declan's city and this was their design--to destroy and to plunder it of
persons and of cattle, because they (the foreigners) were people hostile
to the faith. Many members of the community ran with great haste to tell
Declan of the fleet which threatened the town and to request him to beg
the assistance of God against the invaders. Declan knew the man amongst
his own disciples who was holiest and most abounding in grace, scil.,
Ultan, already mentioned, and him he ordered to pray to God against the
fleet. Ultan had pity on the Christian people and he went instantly, at
the command of Declan, in front of the fleet and he held his left hand
against it, and, on the spot, the sea swallowed them like sacks full of
lead, and the drowned sailors were changed into large rocks which stand
not far from the mouth of the haven where they are visible (standing)
high out of the sea from that time till now. All Christians who
witnessed this rejoiced and were glad and they gave great praise and
glory to God and to Declan their own patron who caused the working of
this miracle and of many other miracles besides. Next there arose a
contention between Ultan and Declan concerning this miracle, for Ultan
attributed it to Declan and Declan credited it to Ultan; and it has
become a proverb since in Ireland when people hear of danger or
jeopardy:--"The left hand of Ultan against you (the danger)." Ultan
became, after the death of Declan, a miracle-working abbot of many other
holy monks.

43. The holy and glorious archbishop, i.e. Patrick, sent one of his own
followers to Declan with power and authority (delegation) from the
archbishop. And proceeding through the southern part of Decies he was
drowned in a river [the Lickey] there, two miles from the city of Declan.
When Declan heard this he was grieved and he said: "Indeed it grieves me
that a servant of God and of Patrick who sent him to visit me, having
travelled all over Ireland, should be drowned in a river of my own
territory. Get my chariot for me that I may go in haste to see his
corpse, so that Patrick may come to hear of the worry and the grief I
have undergone because of his disciple's death." The body had been
recovered before the arrival of Declan by others who were close at hand
and it had been placed on a bier to be carried to Ciaran for interment.
Declan however met them on the way, when he ordered the body to be laid
down on the ground. They supposed he was about to recite the Office for
the Dead. He (Declan) advanced to the place where the bier was and
lifted the sheet covering the face. It (the face) looked dark and
deformed as is usual in the case of the drowned. He prayed to God and
shed tears, but no one heard aught of what he said. After this he
commanded:--"In the name of the Trinity, in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost whose religious yoke I bear myself, arise
to us for God has given your life to me." He (the dead man) rose up
immediately at the command and he greeted Declan and all the others.
Whereupon Declan and his disciples received him with honour. At first he
was not completely cured but (was) like one convalescent until (complete)
health returned to him by degrees again. He however accompanied Declan
and remained some time with him and there was much rejoicing in Declan's
city on account of the miracle and his (Declan's) name and fame extended
over the country generally. This disciple of Patrick was named Ballin;
he returned with great joy and he told him (Patrick) that Declan had
raised him from the dead. To many others likewise he related what had
happened to him. Patrick, in presence of many persons, hearing of the
miracle gave glory and thanks to God and the name of Declan was

44. With this extraordinary miracle wrought by Declan we wish to
conclude our discourse. The number of miracles he wrought, but which are
not written here, you are to judge and gather from what we have written.
And we wish moreover that you would understand that he healed the infirm,
that he gave sight to the eyes of the blind, cleansed lepers, and gave
"their walk" to cripples; that he obtained hearing for the deaf, and that
he healed many and various diseases in many different places throughout
Ireland--(things) which are not written here because of their length and
because they are so numerous to record, for fear it should tire readers
to hear so much said of one particular person. On that account we shall
pass them by.

45. When Declan realised that his last days were at hand and that the
time remaining to him was very short he summoned to him his own spiritual
son, scil., MacLiag (residing) in the monastery which is on the eastern
side of the Decies close to the Leinstermen in order that, at the hour of
death, he might receive the Body and Blood of Christ and the Sacraments
of the Church from his hands. Thereupon he foretold to his disciples the
day of his death and he commanded them to bring him to his own city, for
it was not there he dwelt at the time but in a small venerable cell which
he had ordered to be built for him between the hill called Ardmore
Declain and the ocean--in a narrow place at the brink of the sea by which
there flows down from the hill above a small shining stream about which
are trees and bushes all around, and it is called Disert Declain. Thence
to the city it is a short mile and the reason why Declan used go there
was to avoid turmoil and noise so that he might be able to read and pray
and fast there. Indeed it was not easy for him to stay even there
because of the multitude of disciples and paupers and pilgrims and
beggars who followed him thither. Declan was however generous and very
sympathetic and on that account it is recorded by tradition that a great
following (of poor, &c.), generally accompanied him and that moreover the
little cell was very dear to him for the reason we have given, and many
devout people have made it their practice to dwell therein.

46. When Declan fell ill and became weak in body, but still strong in
hope and faith and love of God, he returned to his own city--his people
and disciples and clergy surrounding him. He discoursed to them on the
commands of God and he enjoined on them to live holily after his death,
to be submissive to authority and to follow as closely as possible the
way he had marked out and to preserve his city in a state of piety and
under religious rule. And when they had all heard the discourse it
grieved them greatly to perceive, from what he had said, he realised that
in a short time he would go away to heaven from them. But they were
consoled by his gentle words and then there came to him the holy man, to
wit, MacLiag, at his own request, already referred to. He [Declan]
received the Body and Blood of Christ and the Sacraments of the Church
from his [MacLiag's] hand--surrounded by holy men and his disciples, and
he blessed his people and his dependents and his poor, and he kissed them
in token of love and peace. Thus, having banished images and the
sacrifices to idols, having converted multitudes to the true faith,
having established monasteries and ecclesiastical orders in various
places, having spent his whole life profitably and holily, this glorious
bishop went with the angels to heaven on the ninth day of the Kalends of
August [July 24] and his body was blessed and honoured with Masses and
chanting by holy men and by the people of the Decies and by his own monks
and disciples collected from every quarter at the time of his death. He

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