Friday, 6 September 2013

Saint Sciath of Ardskeagh, September 6


There are a number of interesting saints commemorated on September 6, but below is an account of a lesser-known Irish female saint, Sciath of Ardskeagh, taken from Volume 9 of The Lives of the Irish Saints:

St. Sciath, Virgin, of Fert-Sceithe, now Ardskeagh, in Muskerry of the Three Plains, County of Cork.

Veneration was given, at the 6th of September, according to the Manuscript copy, as also in the published Martyrology of Tallagh, to Scieth of Fiort Sceith, in Muscraithe tre Maighi. Immediately afterwards is mentioned, The Arrival of the Relics of Scethi, daughter of Mechi, at Tamlachta, or Tallagh. Although in a separate line, we can hardly believe it is intended to commemorate a different feast from the former celebration. The festival of Sciath is to be found in the Feilire of St. Oengus, at the 6th of September. Already we have noticed a feast for this holy virgin, at the 1st of January.

She descended from the race of Conaire, monarch of Erinn, who sprung from the seed of Heremon. Eilhue, daughter of Concraidh, was her mother, according to the O'Clerys. The Muscraighe Tri Maighe, or Muskerry of the Three Plains, in which the saint's place was situated, had been regarded as the territory of the O' Donnegan's. The Church of Fiort Sceithe, which is placed by the Calendars of Marianus and the O'Clerys at September 6th, in Muscraighetri-maighe, is known at present by the name of Ardskeagh. This is a small parish, in that part of the barony of Fermoy, bordering on the baronies of Orrery and Kilmore. In the ancient taxation of the diocese of Cloyne, there is a rural deanery, called Muscry-donnegan. It contains the parishes now comprehended in the baronies of Orrery and Kilmore, with small adjacent portions of Duhallow and Fermoy. Among the Churches in this deanery, Orwerg, (i.e. Orbraidhe or Orrery) and Fersketh, (i.e. Feart Skeithe,) called Ardskagh are two. This latter is now known as Ardskeagh. Thus, the identity of Muscraighe-tri-maighe and the barony of Orrery is proved to a demonstration. Ardskeagh is now a parish, in the barony of Condons and Clongibbons, in the County of Cork. This Parish, also called Ardskreagh, is separated from the main body of the barony in which it is included, by the intervention of the northern part of the barony of Fermoy. Some remains of its old Church yet exist in the burial ground. In the Martyrology of Donegal, at this same date, the patroness is recorded as Sciath, Virgin, of Fert Sceithe, in Museraighe of the Three Plains, in Munster. This saint was venerated, likewise, in Scotland, and at the 6th of September, she is entered as Scetthe, in the Calendar of Drummond.

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