Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Sons of Erc, April 19

On April 19 we meet another of the groups of Irish saints, the Sons of Erc of Darmagh. Following the work of Meath diocesan historian, Dean Anthony Cogan, Canon O'Hanlon identifies this place with the Columban monastery of Durrow. We have no further specifics about Erc's saintly sons, but interestingly, the calendars appear to preserve a second feast day for them at November 12:

The Sons of Erc, of Darmagh, said to have been Durrow, King's County.

The Martyrology of Tallagh enters as a festival, MacErcca of Dermaigh, at this same date [i.e. April 19]. This place, which is Anglicised 'the plain of the Oaks' is said to have been identical with the present Durrow, a parish, partly in the barony of Moycashel, county of Westmeath, but principally in that of Ballycowan, King's County. This monastery was founded by St. Columkille, about the year 550; and on a site, granted by Bredan, a chief of Teffia. Other accounts have the foundation of Durrow, at A.D. 546. It was subsequently governed by St. Lasren; but, St, Columba retired here, and drew up certain rules and instructions, for the future good government of this celebrated house. We have a long list of annalistic entries, referring to it, and reaching down to the time of its suppression, by Queen Elizabeth.

The saints here commemorated appear to have had a second festival, at November the 12th. Marianus O'Gorman, at this day, has an entry of those holy men; and, at this date also, quoting his authority, and that of the Tallagh Martyrology, the Bollandists enter Filii Ercae de Dermagia. The festival in honour of the sons of Erc, of Dermagh, was celebrated, on this day, as we read in the Martyrology of Donegal.

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