Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Saint Inneen of Dromtariff, May 6

The female saint commemorated today, May 6, is interesting on two counts. First, because her festival is not actually recorded on the calendars but is preserved in popular devotion and secondly because she has no proper name. Irish readers will recognise the word iníon, 'daughter' in the anglicized word Inneen. Folklore records that she was one of three sisters, her sibling Lateerin has an interesting tale associated with her to which we will return on her own feast day of July 24. Here is a brief introduction to Saint Inneen from a contributor to the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, who wrote under the pseudonym 'Mananaan Mac Lir':
The 5th of May is the festival of a nameless saint who is known as An Inghen Buidhe a Drom Tarbh, i.e. "the yellow (haired) daughter of Dromtariff" ("the ridge of the bull"). The local tradition is that SS. Lateerin of Cullin, Lassera of Killossory, in Kilmeen parish, and this "yellow-haired daughter," were sisters who led an eremitical life in those three respective and adjoining parishes in Duhallow. One night the angels came down from heaven and made a tochar  i.e. "causeway," from Killossory to Dromtariff, and thence to Cullin, so that those holy women might the more easily meet and converse with one another. The "patron day " at Killossory is now discontinued, but a large "patron" is still held at Dromtariff holy well on each recurring May 5. The locality of "the yellow-haired daughter's" holy well — about one hundred and fifty yards south of Dromtariff grave-yard and overlooking the majestic Blackwater — is shown on the Ordnance Townland Maps for the county Cork, sheet 31. 

Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Volume II (1896), 319.

Canon O'Hanlon has little other information to offer, although he cites May 6 rather than May 5 as the feast day:

St. Inneen, Dromtariff Old Church, County of Cork.

In the diocese of Kerry, there is an old church at Dromtariff, in the parish so called, and county of Cork, where a female saint, called Inneen, was venerated, on the 6th of May. According to popular tradition, she was the sister of St. Lateerin, who is likewise popularly known, at Cullin, in that part of the country, and to an older sister, who lived at Kilmeen. It it stated, according to a local tradition, that the angels of Heaven made a road, one night, from Kilmeen  through Dromtariff and on to Cullin, so that the three sisters might the more conveniently visit each other once every week. Much obscurity hangs over their history, as their celebrity appears to be merely local; although, the people, in their part of the country, have a great veneration for those sisters.

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