Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Saints Furadhran and Baithin of Dunleer, June 18

At June 18 Canon O'Hanlon brings us details of two saintly brothers who flourished in Lann-Leire, which he believes to be modern Dunleer, County Louth. We start with Abbot Furadhran and then move to the notice of his brother Baithin. I thought they were commemorated with a particularly beautiful verse in the Martyrology of Aengus, which remembers Furadhran 'with keenness' and 'fair, happy Baithin':

ARTICLE I.—ST. FURADHRAN OR FURODRAIN, ABBOT OF LANN-LEIRE, NOW DUNLEER, COUNTY OF LOUTH.

SIMPLY the name, Furodrain, occurs in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 18th of June. According to the Calendar of the O'Clerys, he belonged to the race of Colla Dachrioch. In the Festilogy of St. Aengus, at the 18th of June, his feast is commemorated. On this notice, there is an Irish comment, which states, that Boethin and Furodran were two sons of Moenan of Lann Luachain, in Bregia. The place of this saint had been identified with the old church of Lynn, on the east side of the beautiful Lough Ennell, in the barony of Fartullagh, and county of Westmeath. So early as the beginning of the eighth century, an abbey seems to have been existing in this locality. It seems, however, that his place must be sought for, within the former territory of Feara-Arda-Cianachta, so called from the race of Cian. The Rev. Dr. Reeves has identified the ancient Lann-Leire with Dunleer, in the barony of Ferrard, and in the county of Louth. This seems to be the true conjecture. The Welch or old British term Lann is usually found, to be the equivalent for a church; and, according to a statement sent forth, Lann Leire has been interpreted the "Church of Austerity." We find bishops presiding at Lann Lere, from the middle to the close of the ninth century....In the year 921, the district of Feara Arda, and also Lann Leire, and Fearna Rois, were plundered by the foreigners. At this day, the Martyrology of Donegal registers our saint as Furadhran, Abbot of Lann-Leire. He is called likewise the son of Maonán.

Article II.—St. Baithin or Baothan, of Lann-Leire, now Dunleer, County of Louth.

A festival in honour of Baithin is set down in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 18th of June. He is there properly joined with the previous saint, who was his brother. His habitation seems to have been likewise at Lann Leire. This place is identified with Dunleer, county of Louth, as we have noticed, in the preceding article. When both of these brothers—who no doubt lived contemporaneously—flourished does not seem to be on record. The Felire of Aenghuis calls him Baithin. In the Leabhar Breac copy, we have the following stanza. Its English translation is
furnished by Dr. Whitley Stokes :—

"With fair, happy Boethin,
Furodran with keenness,
Moenan's sons with virginity,
of beautiful Lann Lere."—

Father John Colgan alludes to St. Baithin, as having been venerated, at the 18th of June, according to our Irish Calendars. The Martyrology of Donegal records him, likewise, and at the same date, as Baothan, son of Maonan. To the foregoing notice, the word (Juvencus), within brackets and Italicised, occurs after his name, as found in the Table to this Martyrology. The Irish Calendar, preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, enters him, at the xiv. of the July Kalends.

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