Thursday, 5 June 2014

Saints Niadh and Berchan, June 5

Canon O'Hanlon brings a brief account of two early but obscure saints commemorated on June 5:  Niadh and Berchan of Cluain Aodh Aithmeth. His authority is a manuscript calendar belonging to the 19th-century scholar, Professor Eugene O'Curry. He further draws on the 17th-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan's Trias Thaumaturga, in locating our saints' territory in County Meath according to a reference in the Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick (book 2, chapter 10):

Saints Niadh and Berchan of Cluain Aodh Aithmeth, in Luighne.

The 5th of June is dedicated to the memory of St. Niadh and of St. Berchan. Both were connected with Cluain Aodh Aithmeth, in Luighne. The Luaighni of Teamhair were a people in Meath, and the position of their district seems determined, by a passage in one of St. Patrick's Lives. The Church of Domhnach-mor-Muighe Echenach is placed within the territory. It lay upon the banks of the Boyne. The identification of a modern designation for the ancient Cluain Aedha Aithmet proves a more difficult matter, for the topographer and historian.

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