Saturday, 13 September 2014

Saint Mael Tolaigh of Drumbeg, September 13


Among the saints commemorated on the Irish calendars at September 13 is an obscure County Down saint who rejoices in the name of Mael Tolaig. His locality, Drumbeg, was noted by the scholarly Anglican Bishop, William Reeves, in a note (e) on page 46 of his work on the Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor and Dromore:

Drum.—Now Drumbeg parish.—Ord. Survey, s. 9, Down; s. 64, Antrim. The church occupies the ancient site, on a hill in the county of Down, commonly called the Drum. The parish is intersected by the river Lagan, and was sometimes styled Drom in the Lagan. The Irish word Lagan signifies, according to Mr. O' Donovan, "a hollow, or hollow district between hills or mountains" ( Hy Fiachrach, p. 223), and is applied to tracts in the counties of Mayo and Donegal. At the Dissolution, the rectory of this parish was appropriate to the abbey of Moville.

Canon O'Hanlon's account  brings the details from the calendars:

St. Maeltolaigh, of Drumbeg Parish, County of Down. 

The Martyrology of Marianus O'Gorman enters the feast of Mael Tolaig, "of the strong effort," at the 13th of September. In the Martyrology of Donegal, it is mentioned, that Maeltolaigh, of Druim Niadh, in Ulster, was venerated at the same day. The place is now known, as being included within the present parish of Drumbeg, intersected by the River Lagan, and situated partly in the County of Down and partly in the County of Antrim. The Protestant church occupies the ancient site, on a hill, commonly called the Drum, in the County of Down.

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