Sunday, 21 September 2014

Saint Saran of Lesan, September 21

September 21 is the feast of Saint Saran of Lesan. There are 12 saints of this name listed in the Martyrology of Donegal, our saint is distinguished by the use of his patronymic, son of Tighernach. He is associated in that calendar with the placename Lesan in Sliabh Callan, which a note appended to one of the manuscript copies of the Martyrology of Donegal identifies as Lessan, County Derry. He is also associated with a second locality, Cluainda-acra in Cechair. In a chapter dealing with the parish of Clooney, County Clare in his book The History and Topography of the County of Clare, James Frost writes of this place:

In the Martyrology of Donegal, under the date of the 21st of September, is found the following entry:—“Saran, son of Tighernach, son of Maenach of Lesan, in Sliabh Callann, and of Cluain-da-acra, in Cehair.” O’Curry was of opinion that this Cluain-da-acra might be the Clooney of Corcomroe.[44] The church is much ruined by time. At a little distance is a holy well dedicated to St. Flannan, where rounds are yet made. In a townland of the parish, called Killeighnagh is a small burial-ground, and in another place named Mooghna, is noticed a little grave-yard and well styled Tobar Mooghna, used by persons suffering from sore eyes.

[44] See his Letter in the Ordnance Survey Papers relating to Clare, in Royal Irish Academy Library, Vol. xiv., B. 23, p. 314.


Professor Ó Riain, however, in his Dictionary Of Irish Saints locates the Cheachair on the Longford and Leitrim border.  Canon O'Hanlon has this short account of our saint:

St. Saran mac Tiagharnaigh of Lesan, on Mount Callan, and of Cluain da-acra in Cheachair.

The name, Saran mac Trenaich, is found in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 19th of September; and this entry seems referable to the present date. The O'Clerys state, that the present holy man was the son of Tighernach, son of Maenach. At the end of those saints he commemorates at the 21st of September, Marianus O'Gorman celebrates with eulogy this holy man, invoking his intercession and that of others in the following manner: "Saran, the goodley gem, Tigernach's son, whom I choose: may they fly with me past tribulation to starry heaven as I ask!" The Irish comment on the text runs: Saran mac Tigernaigh meic Maenaigh ó Lesan i Sliabh Callann ocus o Cluain dá acra isin Cechair. Thus rendered into English: Saran, son of Tigernach, son of Maenach, from Lessan in Sliab Callann and Cluain da Acra in the Cechair.

At this date, we read in the Martyrology of Donegal, that Saran was of Lesan—said to be identical with Lessan, Londonderry County —in the Sliabh Callann, and of Cluainda-acra, in Cechair. There is a repetition, at this date, of his name, paternity and places, in the Irish Ordnance Survey Copy of the O'Clerys' Irish Calendar. A corresponding account is to be found in a manuscript copy of that Calendar, once in Mr. O'Curry's possession. The foregoing entry in the Martyrology has been extracted to furnish it.

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