Sunday, 19 October 2014

Saint Cronan of Tomgraney, October 19

October 19 is the commemoration of a County Clare saint, Cronan of Tomgraney. The Martyrology of Donegal records:
19. E. QUARTO DECIMO KAL. OCTOBRIS. 19. 
CRONAN, of Tuaim Greine.
The website of the Clare County Library has a page which explains the origins of the place name associated with our saint and which mentions him as the founder of its monastery. Sadly by the nineteenth century, the Ordnance Survey scholar, John O'Donovan, was dismayed to find that little local knowledge of the saint had survived, not even the memory of when his feast day was commemorated. Another nineteenth-century source, the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literaturealluded to some of the difficulties in disentangling the founder of Tomgraney from others of the same name:
Cronan (Croman, or Chronan) is a very frequent name in Irish hagiologies, and has several synonyms, as Cuaran, Mochuaroc, and frequently Mochua, Cron and Cua having in Irish the same meaning.
13. Of Tuaim-greine (now Tomgraney, in the barony of Upper Tulla, County Clare), commemorated October 19. This saint appears twice in the Mart. Doneg., first in the original hand at October 19; and next in the second hand, on the authority of Mar. O'Gorman, at November 1. Among the saints of the family of St. Colman of Kilmacduach (Feb. 3), or house of the Hy-Fiachrach, Colgan gives "St. Cronan, son of Aengus, son of Corbmac, etc., February 20 or October 19;" and Mart. Doneg. at February 20 also mentions that there is a Cronan with this pedigree (Todd and Reeves, Mart. Doneg. pages 55, 279,293; Colgan, Acta Sanctorum, page 248, c. 2).
James Strong and John McClintock, eds., The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Haper and Brothers; NY; 1880). [extract from online edition here.]

Modern scholar, Pádraig Ó Riain in his dictionary entry for the saint explores the evidence from literary sources and place names and confirms the difficulties of the earlier hagiologists in establishing a single identity and feast day for this saint.

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