We move on to details of those saints whose names begin with the letters I through L from this chronological list of Irish saints. There is another worthwhile selection here starting with the so-called 'pre-Patrician' Saint Ibar and moving on to some of our most famous Irish saints, Ita, Kevin and Kieran of Clonmacnoise, plus the patron of Tuam, Saint Jarlath. The European contingent is also represented with the inclusion of Saints Kilian and Livinus:
IBAR, SAINT, an abbot and bishop was co-temporary with St. Patrick. It appears that he was a missionary on the coast of Wexford at the time St. Patrick, came to Ireland, and for some time refused to acknowledge his authority, till it is said admonished by an angel. That there was some converts in Ireland before St. Patrick is evident from the fact that Palladius was sent to preach to the Scots—the ancient name of the Irish—believing in Christ. St. Ibar was of an illustrious family in Ulster. The extraordinary success of St. Patrick and the miracles he performed, must alone have moved St. Ibar and forced him to acknowledge St. Patrick's mission and authority, and we find him present at the consecration of St. Conlaith. He also preached before St. Bridget and her community. He founded a celebrated monastery at Beg Erin, an isle near Wexford, noted as a school of learning and piety. He died about 504.
IDA, SAINT, or Ita called the Bridget of Munster. She was of the princely family of Desie. Her father's name was Kemfoeland and her mother's Necta. She was born sbout 480. Her parents were christians, and she was trained up to the practice of every virtue, and from an early age she exhibited an extraordinary spirit of fervor and self denial. It is stated that while yet a child, the little bed on which she was asleep, was seen to blaze up as if on fire, and when the observer in alarm rushed up to save the child from the supposed fire, she was found sweetly sleeping with an angelic expression on her face. When she indicated a desire to lead a religious life, her father strongly opposed, and wanted her to wed a powerful young prince who proposed for her hand. After a special fast, she earnestly besought God to change her father's purpose, and it is said that, admonished by a vision, not to oppose her design, he gave her full permission to make her own choice. She soon after took the veil, and proceeding to the terrritory of Hy-Conaill, established herself at the foot of a mountain called Luachra. She was soon joined by many other pious maidens, and thus was established the first convent in that section. She was offered large gifts of lands, but she only accepted a small garden. Her great holiness made the house famous, and many extraordinary miracles are said to have been performed by her, and she is even said to have received knowledge of the state of souls in the other world. She was often visited by holy men for advice and counsel, and she was said never to be deceived as to who her visitors were, although she might never have seen them before. She led a life of great austerity and foretold her own death some time before, and gave her blessing to all her nuns, the clergy, and the people of Hy-Conaill. Miraculous cures were said to have been effected over her remains, even before burial. Her feast is kept on the 15th of January, she having died on that day in the year 569.
JARLATH SAINT, First Bishop of Tuam, was son of Loga of the noble house of Conmacnie and was born about the year 500. He is said to have been founder of the Cathedral of Tuam, anciently called Tuam-de-Gauland. It was afterwards dedicated to his memory, and is called St. Jarlath's still. Ware says that St.Jarlath was a disciple of Benignus, from whom he received holy orders. He is said to have been fond of field and military sports when a young man and much praised for his skill and sagacity and looked upon as a promising young warrior, if is said also that he was moved to a religious life by a young maiden, the daughter of a neighboring chief, to whom he was deeply attached. She said to him on hearing his declarations of love, "I respect and admire you Jarlath, but I am pledged to be the spouse of Our Divine Master, to His services have I vowed my life and virginity, for to enjoy him in heaven is far preferable to any fleeting vanity of the world. Give your heart to him also, as I have done, and then we may indeed realize in time what love and happiness means." They both embraced religious lives with the hope that they would be united in Heaven. After a regular preparation he received ordination and founded the Monastery of Clounfois, near Tuam. It soon became celebrated as a school of learning, and had for its scholars many holy and learned men, amongst them St. Brendan Abbott, of Clonfert, and St. Column, Bishop, of Cloyne. He afterwards built a Monastery at Tuam, about the year 545. He died about 550. He was author of religious works, and also, it is said, of a prophecy concerning his successors.
KEVIN, SAINT, a holy abbot and bishop who was cotemporary with St. Patrick. He was born in 498 and was baptized by St. Cronan, and placed by his pious parents, who were of high rank under the tuition of a pious Briton, named Petrocus, who came to Ireland to profit by its institutions of learning. He was afterwards under the charge of some holy anchorites, Dogain, Lochan and Euna, with whom he perfected himself in the study of the holy scriptures, after which he took the monastic habit. He subsequently founded the monastery of Glendeloch, which afterwards grew up to be a large and religious city and See and which in 1216 was annexed to Dublin. The situation of this church and abbey is one of the most picturesque that can be imagined, and here still may be seen the ruin of its seven churches, its celebrated school and abbey and the two round towers. Some of the legends regarding this saint are immortalized in verse, especially one by Moore, when the saint flees from the unfortunate love of a beautiful maiden to a dangerous retreat in the side of a cliff over the lake, now called St. Kevin's Bed, and when on awaking from his sleep he finds her looking into his eyes, and impulsively pusuing her away she falls into the lake. St. Kevin lived to a great age, and his school became celebrated and extensive, long before his death. He was succeeded by his nephew, Bishop Tibba. He died in 618, and his festival is kept June 3rd.
KIARAN SAINT, founder of the celebrated Abbey of Clonmacnois, the magnificent ruins of which still attest its greatness. Our saint was born about 514 in the reign of the monarch Tuathal, and belonged to the Sept of the Arads. His father Boetius was a carpenter, and the son for that reason was called Mac Steir— i.e. son of the Artificer. He received his education at the school of St. Finean, University of Clonard. After completing his education St. Kiaran for a time retired to a cell or hut, in a solitary place on the banks of the Shannon, the spot where he afterwards built his great monastery and school of learning. It is said that Diarmid, afterwards Monarch of Ireland, who was a fugitive in his youth, found with our Saint a secure retreat from his enemies, and while here he planned with his protector the future monastery which he vowed to endow when he succeeded to his rights. The monarch fulfilled his promise to the letter, and one of the most celebrated schools and monasteries then in the world arose around the hut of the hermit. In the height of its fame and prosperity it is said to have contained nine churches with two round towers, and over 3,000 students from all parts of the Christian world were within its halls. For a thousand years it was the burial place of kings, and it was extended and enriched by their endowments and monuments many times. It was plundered during the intestine and Danish wars, and afterwards in the Norman invasions, until at last it was utterly ruined by worse than barbaric hands. Our saint died a year after completing his great work in 549, and his feast is kept on the 9th of September, and is yet celebrated with great devotion by pilgrims who still flock to this ancient shrine.
KILIAN, SAINT, apostle of Franconia, was a native of Ireland. He left Ireland with two companions, Colonat, a priest, and Totan, a deacon, and came to Rome, by the way of Flanders and Germany. Having been presented to Pope Conon, and the holy father finding him full of zeal and learning, appointed him to preach the gospel to the infidels of Franconia. Going thither with his companions, he converted the Duke Gospert,- and great numbers of his subjects, and fixed his See at Wirtzburg, of which he was the first bishop. Notker in his martyrology says "In a district of Austria, where stood a castle of New France, nay a city as in the Teutonic dialect, Wirtsburg situate near the river Meuse, signifies the martyrdom of St. Kilianus, the first bishop of that city, and that of his two diciples, Colonatus, a presbyter, and Totanus, a deacon. They came from Ireland, the island of the Scots. By the authority of the apostolic See they preached the gospel to the people of that district," and Cardinal Bellarmini also alludes to him as an Irish monk and apostle of the Eastern Francks. The cause of his martyrdom was that learning that Gospert's wife, whom he married when a pagan, had been his brother's wife, Kilian insisted on a separation, which so enraged the woman that she instigated the assassination of Kilian and his companions, July 8, 689, on which day their feast is kept.
LIVINUS, SAINT and MARTYR, Colgan says he was Bishop of Dublin, and Meyerus calls him Archbishop of Scotia (Ireland). He was of royal descent, and born in Ireland in the reign of Coleman Rimhe. He early embraced a religious life and for some time labored in Britain, and after a few years returned to Ireland and became Bishop of Dublin. He at length left his See in charge of an Arch-Deacon "Syloanus," and went to the continent, where he preached with great zeal and success, converting many. He was put to death by the Pagans, November 12, 633, at Escha, in the low counties. His life was written by Boniface, Archbishop of Mentz. Masseus and Molandus in the Lives of the Saints of Flanders' give similar accounts, and Bale speaks of his writings. Benedict XIV, in a decree dated July 1st, 1747 calls him Bishop of Dublin.
James O'Brien, Irish Celts: a cyclopedia of race history, containing biographical sketches of more than fifteen hundred distinguished Irish Celts, with a chronological index, (Detroit, 1884).
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- Irish Saints of October
- Irish Saints of November
- Irish Saints of December
- Mass of All Saints of Ireland (1962 Missal)
- Litany of All Saints of Ireland (1921)
- Lent with the Irish Saints
- Notes on Homonymous Saints
- Notes on the Life of Saint Brendan