Wednesday, 27 January 2016

St Noe of Finglas, January 27

January 27 is the commemoration of a County Dublin saint, Noe of Finglas. In a paper entitled 'Finglas' read to the Old Dublin Society on October 13, 1971, Michael J Tutty summarised the early history of the locality and its associated saints :
It was from the heights of Finglas, tradition tells us that, that St. Patrick looking down on the small settlement variously known as Baile Atha Cliath or Dubh Linn, prophesised that it would one day be a great city, that it would be the capital of Ireland. St. Patrick apparently, did not set up a church at Finglas but a well associated with his name was venerated in the area for centuries and was even "adopted" by an eighteenth century quack who endeavoured to capitalise on the reputed healing powers of its waters. Finglas was the site of a Celtic abbey which has been associated with Saint Canice, Feast October 11th, and who is more particularly associated with Kilkenny.  The saint studied at the famous school conducted by Saint Moibhí on the banks of the Polka river at nearby Glasnevin and which flourished in the 6th and 7th centuries. Little is known of this Celtic foundation at Finglas beyond the recording of the names of no less than five saints associated with it: Saint Flann (f. January 21), St Noe (f. January 27), St Dubhlitir (f. May 15), and St. Faelchu (f. September 24). St Dubhlitir is said to have been abbot of Finglas being succeeded by Flann who is recorded as having been a bishop,  a scribe and an anchorite. It is probable that the abbey at Finglas ceased to exist during the reign of the norsemen by whom it was plundered.  
The name is derived from the Irish Fionn Glass meaning a clear stream, from the rivulet which runs through the one-time village and joins the Polka at Finglas Bridge .........

Michael J. Tutty 'Finglas' in Dublin Historical Record Vol. 26, No. 2 (Mar., 1973), pp. 66-73.

Thus it seems that we have no further information about our saint's career, even though at one time Finglas was a sufficiently important monastic foundation to have the deaths of at least some of its abbots noted in the Irish Annals. Canon O'Hanlon has but a couple of lines to contribute, I will only add that the information about Saint Noe's burial in the old cemetery is derived from the seventeenth-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan:

St. Noe, of Finglas, County of Dublin.

In the Martyrologies of Tallagh and Donegal, we find entered on this day, Noe of Finnghlais. This village lies about two miles north of Dublin city. In that ancient cemetery adjoining his remains probably rest, and in some unnoted grave.


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