January 10 – St. Diarmaid the Just

January 6, 2022

The ruins of Inchcleraun Monastery. Photo by AndreasDelp.

A famous Irish confessor of the mid-sixth century; d. 542. His name is associated with the great monastery of Inisclothran (Iniscleraun) on Lough Ree, in the Dioeese of Ardagh, which he founded about the year 530. He was of princely origin and a native of Connacht. Wishing to found an oratory far from the haunts of men, he selected the beautiful but lonely island associated with the memory of Queen Meave, now known as Quaker Island. Here his fame soon attracted disciples, and among them St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise.

Stained glass window of St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoi at St. Brendan’s Church in County Offaly, Ireland. Photo by Andreas F. Borchert.

He was not only a good teacher, but also a distinguished writer and poet. On the island seven churches are traditionally said to have been erected, and the traces of six are still in evidence, including Teampul Diarmada, or the church of St. Diarmaid, the saint’s own church an oratory eight feet by seven. His feast is celebrated 10 January. After his death the monastic school kept up its reputation for fully six centuries, and the island itself was famous for pilgrimages in pre-Reformation days.

Martyrology of Donegal (Dublin, 1864); O’HANLON, Lives ot the Irish Saints (Dublin 1875), IV, 476; I, 152; STUART, History of Armagh, ed. COLEMAN (Dublin, 1900); Acta SS., April, III; COLGAN, Acta SS. Hiberniae (LOUVAIN, 1645); BIGGER, Inis clothrarann, its History and Antiquities (Dublin, 1900); STOKES AND STRACHAN, Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (Cambridge, 1903).

W. H. Grattan-Flood (Catholic Encylopedia)

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