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Diarmaid, Saint

Two Irish saints

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Diarmaid, Saint, b. in Ireland, date unknown; d. in 851 or 852. He was made Archbishop of Armagh in 834, but was driven from his see by the usurper Foraunan in 835. However, he claimed his rights and collected his cess in Connacht, in 836, as primate. He lived in a stormy age, as the Scandinavian rovers under Turgesius seized Armagh, in 841, and levelled the churches. The “Annals of Ulster” (ed. B. Mc-Carthy, Dublin, 1887, I, 361) describe him as “the wisest of the doctors of Europe“. His feast is celebrated April 24.

Saint DIARMAID, surnamed the Just, 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 Diocese 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. 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 January 10. 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.


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