Gobban Saer, regarded in traditional lore as the greatest Irish architect of the seventh century, and popularly canonized as St. Gobban; b. at Turvey, near Malahide, Co. Dublin, about 560. He was employed by many Irish saints to build churches, oratories, and bell-towers, and he is alluded to in an eighth-century Irish poem, now in a monastery in Carinthia. So wonderful are the stories told of this great master-builder that many writers have gone so far as to regard him as a mythical personage, but he undoubtedly must be classed as an historical figure. He was much in advance of his time as an architect, and received commissions all over Ireland. In the “Life of St. Abban” it is prophetically said that “the fame of Gobban as a builder in wood as well as stone would exist in Ireland to the end of time.” Certain it is that even at the present day innumerable stories in the Irish tongue are still current of the Gobban Saer, or Gobban the Builder. He lived into the first half of the seventh century, or even later, according to some writers, but he labored as late as 645.
W. H. GRATTAN-FLOOD