CELT document T402577

The saints of Munster brought it about well


Tugsad naoimh Mumhan go maith

Edited by Luke McInerney

Whole text


    Poem on the saints of Munster

  1. The saints of Munster of the seed of fair and prosperous Conaire brought it about well, so as for me to be, yonder in their house, their preacher and their master.
  2. They brought it all under one head, authority from king and over-king, the authority of the chieftains and their women, to glorify them or to bring them into great decline.
  3. Firm Crónán without house brought it about, as did Flannán son of Toirdhealbhach and Mochuille, as he ought, and Coimhghiollán and Fínghin. 1
  4. Dodhrán of Doora brought it about for me, as did excellent and fair Laichtín. Mochonna, above everyone else, brought it about, as did Caimín of Inishcaltra. 2
  5.  p.20
  6. Fearless Luchtighearn brought it about for me, as did Conall son of Domhnall, Maol Eala and Blathmhac, who was not weak, together with Éinne of Aran. 3
  7. Ruadhán brought it about for me through [?], as did the grandson of Suanach, Mainchín, who used to come into their presence, brought it about, as did pleasant Fíonán and Neasán. 4
  8.  p.21
  9. The son of Aoibhléan brought it about, as did Bréanainn son of Fionnlugh, The son of [F]aircheallach brought it about from his house, as did great Ailbhe from Imleach. 5
  10. The daughter of Baoth brought it about, as did Mughain, Sárnaid and Subhalach. Fursa did so, as did clever Ríceall, Soidhealbh and Fíonmhaith. 6
  11.  p.22
  12. All these saints that I've enumerated here made complaint to me about Leath Mogha's legate-ship being in bondage to Finnian of Clonard. 7
  13.  p.55
  14. I went on a journey that was not easy, accompanied by a thousand saints; it was without the leave of powerful Leath Chuinn that I brought the cross from the North.
    Their Saints Brought …

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): The saints of Munster brought it about well

Title (original, Irish): Tugsad naoimh Mumhan go maith

Author: unknown

Editor: Luke McInerney

Responsibility statement

translated by : Pádraig Ó Riain

Rendered into TEI-XML by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: University College Cork.

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 3730 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2013

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: T402577

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only. CELT is very grateful to Luke McInerney, Pádraig Ó Riain, and the editor of Seanchas Ardmhacha, Mgr. Réamonn Ó Muirí for their permission to make this text available on CELT.

Source description

Manuscript sources for the Irish text

  1. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 L 11, p. 263, written (copied) in 1780 by Antony O'Brien in 1780 in Dunaha Chapel and at Querrin'. The manuscript was completed on 25 September 1780.
  2. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 E 23, p. 86.
  3. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 3 B 2, p. 29.
  4. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 C 29, p. 259.
  5. Maynooth, Russell Library, MS C 41, p. 66, written (copied) by Aindrias Mac Cruitín, completed 1721. This manuscript was written for Éamonn Ó Maolruanaigh and his wife 'Seabhán'.
  6. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 E 23, fo. 86, copied by Micheál Óg Ó Hannracháin of Ballykett near Kilrush, completed in 1833.
  7. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS RIA 3 B 2, fo. 29m, written by Micheál Ó Rághailliodh. This manuscript was written between 1841 and 1846, and completed at Inis Diomáin (Ennistymon).

Internet Links

  1. Luke McInerney has a webpage with further articles (including the full text of this one) on http://independent.academia.edu/LukeMcInerney.
  2. You will find more information on bardic poetry in general, and in particular, on Dr Katherine Simms' Irish Poetry Database hosted at http://www.bardic.celt.dias.ie.

Literature mentioned in the footnotes

  1. John O'Donovan, Ordnance Survey Letters: The Antiquities of County Clare (Ennis: CLASP Press, 2003) 182.
  2. Rev. Philip Dwyer, The Diocese of Killaloe from the Reformation to the Eighteenth Century (Dublin: Hodges, Foster & Figgis, 1878.
  3. Thomas Johnson Westropp, The Churches of County Clare, and the Origin of the Ecclesiastical Divisions in that County, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1900, 100–176; 109.
  4. Dermot F. Gleeson, 'The Patron Saint of Dromcliffe', Molua, 1958, 46–47.
  5. Raghnall Ó Floinn, 'Two ancient bronze bells from Rath Blathmach, Co. Clare', North Munster Antiquarian Journal, 32 (1990) 19–29.
  6. Luke McInerney, 'A Note on the Uí Mhaoir of Drumcliff, Co. Clare', Other Clare, 35 (2011) 26–29).
  7. Pádraig Ó Riain, A dictionary of Irish Saints (Dublin 2011), 526–531 (with bibliography).
  8. Luke McInerney, 'A note on the Uí Chiaróg clerical lineage of Rathbláthmaic', Other Clare, 36 (2012).

The edition used in the digital edition

‘A poem on the saints of Munster’ (2012). In: Seanchas Ardmhacha‍ 24:1. Ed. by Réamonn Ó Muirí. 10–22: 19–22.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {Luke McInerney},
  title 	 = {A poem on the saints of Munster},
  journal 	 = {Seanchas Ardmhacha},
  editor 	 = {Réamonn Ó~Muirí},
  address 	 = {Armagh},
  publisher 	 = {Cumann Seanchas Ardmhacha (Armagh Diocesan Historical Society)},
  date 	 = {2012},
  volume 	 = {24:1},
  note 	 = {10–22: 19–22}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The translation presented here is mainly based on Antony O'Brien's 1780 transcription, though in some parts it relies on Mac Cruitín's 1721 copy. The CELT edition covers pp ///–/// and incorporates the editor's footnotes. The English translation is available in a separate file on CELT. Details contained in the editor's notes concerning individual saints, unless otherwise indicated, are from Pádraig Ó Riain's Dictionary of Irish Saints (see above for details).

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text was proofed by the editor, and checked and proof-read once at CELT.

Normalization: The electronic texts represents the edited text. Manuscript foliation is not given (the edition being based on two manuscripts).

Quotation: There are no quotation marks.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, the page-break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.

Segmentation: div0=the poem.

Standard values: There are no dates within the poem.

Interpretation: Names of persons, groups or places are not tagged.

Profile description

Creation: The translation was created in 2012. For the date of the Irish poem please refer to file G402577.

Date: 2012

Language usage

  • The poem in Classical Modern Irish. (ga)
  • Editorial footnotes are in English. (en)

Keywords: bardic poetry; history; saints; 18c; Munster; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2013-03-19: Pagination checked; file parsed and validated. SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2013-03-19: File proofed (1). (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2013-03-15: File converted to XML; structural and some content markup applied; TEI header created; footnotes added and encoded; file parsed. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2013-02-18: Donated the text, from an article published in Seanchas Ardmhacha. (donation Luke McInerney)

Index to all documents

Standardisation of values

  • There are no dates within the poem.

CELT Project Contacts



For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Other languages

G402577: Tugsad naoimh Mumhan go maith (in Irish)

Source document


Search CELT

  1. This is Crónán of Tuamgraney in the barony of Tulla, Co. Clare and he gave his name to the nearby parish of Inchicronan. There is a tradition that Inis Iobhthonn, an island in the vicinity of Limerick, was donated to Crónán as well as to St Mainchín. An alternative reference for this Crónán could be Crónán of Roscrea in the barony of Ikerrin in Co. Tipperary where he had an obit of 665. Flannán was the most important of the Dál gCais saints and revered by the Uí Bhriain as a direct ancestor. Flannán is thought to have flourished in the mid-eighth century though his date of death is uncertain. His Life reveals that Flannán was sent to Blathmac of Ráthblathmaic in Inchiquin barony in Co. Clare to be taught, only to return to Killaloe where he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome. On his reception back in Ireland Flannán's father Toirdhelbhach forsook worldly goods and retired to a monastery at Lismore. Flannán gave his name to Killaspuglonane near Ennistymon in northwest Co. Clare. Mochuille of Tulla in Co. Clare is one of two saints in the poem with a Tulla barony provenance. The other is Mochonna. Mochuille was genealogically connected to the Uí Rónghaile lineage of Tulla. There are around thirteen known holy wells dedicated to Mochuille in Co. Clare parishes and he was regarded as a brother to Seanán Liath, patron of Kiltenanlea. An inquisition held in 1627 referred to the book of Mochuille in determining the extent of Tearmon Tulla, part of which had been alienated to a branch of the Meic Conmara who held the rectorship of Tulla in the late fourteenth century (viz. RIA MS 24 D 17, pp.45–46.). Coimhghiollán was the daughter of Earnach, reputedly the mother of St Seanán of Inis Cathaigh. Coimhghiollán (Coimhgheall) was of the Alltraighe people from north Co. Kerry. In R.W. Twigge's translation of the poem he incorrectly transcribes this name as “Caringiollan”. Fínghin was associated with Quin, Templemaley and Kilraghtis parishes in Upper Bunratty barony, Co. Clare. Little is known about Fínghin, although he is the patron of the parish church at Quin. The church is situated across the Rine River from Quin Friary, which was built on the site of a Norman castle. St Fínghin's church was burnt in 1278 by Donnchadh, the son of Brian Ruadh Ó Briain, where they inflicted a defeat on De Clare and burnt the church over the heads of English (viz. <title type="book" TEIform="title">Annals of Loch Cé, sub anno</title>, 1278). By 1839 there was no local memory of Fínghin in Quin. 🢀

  2. Dodhrán was associated with Doora parish near Ennis. When John O'Donovan visited Doora in 1839 he noted that while Dodhrán's memory was celebrated on the 3 November and that a holy well dedicated to the saint located a quarter of a mile east of Doora church, he was far from convinced that the parish name was derived from the saint. Rather, O'Donovan suggested that “Duran” was a fabricated name from Dú (dobhar), “water”. However, a “Dorani episcopi” is mentioned in Grevenus of Cologne's version of the Martyrology of Usuard which lends credence to the view that Dodhrán was in fact a local saint. Laichtín, of Freshford in Co. Kilkenny, was celebrated in Co. Clare where the reliquary of his arm was kept until the mid-seventeenth century in the parish of Kilnamona. It appears that he died in the 620s. (viz. T. J. Westropp, <title type="article" TEIform="title">The Churches of County Clare, and the Origin of the Ecclesiastical Divisions in that County</title>, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1900, pp. 100–176, p. 109). Mochonna was associated with the parish of Feakle in Tulla barony in east Co. Clare. It was believed that Feakle, or Fiacail meaning “tooth”, was derived from the saint losing his tooth there. An alternative translation is Fiodh choill, meaning “wild wood”. The poem refers to “Mochonna seach gach neach” (“Mochonna above everyone else”) which may, perhaps, support a Feakle provenance for the poem. (viz. John O'Donovan, Ordnance Survey Letters: The Antiquities of County Clare, CLASP Press, Ennis, 2003, p.182). Caimín of Inishcaltra was said to be the founder of the church on Holy Island. The annals place Caimín's death in 651. In one genealogical tract his mother is given as Cuman, an aunt of the well-known Co. Clare saint, Inghean Bhaoith.  🢀

  3. Luchtighearn of Tomfinlough was said to have belonged to the Tradraighe whose territory is almost coterminous with the barony of Bunratty Lower. Luchtighearn is said to have been the founder of the monastic site at Tomfinlough of which little remains of the original foundation, with the exception of three stone heads that are extant in the doorway of the ancient church, on the southeast parameter of Tomfinlough church. Luchtighearn flourished in the seventh century and was a contemporary of Mac Reithe (Mac Creiche). The church at Drumcliffe in the barony of the Islands in Co. Clare was an old monastic site whose coarbs were the Uí Mhaoir, and was also known as ecclesia sancti Conaldi. Little else is known about Conall, but other saints in Ireland share the same name, making identification difficult. Conall of Drumcliffe was probably also the patron of the church of Kilconnell in Kilmacreehy in northwest Co. Clare (viz. Dermot F. Gleeson, <title type="article" TEIform="title">The Patron Saint of Dromcliffe</title>, <title type="book" TEIform="title">Molua</title>, 1958, pp. 46–47, p.46; Luke McInerney, <title type="article" TEIform="title">A Note on the Uí Mhaoir of Drumcliff, Co. Clare</title>, Other Clare, Vol. 35, 2011, pp. 26–29). Little is known about Maol Eala (or Maeleala) but he appears to have been from northwest Co. Clare. He features in Mac Reithe's Life and assisted in expelling a water-monster in the locality. Neither his feast day nor any church dedications to him are known. Blathmac of Rathbláthmaic, Co. Clare, features in the Life of Flannán where he taught Flannán at Rathbláthmaic monastery. The hereditary clerical lineage, the Uí Chiaróg who held lands at Rathbláthmaic until the 1660s, were said to be of the same tribal grouping of Blathmac. The crozier-head of Blathmac was purchased from the Rev. Stephen Walsh, parish priest of Corofin for £5 in 1850 and is now at the National Museum. The two bronze bells of Rathbláthmaic were purchased at the same time by the Royal Irish Academy. (viz. Luke McInerney, <title type="article" TEIform="title">A note on the Uí Chiaróg clerical lineage of Rathbláthmaic</title>, Other Clare, Vol. 36, 2012 [forthcoming]; Raghnall Ó Floinn, <title type="article" TEIform="title">Two ancient bronze bells from Rath Blathmach, Co. Clare</title>, North Munster Antiquarian Journal, Vol. XXXII, 1990, pp.19–29, p. 19). Éinne of Inishmore is the best known saint from the Aran Islands and there are numerous dedications to him in holy wells and churches, including Éinne's church on Aran and Killeany in the Burren. 🢀

  4. Ruadhán of Lorrha in Lower Ormond, Co. Tipperary, probably shared kinship with the ruling Eoghanacht of Cashel. Some of the earliest texts which refer to Ruadhán date from the period 750–850, confirming his importance and also that of church at Lorrha which developed into an important ecclesiastical site. The Irish annals place his death as 584. The reference to Suanach may refer to the Uí Shuanaigh lineage who, as a group, produced several saints and anchorites in north Connacht. It appears that the representative of the Uí Shuanaigh clerical lineage of Tearmonn Uí Shuanaigh in the parish of Kilmacduagh, Co. Galway, is the individual called upon in this poem. Mainchín is a well-known saint associated with St Munchin parish near Limerick. He was of the Dál gCais and was granted King's Island near Limerick city. Fíonán Cam (Cam, bent/squint-eyed) was associated with various locations, including Innisfallen in Co. Kerry. Texts refer to his activities in Co. Kerry and he was supposedly educated by another Co. Kerry saint, Bréanainn of Clonfert. Neasán of Mungret in Pubblebrien, Co. Limerick first appears in the texts of the ninth century <title TEIform="title">Tripartite Life of St Patrick</title> where it is stated that Neasán met St Patrick when a child and was baptized by him. Neasán's church at Mungret achieved prominence before the twelfth century, but declined in influence thereafter, on account of not attaining cathedral status. Rather, that status went to St Mary's church in Limerick whose cathedral status was confirmed at the 1111 Synod of Rathbrassil. 🢀

  5. This is Mocheallóg the son of Aoibhléan of Inch in the barony of Corkaguiny, Co. Cork. Mocheallóg was associated with the church Inisvickillane (Inis Mhic Aoibhléan) in Co. Kerry. Kilmallock in Co. Limerick is thought by some to have been originally derived from Mocheallóg of Co. Kerry. Bréanainn of Clonfert in Co. Galway, is noted for his famous voyage which was preserved in translation in many manuscript sources throughout Europe. Bréanainn's association with Co. Clare occurred when, on his return from his famous voyage, he was brought to Inishdadroum (Inis Dá Dhroma), an island in the Shannon estuary in Killadysert parish, where he founded a monastery. It is probably no coincidence that Inishdadroum retained rectory status down to the seventeenth century and that the Augustinian canons founded an important priory on Canon Island (Inisgad), a large island next to Inishdadroum. Bréanainn's death is placed toward the end of the sixth century. (viz. Rev. Philip Dwyer, The Diocese of Killaloe from the Reformation to the Eighteenth Century, Hodges, Foster & Figgis, Dublin, 1878, p.163). The son of [F]aircheallach was Flann of Derrynaflan in the parish of Graystown, barony of Slievardagh, Co. Tipperary. Flann apparently was associated with the ascetic céili Dé movement and died in 825. Ailbhe is an important saint associated with Emly (Imleach Iobhair) in Clanwilliam barony in Co. Tipperary. Ailbhe is credited with evangelizing Munster and was associated with the Co. Clare saint, Mac Reithe (Mac Creiche), who was his pupil and also Neasán of Mungret. Ailbhe's death is placed at 534. 🢀

  6. The daughter of Baoth, more commonly known as Inghean Bhaoith of Killinaboy in Co. Clare, features as an important saint. Her church at Killinboy contains a Sheila-na-gig above the doorway, perhaps in veneration to either a female deity or to Inghean Bhaoith and her cult. Local devotion to the saint remained strong into the nineteenth century when Ordnance Survey officials recorded that a popular name in the district for females had been “Innerwee”. (viz. John O'Donovan, Ordnance Survey Letters: The Antiquities of County Clare, p.12). Mughain of Lyons in Co. Kildare was said to have been baptized by St Patrick along with other family members. Mughain is connected to Co. Clare through her namesake Kilmoon parish in the Burren. It is probably deliberate that Mughain and Ingheann Bhaoith, as female saints, both feature on the same line in the poem. Sárnad (or Suanach) is regarded as a female saint associated with north Connacht. However, Suanach may have had an association with Kilmacduagh where a saint named Sórnach is identified, perhaps suggesting the same saint. At any rate, an association with Kilmacduagh would place her closer to the Galway-Clare border and perhaps for the reason of geographical affinity she is recalled in this poem. Subhalaid or Subhalach gave his name to Kiltolagh in Carrowkeel More townland in the parish of Inchicronan, Co. Clare. The identification of Subhalach by Twigge and his belief that Subhalach was the patron of Kilnasoolagh in Co. Clare appears one of the reasons for his attempted translation of this poem. Elsewhere in his antiquarian notes, Twigge refers to Subhalach as “patron of the parish of Cell-Subhalaid, and titular of Cell-Subhalaid in the parish of Inis-Cronain”. Cell-Subhalaid was regarded by some as the Irish form of Kilnasoolagh, though the etymological origin of the name confounded scholar Eugene O'Curry who, writing on Kilnasoolagh in 1839, noted that “the present name of this Parish with the Irish speaking peasantry is Cill-á-na-Súla, and tho' this is evidently a corruption, still it is very difficult to say what the true original form of the name”. O'Curry goes on to state that “there are three instances of the name as Cill-Subhalighe [i.e. in the <title type="tale" TEIform="title">Cathréim Thoirdhealbhaigh</title>], that is, the Church of Saint Subhalach, while there is but one instance of Cill-ó-na-Suileach, a name which I do not understand and which of course I could not translate; therefore, I am of opinion that Cill Subhalach is the proper name.” It would appear that only in the instance of Cill-ó-na-Suileach that this is a reference to Kilnasoolagh and more closely accords with the view that the correct form is Ceall Átha na Súlach. The other references are to Kiltolagh in Inchicronan. Little else is known about Subhalach but we may presume that he was probably a local anchorite that lived sometime prior to the twelfth century, perhaps around Inchicronan. Fursa of Killursa, barony of Clare in Co. Galway was mentioned by the Saxon ecclesiastical writer, Bede, who provided an account of Fursa's life and his travel to England where he founded a church in East Anglia before moving to Gaul (France) where he established the monastery of Lagny. Fursa's cult was popular in Ireland and abroad and in other texts he is mentioned in connection to curses on those who infringed on the boundary of Inis Cathaigh. Fursa died in 650 in Gaul. Ríceall (or Ríceann) is said to have been a female ancestor of Clann Mhic Chonmara and patron of Clooney parish. Clooney parish comprised the ancient territory of Clann Mhic Chonmara known as Uí Chaisín, or Bunratty Upper in modern times. When John O'Donovan visited the district in 1839 he recalled a local rhyme which credited local saints with various foundations, including Ríceall who was known locally under the diminutive form Rícín: “Mochuille a tTulaigh, Mochunna sa bhFiacail, Finghín Chúinche, is Rícín Chluaine.” (viz. John O'Donovan, Ordnance Survey Letters: The Antiquities of County Clare, p. 225). Little is known about Soidhealbh and there are various possibilities as to her identity. However, a Munster/Desmond origin is probably given the context of the poem here, and hence she may have been a sister of a female saint named Ceillseach and associated with Áth na gCeall, a site in the townland of Gortnagross in the parish of Ballyclogh in Co. Cork. Fionaith, also known as Fíonmhaith is recorded as the actual name of Inghean Bhaoith of Killinaboy, though there remains some uncertainty with this point. At any rate, it appears that that Inghean Bhaoith may have been called upon twice in the poem; in the first instance as Inghean Bhaoith, and secondly as Fíonmhaith. Fíonmhaith is referred to again in the same manuscript transcribed by Aindrias Mac Cruitín in 1721 where, following <title type="poem" TEIform="title">Tugsad naoimh mumhan go maith</title>, another text begins <title type="poem" TEIform="title">Fionnmhaith inghean Bhaodh</title>🢀

  7. Finnian of Clonard in Co. Meath was patron of one of the most important churches in early medieval Ireland. Probably for this reason he features prominently in this poem and that the churches of southern Ireland were in “bondage” to Finnian of Clonard. Finnian had connections with the important monastic site of Terryglass in Co. Tipperary where he was reputed a teacher of Colum of Terryglass. Finnian is credited with founding many churches on his journey into Connacht and the saint died sometime in the late sixth century. 🢀


2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork