Monday, 4 August 2014

Saint Midnat of Killucan, August 4

August 4 is the commemoration of an important Irish monastic founder, Saint Molua of Clonfert-Molua. Saint Molua shares his feastday with a rather less well-known saint, Midnat of Killucan. Canon O'Hanlon outlines some of the difficulties in identifying this saint and her (his?) locality below:

St. Midnat or Miodhnat, said to be of Killucan, County of Westmeath.

In Colgan's opinion Midgnat is the name of a woman. At the 4th of August, the Martyrologies of Tallagh and of Marianus O'Gorman register a festival in honour of Midnat, Cille Lucinne or Kill-liuchaine. This must be Anglicized Killucan. There is notice of a disciple belonging to St. Patrick, and called Midgna, whom he placed in a hermitage called Disert Phadrig, while near it was a fountain and a church, at a place called Cros Phadruig, in the western part of Ireland. A St. Midgna is found, also, among the sons of Darerca, the sister to St. Patrick. Colgan seemed to doubt if this saint might not be identical with the present, or another similarly named, at the 18th of November. There is a townland bearing the name of Killucan, in the parish of Kildress, barony of Upper Dungannon, and County of Tyrone; as also one in a parish of the same name, barony of Farbill, and County of Westmeath. There are likewise two Killukin townlands, in two distinct parishes of the same name. Both lie in the barony of Roscommon; one Killukin within the barony of Boyle, and the other within that of Roscommon barony.

The Martyrology of Donegal has the simple entry of Miodhnat, at this same date. The local historian of the Diocese of Meath state, that the present saint belonged to Killucan of Killucquin, in the barony of Farrbill, a few miles east of Mullingar, and in the County of Westmeath. Although probable enough, this identification does not appear to be absolutely certain. It seems likely, that a second festival of this saint had been observed, on the 18th of November.

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