Monday 22 September 2014

Saint Colmán of Midhe-Iseal, September 22

September 22 is the feast day of one of the many saints named Colman to be found in the Irish calendars. This particular Saint Colmán is identified by both his patronym and his locality but Canon O'Hanlon was unable to bring any further details:
St. Colman, Son of Cathbhadh, of Midhe-iseal. 
At the 22nd of September, the Martyrology of Tallagh records a festival to honour Colman, son of Cathbhadh, of Midisiul. The O'Clerys state, that Aighlenn, daughter of Lenin, was his mother. That his parents had well fulfilled their duties towards their son seems to admit of little doubt. With the other saints venerated on this day, Marianus O'Gorman calls on godly, pure-coloured Colman, son of Cathbad, to help us. The commentator adds, that he belonged to Midhisiul, interpreted Lower Meath. At the same date, the Martyrology of Donegal has an entry of Colman, son of Cathbhadh, from Mide isiul.
Modern scholarship, however, has more to say of this saint. Professor Pádraig Ó Riain's 2011 Dictionary of Irish Saints identifies a Columban association for Saint Colmán and says that he features in the Life of Saint Colum Cille by Saint Adamnan. Midhe-Iseal, modern Myshall, County Carlow is not his only associated locality, for he is also linked to Slanore, County Cavan and to Ros Glanna, County Tyrone.  Nor is September 22 his only feast day for he is credited with another commemoration on September 6. If that weren't enough he is described in the calendars at September 6 as the son of Eochaidh rather than Cathbhadh. Thus, what initially appeared to be a case of just another obscure saint about whom Canon O'Hanlon struggled to write more than a few lines, is actually more complex. I propose therefore to follow up on the Columban references and bring a fresh account of the saint on his other feast day of September 6. In the meantime I can only echo the call of Marianus O'Gorman: godly, pure-coloured Colman, son of Cathbad, to help us!

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