Thursday 4 September 2014

Saint Cummein of Drumsnat, September 4

September 4 is the commemoration of Saint Cummein, abbot of the County Monaghan monastery of Drumsnat. Drumsnat was one of the foundations of Saint Molua and seems to have been an important intellectual centre. The major Irish manuscript collections such as the Book of Leinster and the Book of the Dun Cow refer to a now-lost Book of Drumsnat, which was presumably composed at this monastery. It may be too that the Life of the founder, Molua, was also written there. I intend to look further into the history of this foundation as it seems to be one of the Irish monasteries whose early reputation later faded into complete obscurity. The place now anglicized as Drumsnat was in Irish called Druim Snechta, the 'snowy ridge'. When Saint Cummein succeeded as abbot seems to be unknown, Canon O'Hanlon in his entry from The Lives of the Irish Saints believes that he is the same individual as a Saint Cummein, with the patronymic 'son of Cuanna' commemorated on September 1. I will therefore begin with the entry from September 1 and then move to that of September 4:

St. Cuimmen, Son of Cuanna, or Cuanach, probably Abbot of Druim-Snechta, now Drumsnat, County of Monaghan.

To us it seems very probable, that the present holy man was not distinct from a saint bearing the same appellation, and said to have been venerated on the 4th of this month, at Drumsnat, County of Monaghan. The name of Cuimmen, son of Cuana, or Cuanach, occurs in the Martyrologies of Tallagh, of Marianus O'Gorman, and of Donegal, at the 1st of September.

St. Cummein, Abbot of Drumsnat, County of Monaghan.

From what has been already stated at the 1st of this month, it seems probable, that the present saint may be identified with St. Cuimmen, son of Cuanna or Cuanach. The published Martyrology of Tallagh inserts a festival at the the 4th of September, in honour of Comen, Abbot of Droma Sneachta. That copy of it in the Book of Leinster contains a nearly similar insertion. This place is probably identical with Drumsnat, in Farney. Fearnmhagh was the ancient name of this district. It is said to mean "the Alder Plain;" and, it was the old Irish denomination for the barony of Farney, in the County of Monaghan. The Martyrology of Donegal likewise registers Cummein, as Abbot of Druim Sneachta, and at this date.

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