Monday 27 October 2014

Saint Colman of Seanbotha, October 27

October 27 is the feastday of yet another Irish Saint Colman, this one associated with the locality of Sean Botha, which the great 19th-century scholar John O'Donovan identified as the present day Templeshanbo, County Wexford. Father Jerome Fahey gives the following account of Saint Colman in his diocesan history of Kilmacduagh:

In the Martyrology of Donegal we find the following notice of St Colman Hy Fiachrach: "Colman Ua Fiachrach of Sean Botha in Ui Ceansealaigh. He is of the race of Fiachra." We find a supplementary notice of the Saint, which casts much additional light on his descent, in the Customs of Hy Fiachrach.

Here we are told that his mother was Fearamhla, sixth in descent from Dathy, and fifth from Fochaid Breac, ancestor of St. Colman Mac Duagh. "And she was the mother of St. Colman, the son of Elochaid, who is, i.e, lies, interred at Sean Bhotach in Hy Censiolaigh." And in the Martyrology of Donegal it is added, " He is of the race of Fiachra." We also find, on the same authority, that the "three O'Suanaighs," memorable amongst our early Saints, were his brothers, as were also St Aodhan of Cluain Eochaille and St Dichlethe O'Triallaigh.

We find in the life of St Maidoc, that he was a contemporary of St Colman of Kilmacduagh. St. Colman Ua Fiachrach was therefore a contemporary as well as a kinsman of Guaire, King of Connaught It is therefore not improbable that he may have built his church at Kinvara for the convenience of his pious relative and his court He afterwards became abbot of the monastery at Seanbotha, in which he was interred.

The church of Seanbotha is identified by O'Donovan as that now called Temple-Shambo, "which is situated at the foot of Mount Leinster, in the barony of Scarawalsh and county of Wexford." The monastery of Temple-Shambo was probably founded by himself. His festival was observed there on the 27th October, the exact date on which his feast is fixed in the Martyrology of Donegal.

Rev. J. Fahey, The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh (Dublin, 1893), 31.

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