Wednesday 27 May 2015

Saint Commaigh of Snamha Luthair, May 27

May 27 is the commemoration of a female saint, Commaigh of Snamha Luthair. It seems that she is a member of an aristocratic family which produced a number of saints. Earlier scholars argued that the locality where this holy woman flourished was in County Sligo, but Canon O'Hanlon prefers to locate Saint Commaigh in County Cavan:

St. Commaigh, Comagia, or Comaigh, Virgin, of Snawlooher, or Slanore, County of Cavan. [Sixth or Seventh Century.]

At this date, the Martyrology of Tallagh records the name of this holy virgin, under the designation Commaigh, daughter of Eachdach, of Snamha luthair. The Bollandists have also a like entry, at the 27th of May, for Comagia of Snam-Luthir. It appears, that this holy virgin was daughter of Eochaidh, her father, and Aigleann or Ailgend, her mother. She was fifth in descent, by the father's side, from Laeghaire, monarch of Ireland, in the time of St. Patrick. Her father was son to Ailill, son of Guaire, son to Lughaidh, son of King Laeghaire. Her brothers were St. Fintan, St. Lughaidh, and St. Coluin. Besides these uterine brothers, her father had been married to Ligach Bredmainech, by whom he had St. Fursey, St. Nainnidh, and St. Muiredach. The monastery at Snam-luthir had been founded, by the brother of St. Comaigh, a holy man named Columbanus, or Golman. It was supposed, by Colgan, that Snam-Luthir had been identical with a monastery, founded at Garbre Gabhra, otherwise Carbre Mor, in the maritime part of northern Connaught, and by a certain Columbanus, a holy man, who was son to Echad. In like manner, the Rev. Mervyn Archdall and Rev. Dr. Lanigan say, that Snam luthir was a monastery, in the present barony of Carbury, and county of Sligo. Another name for this territory is said to have been Carbremhor or Carbre Droma-Cliabh. This opinion has been most generally received. However, that place has been identified, by other writers—and notably by Rev. Dr. Reeves —with Snawlooher, or Slanore, a townland in the parish of Kilmore, barony of Upper Loughtee, and county of Cavan. Not a vestige of the old monastery now remains. There, however, various remains of mortality have been discovered, and it would seem the ancient religious foundation stood, also, some where about the beginning of the seventh century. St. Coluin, the brother of our saint, appears also to have lived—at least for a time—in this place... An abbey's site is shown in a field, which is called the Abbey-field, in the western part of Snawlooher or Slanore townland. This contains about 130 acres, and it is situated a little south from Lough Oughter, on the west side of Kilmore parish. It appears, furthermore, that Cairbre Gabhra is now represented, by the modern barony of Granard, in the northeastern part of Longford County; while, this territory must have proceeded still farther towards the north, so as to include a considerable portion of Upper Loughtee, in the county of Cavan, since Snamh-luthir, Snawlougher, or Slanore, was within it. Veneration was given on this day, to Comaigh, Virgin, of Snamh Luthair, as we find entered, in the Martyrology of Donegal.

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