Thursday 3 September 2015

Saint Colman of Kilclonfert, September 3

September 3 is the commemoration of a Saint Colman and a degree of confusion seems to have arisen over the name of his locality, with some sources calling it Druim ferta and others Cluain ferta. The translator of the later Martyrology of Donegal notes that at Druim 'The word Droma is written as a gloss over Cluain, meaning that we should read Drumfert, not Clonfert, here.' Canon O'Hanlon suggests that the place is now the parish of Kilclonfert, County Offaly, which was known as King's County prior to Irish independence. I note that the local Catholic parish church at Kilclonfert is dedicated to Saint Colman, and that there appears to have been a revival of interest in the maintenance of the holy well dedicated to the saint. There is a two-part video online showing the annual clean-up of the well by a local family who reckon this is their hereditary right, the soundtrack wasn't to my taste but at the end of the second part the people seem to fall quiet as they pray softly and then add some blessed water to the newly-cleaned well, which looks splendid after all their work. Below are the details from the calendars for the feast of Saint Colman, which seem to be the only information Canon O'Hanlon is able to bring:

St. Colman, of Cluain or Druim Ferta Mughaine, now Kilclonfert, King's County.

In the Feilire of St. Aengus, at the 3rd day of September, we have an entry for the feast of Colman of Druim Ferta. A commentator, on that copy contained in the Leabhar Breac, states, that the place is to be identified with Cluain Ferta Mugaine in Offaly. It is at present known as Kilclonfert, a parish in the Barony of Lower Philipstown, and King's County. Some ruins of the old Church are still visible. Near them may be found the well of St. Colman, but corruptly called St. Cloman's well...According to the Martyrology of Donegal, veneration was given at the 3rd of September to Colman, of Cluain-Ferta or Druim-Ferta. This place is also called Mughaine, in Ui Failghe, or Offaly, a district in Leinster.

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