Wednesday 31 July 2013

Saint Colmán of Derrymore, July 31

The Martyrology of Oengus brings the month of July to a close with this entry:

B. Pridie cal. Augusti.

Slúag Iúll, co méit míle,
fortn-íada ard áge,
epscop án a Hére,
Colmán macc Daráne.

31. July's host, with many thousands,
a lofty pillar closes it:
a splendid bishop out of Ireland,
Colmán son of Daráne.

But as the scholiasts' notes explain, this Colmán is named as the son of his mother, rather than of his father:

31. Colmán son of Daríne i.e. his mother's sister was Daríne, and he was a fosterling of hers. Or Daríne nomen matris eius, i.e. at Clar Dairi móir in Mag Airb is Daríne's son, and Natail from Cell manach in the west of Ossory, on the same day with him. i.e. from Daire mór meic Darane in Mag Airb he is, and Rathail (sic) from Cell manach in the west of Ossory in uno die : from Daire mór meic Darane between Ossory and Éle of Munster.

Colmán son of Daríne, then, i.e. Daríne was sister of Colmán's mother, and he was her fosterling. Now Sanct, Daríne's sister, was Colman's mother. Daríne was barren, but Sanct was prolific. So Daríne asked for Colman at once after his birth. To her then Sanct gives him, so that Daríne fostered him, and hence he is called Colman son of Daríne; and he is at Daire mór in Mag Airb between Ossory and Éle.

Canon O'Hanlon is unable to add much to this account, apart from a summary of the saintly bishop's other commemorations on the calendars:

St. Colman, Son of Dairine, Bishop of Derrymore, King's County. [Sixth Century.]

This holy man, it seems probable, flourished during the fifth and sixth centuries. His father is said to have been Aenguss, King of Munster, and also the son of Natfraich. In the "Felire" of St. Aengus, at the 31st of July, Colman, son of Daraine, is commemorated. Darenia is the Latinized form of his mother's name. King Aengus' wife, who was named Darenia, was daughter to Conall. Nearly all our native historians intimate the same, as they call Colman, Mac Dairene, i.e., the son of Dairene. At the 31st of July, the Martyrology of Tallagh registers a festival, to honour Colman mac Darane, of Daire mor, or Derrymore.

We are told, however, that Sanct or Sancta was the real mother of our saint, as also of a numerous offspring. The reason, why St. Colman was called the son of Dairine, is, because she Dairine, was Sant's sister. We are told also, that Dairinne was barren, since she bore no children. She asked for Colman, when a child, from her sister, and that he might be named from her. Then, we are told, Sant gave the boy to Dairine to be nursed. Hence, he is called Colman, son of Dairine. She is said to have been sister to St. Fanchea and to St. Oengus of Aran. According to this account, therefore, St. Colman could only have been foster-son to his aunt Dairene. While in one instance, the mother of St. Colman is called Sant—or Latine Sancta—other writers call her Dairene or Dairine, which perhaps is not inconsistent with the former designation; and therefore, it may be assumed, that the two distinctive names apply only to one and the same person. Among many names of Irish places known as Daire-Mór—anglicized Derrymore—this is distinguished. The present Derrymore is said to have been in Mag Airb, situated between the territories of ancient Ossory and of Éle, if we are to credit a statement made by a commentator on St. Oengus. If such be the case, the present holy man does not seem to have been a different person from him, whose feast has been set down for the 20th of May—which appears to have been the date for his chief festival, and where a description of his place may be found. At the 31st of July, however, in the Martyrology of Donegal, we find entered, Colman, Bishop, son of Dairine, i.e., the son of Aenghus, son to Natfraech, son of Corc, son to Lughaidh, King of Munster.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your research in your postings.


Marcella said...

And thank you Lois for your support. It is good to know that the posts are being enjoyed.