Thursday 4 July 2013

Saint Finbarr of Inis Doimhle, July 4

At July 4, the Irish calendars record the commemoration of a saint Finbarr, whom one of the genealogical sources records was related to Saint Brigid. As Canon O'Hanlon's account below, however, makes clear, it proved difficult in the past to definitively identify the locality where our saint flourished, he himself plumps for a place in County Wexford. Finally, it should be said that everyone seems to agree that today's saint is a distinct individual from the patron of Cork, whose feast is celebrated on September 25. There is also another Saint Finbarr commemorated on some of the calendars on September 10, in the Martyrology of Tallagh he is noted as Saint Finnbar Mac Bindi or Buidi:

St. Finbarr or Fionubharr, Abbot of Inis Doimhle, County of Wexford.
[Sixth Century.]

This holy man must have flourished in the early ages of the Irish Church, and on the father's side he descended through a very illustrious line, from Feidhlimidh Rechtmar, or the Law-giver, King of Ireland. From the latter, he was twelve generations in immediate succession. This brings him one generation later than his illustrious relative St. Brigid, patroness of Ireland. He was son of Dalian, son to Liathan, son to Briun, son of Eoghan, son of Brechin, son of Artur Corb. He was brother to the sons of Aedh, of Ath-cliath. In the "Feilire" of St. Aengus, Findbarr of Inis Teimle is commemorated, on the 4th of July. There is a gloss, likewise, which states, that he belonged to the land of Ui Cennselaig, and that he lived among the Desi. Another gloss adds, that Inis Teimle has been derived from darkness, because such was the Isle, until the two sons of Aed of Ath Cliath, who were Findbarr and Barrfind, went thither.In the Martyrology of Tallagh at the 4th of July, we find entered the name of Finbarr, Abbot of Innse Domle. Marianus O'Gorman commemorates him, at this same date. The Rev. Alban Butler makes him the founder of a famous monastery in the Isle of Crimlen, and remarks, that he is not to be confounded with St. Finbarr, the first bishop of Cork. The Bollandists have noticed St. Finnbarr, Abbot of Inis-Doimhle, on the authority of Father O'Sheerin's Irish Manuscripts; but, they seem incapable of distinguishing him from another St. Finnbarr, venerated on the 10th or 20th of September. He flourished probably some time during the sixth century. He was abbot in Inis Doimhle, between Ui Ceiunsealaigh and the Deisi. According to a learned Irish topographer, Inis Doimhle would appear to be the place now called Inch, situated in the barony of Shelmaliere, and county of Wexford. In the year 1840, some remains of the old church walls placed in this parish were visible, but they had been so entirely covered over with thorns and briars, that the length and breadth of the former building could not be measured. These ruins had an appearance of great antiquity, and the walls had been altogether built with very large stones. According to tradition, no interment had taken place there, since the middle of the last century. The present holy man is said to have founded a monastery, in the Isle of Drumlen, between Hy Kinsellagh and the Decies of Munster, according to a Manuscript of John Windale. According to another statement, the Irish Damhly of the old Irish Manuscripts was no other than the Insula Sancta Clara, now called Cape Clear Island. The Martyrology of Donegal, at this same date, registers him as Fionnbharr, son of Aedh. In the Irish Calendar belonging to the Irish Ordnance Survey Records, there is an entry of St. Fionabar, at the 4th of July. In Scotland he was venerated, on the same day. The feast of this saint is entered likewise, in the "Circle of the Seasons" at the 4th of July.

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