Saturday 10 August 2013

Saint Cuimmin of Drumbo, August 10

On August 10 we commemorate the memory of an abbot of Drumbo, County Down. The hagiographical Tract on the Mothers of the Saints of Ireland suggests that our saint, Cuimmin, was one of a number of brothers, the most famous of whom is Saint Domangart of Slieve Donard, one of Saint Patrick's early converts in the county. Their mother was reputed to have had four different husbands though! Canon O'Hanlon's account follows below: 

Doorway of Drumbo Round Tower (1845)
St. Cuimmin, Abbot of Drumbo, County of Down.

Men should love each other, as Jesus Christ hath loved us, according to His particular and specific injunction. He would commend this precept to us all, as a last and dying legacy.The love of God, therefore, and the love of our neighbour are of one and the self-same essential nature — so connected in theory and so intertwined in the souls of faithful men, that they cannot be separated. There was ever a union of both degrees of love in the souls of the saints. The present holy man was one among a band of saintly brothers, who were the sons of Derinilla, surnamed Cethuir-chicheach, or "of the four provinces."  Her holy progeny is noticed by St. Aengus the Culdee. These various brothers are called St. Domangart, St. Aillean, St. Aidan,  St. Muran, and St. Cillen.  Although uterine brothers, these were not all children by the same father, for Derinilla is said to have married four different husbands. His place of habitation was Drumbo, Drumboe, or Druimbo, and as Jocelin called it "oppidum Druimbo," we have sufficient authority for placing a town here, in or before the twelfth century. It is situated within the present County of Down. In the grave-yard stands a considerable portion of a Round Tower, which had the following measurements : viz., 34 feet, 2 inches in height ; the diameter at top 8 feet, 5  and a half inches in the clear; 15 feet 6 inches, out to out; the diameter at the base 8 feet 8 and a half inches; and 16 feet 8 and a half inches, out to out. Towards the close of the last century, this Round Tower appears to have been to its full height; at least, no contrary observation is made by Rev. Daniel Augustus Beaufort, LL.D., who had then seen it.  St. Patrick is represented as visiting this place, which we learn from his ancient Lives, and as hearing near it several gentiles constructing a rath or wall, on a Sunday. This being a day of rest and devotion for him, he prohibited the labourers from prosecuting their work. They mocked him, however, and would not cease. An abbey or a church is said to have been founded here, during the lifetime of the great Irish Apostle. The printed survey of Down, by Walter Harris, describes the old church ruins at this place, as they were before the middle of the last century. However, careless copyists of monastic story assert, that the ruined church there was the vestige of an abbey founded by St. Patrick, and in the beginning of the seventh century presided over by St. Mochumma. In the Book of Armagh, the patron saint of Ireland is said to have been near "Fretum quod Collum Bovis vocatur." We find John O'Donovan has written: "This Fretum is now Belfast Lough, then called after Drumbo, the nearest and most celebrated town in this part of Uladh. Belfast, after which- this strait is now called, was not in existence for centuries afterwards." This place was near the sea, as we are told, at a port in the northern part of Ireland, and opposite the town of Drumbo, called in Latin "Collis Bovis." It has been thought, that the present Drumbo, in the Barony of Upper Castlereagh, can hardly be the spot there alluded to, and it is supposed to be probable, that the inner bay of Dundrum may have been intended. A festival was celebrated at this date, as we find registered in the Martyrology of Tallagh,  of Marianus, and of Donegal, in honour of Cuimmin, Abbot of Druimbo, in Uladh.

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