Wednesday 2 April 2014

Saint Conall of Clonallan, April 2

April 2 is the feast day of a sixth-century County Down bishop, Conall of Clonallan. Not a great deal is known of him, but he was said to have succeeded the founder bishop of Coleraine around the year 570. Adamnan's Life of Saint Columba in Chapter 50 of the first book records a Bishop Conall of Coleraine having prepared a welcome for Saint Columba on one of his Irish visits, but it is not known if this was our saint. Canon O'Hanlon has this short account of Saint Conall:

St. Conall, Bishop of Clonallan, County or Down.
[Sixth Century.]

In the Martyrology of Tallagh, the name of Conall, son of Aedha, is found, entered at the 2nd of April. The Bollandists', while deferring an opinion on the subject, until the Acts of the Irish Saints should receive further illustration, remark, that the saint, venerated on this day at Cluain-dallain, is thought, by Colgan, to have been Connall, Abbot of Killchonail, in the territory, known as Maine, or Hy-Maine. The O'Clerys state, that the saint, venerated on the 2nd of April, belonged to the race of Irial, son to Conall Cearnach. At first, St Conall was president over Clonallan church, county of Down, at an early period. He afterwards succeeded St. Carbreus, as Bishop of Coleraine, about the year 570. His parish was evidently near Carlingford Lough, which becomes contracted at Caol, "narrow," in the same sense, as that used by the Scotch, in the word Kyles, now the Narrow Water. The name of this church is said, however, to have been derived from St Dalian, who flourished in the sixth century. The O'Clerys' Calendar states, that his place was near Snamh Each, i.e. the harbour near unto the Cael, in Ui Eathach, of Uladh. We read, in the Martyrology of Donegal, that veneration was paid, on this day, to Conall, son of Aedh, of Cluain, i.e. of Cluain Dallain, now Clonallan parish.

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