Sunday 13 July 2014

Saint Ernin of Inis-Caoin, July 13

July 13 is the commemoration of Saint Ernin of Inis-Caoin and the name of both the man and his locality are shared in common with a number of others. Canon O'Hanlon reckons the place in this case is to be found in counties Meath and Cavan. In the Lives of the Irish Saints he lists twenty-five saints with the name Ernin, most of whom, like today's saint, are obscure figures. There is evidence though that at one time this saint was remembered in his locality by a pattern at a holy well dedicated to him:

St. Ernin, or Arney, of Inis-caoin, now Inniskeen, Counties of Meath and Cavan.

At the 13th of July, veneration was given to Ernin, of Inis-caoin, as appears in the Martyrology of Donegal. There are three distinct Inis-caoins, viz. : first, Inishkeen, on Lough Erne; secondly, another on Lough Melvin— both of these are in the county of Fermanagh—and thirdly, Inis-caoin-Deagha, or Iniskeen, in the county of Louth. But, the Enniskeen, or Eniskeen, with which the present saint appears to have been connected, was a parish located, partly in the baronies of Lower Kells and Lower Slane, in the county of Meath, but chiefly in the barony of Clonkee, in the county of Cavan. This old church of Eniskeen has been torn down and uprooted, save and except old crosses and numerous tombs, which serve to mark the resting-places of the faithful. No traces remain at present illustrative of the ancient worship. Here, the festival of St. Arney had been celebrated each 13th day of July. A holy well, dedicated to this saint, springs from the soil, and convenient to the burying-ground. It is now dried up, but stations used to be performed there, on the feast-day. It was called Toberarney. In the days of persecution, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass had to be celebrated on a large block of stone, outside the graveyard of Eniskeen. Anciently, this seems to have been the pedestal of a stone cross or a sanctuary terminus. Various other curious antique objects are in this parish. There is a notice of this saint's festival, on the 13th of July, as furnished by Father O'Sheerin to the Bollandists.

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