Saturday 12 July 2014

Saint Ultán of Cork, July 12

July 12 is the commemoration of a County Cork saint, Ultán. Canon O'Hanlon, as he often does when there is not much to say about the individual life of a saint, talks instead about places, in this case Cork city. Modern scholar Pádraig Ó Riain however, informs us in his Dictionary of Irish Saints that our saint is most likely to be associated with Caherultan in the parish of Ballyoughtera, not far from Clonpriest, whose patron Colmán shares Ultán's July 12 feast day.  Canon O'Hanlon's account below does not make this connection:

St. Ultan, of Cork, County of Cork.

The Martyrology of Donegal mentions, that veneration was given to Ultan of Corcach, at the 12th of July. The city of Cork derives its name from the Irish word Corca, " marsh sometimes called Corca-mor," the great marsh." It was a tract of low ground, often flooded, near the debouchment of the River Lee. This celebrated district has a pre-Christian history ; but its Christian origin dates back to the earlier part of the seventh century.  Other accounts, at an earlier period, make St. Finbarr first founder of a religious house at this place. The present city of Cork—the main part of it south of the river—stands over a concealed network of running waters, veins from the Lee, and above the city is the public walk called Mardyke—interpreted Marshes-dyke. At the 12th of July, likewise, the Bollandists  record a festival for Ultanus mundus de Corcagia.

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