Tuesday 10 February 2015

Saint Airennan of Tallagh, February 10

Below is an account of a saint commemorated on this day, Airennan, a successor at the monastery of Tallagh to its founder Maelruain. Canon O'Hanlon tells us what is known of him and speculates that Saint Airennan may even have been known to Saint Oengus the Martyrologist himself. He also refers to the confusion between our saint and the famous sapiens of Clonard, Saint Aireran, whose feast day falls in December, but both appear to be distinct learned holy men:

St. Airennan, Bishop of Tallagh, County of Dublin.

[Eighth Century.]

The Martyrology of Tallagh enters Airendan, Bishop of Tallaghta, at the 10th of February, and in the Martyrology of Donegal, we find entered, on this day, the name of Airennan, Bishop of Tamhlacht, now Tallagh, in the county of Dublin. He was born, most probably, during the earlier part of the eighth century; and, it is also likely, that he made his religious profession at, or soon after, the foundation of Tallagh, in the year 769. Under the head of Tamlacht, Duald Mac Firbis places Airennan, or Erennan, Bishop of Tamlacht, at February 10th. In the Dublin extracts, belonging to the Irish Ordnance Survey, and at the same date, in the Irish Calendar, we have this holy man's name occurring, as connected with Tamlacht. This, too, agrees with Ward's statement. As St. Melruan, the founder died, A.D. 787, or recte 792 the promotion of St. Airennan must be deferred to a subsequent period; and, accordingly, we find his death announced as Airfhindan, Abbot of Tamhlacht-Maeleruain (Tallaght), at A.D. 798, or recte 803. He therefore seems to have been the immediate successor of St. Melruan, whom he survived in office, only for a few years. He must, also, have been the companion of St. Oengus the Culdee, at Tallagh. In our calendars, we find the name of a St. Aireran, also called Aileran, surnamed "the Wise," Abbot of Clonard. The present saint's name is not very dissimilar. He is also known as Airenan, and called " the Wise." " He appears to have exercised the duties of a bishop, in addition to those of abbot. So far as we know, he is not distinguished as a writer.

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