May 26 is the commemoration of Saint Colman Steallan, a saint of the monastery of Terryglass, County Tipperary. This foundation produced a number of notable holy men including Saint Colum, one of the '12 Apostles of Ireland' and Maeldithruib the anchorite. The manner in which the name of today's saint has been recorded in the calendars has given rise to some confusion, not helped by the fact that Colman, Colum, Columb, Colm, Columba are all different ways of transliterating the same name. In the case of today's saint, some of the later calendars talk of the feast of Steallan, as if we are dealing with two separate people. The latest authoritative guide to the saints of Ireland, Pádraig Ó Riain's A Dictionary of Irish Saints (2011), accepts Colmán Stiallán as one individual and suggests that the epithet Stiallán attached
to the name of this particular Colman may perhaps be translated as 'the
little strip'. Canon O'Hanlon records this of the little strip of
Terryglass, in Volume V of his Lives of the Irish Saints:
St. Colman Steallan, of Terryglass, County of Tipperary [Sixth and Seventh Centuries.]
At the 26th of May, we find inserted, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, the name of Colman Stellain, Tirdoghlass, now Terryglass, as having been venerated. The Bollandists also follow this statement, and have some references to Colgan's work, where allusions are made to our saint. The present holy man is placed in order of succession, after the Abbot Natchoemius or Mochoeminus—said to have been brother to St. Coemgenus, and who died, A.D. 584. The festival in honour of Steallan—as simply entered—of Tir-dá-glas, was celebrated on this day, as we read in the Martyrology of Donegal. In the table, postfixed to this work, we find his name Latinized Stellanus. It would seem, that this record, as published, distinguishes a St. Colman from the present St. Stellan, for there appears a separate entry of both these names. Marianus O'Gorman follows the Martyrology of Tallagh, in uniting both names, apparently for one person, who was venerated on this day, at Terryglass, on the eastern border of Lough Dearg. Other writers—such as Archbishop Ussher and our annalists—call him by the name of Colmanus Stellanus. However, there can hardly be any doubt, that this latter must be the proper entry, for in the "Annals of the Four Masters," we read, that St. Colman Stellan of Tir-da-ghlas, died on the 26th of May, A.D. 624. With this agrees, likewise, the entry of his departure, in the "Chronicum Scotorum." Other accounts place his death at 625; while Archbishop Ussher has it so late as 634. The festival of Stellan was observed on the 25th of May, as we find it in the "Feilire" of St. Aengus; and, appended to this notice is an Irish comment, in that copy, contained in the "Leabhar Breac," which is followed by a Latin one, giving the series of Abbots, for Tir-da-glas and Cluain eidnech. It seems doubtful, notwithstanding, whether Colman should be separated from Stellan; but, many writers regard them as one and the same person.
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