Thursday 27 August 2015

Saint Aedhan, August 27

On August 27 the name of Saint Aedhan (Aidan) appears on the Irish calendars. However, as is so often the case, there are various holy men of this name recorded in our martyrologies so trying to identify this one specifically is well-nigh impossible. Canon O'Hanlon mentions various candidates before admitting that he cannot positively identify them with the saint commemorated on August 27. In his entry for the saint below he also mentions that the seventeenth-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan, thought today's saint may possibly be linked to Clontarf, County Dublin and to the family of Saint Brigid of Kildare:

St. Aedhan or Aidan, possibly at Clontarf, County Dublin.
The simple notice of Aidan appears in the published Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 27th of August. The same mode of entry is to be found in that copy contained in the Book of Leinster. There is a saint having this name, and also called Mocukein or belonging to the race of Kien, nephew to St. Columkille, and son of his sister Sinecha. However, it cannot be said, that he was identical with the present Aidan. There is likewise an Aedhan, son to Lughar, and sprung from the race of Eochaidh Finnfuathart, son of Feidhlimidh Reachtmar, son to Tuathal Teachtmar, from whom Brighet descends.  As we have already found, there are several holy men, named Aedh, Aedhan or Aidan, in our Irish Calendars, at different days of the year; many of those are distinguished by parentage or place, while some are simply noted—-as in this instance—without any such clue to their recognition. According to Colgan, the Aidan, belonging to St. Brigid's  family, seems to have been venerated at a Cluain Tarbh—now probably Clontarf, County Dublin—either on the 27th of August, or on the 4th of  September. In the Martyrology of Donegal, at this same date, is entered Aedhan, but without any peculiar recognition of family descent or place of residence.

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