Friday 25 September 2015

Saint Colman of Comhruire, September 25

September 25 is the feast day of yet another Irish Saint Colman, this one associated with the founding of a church at Uisneach Hill, County Westmeath. Canon O'Hanlon supplies the details, including a second entry for the saint from the Martyrology of Tallaght:

St. Colman of Comhruire, now Kilcomreragh, at Uisneach Hill, County of Westmeath.

[Seventh Century.]

The name Colman, being a diminutive of Colum or Colm—a contraction for Columba—was very frequently applied to very many of our early Irish Saints. The name Colman, Comraire, appears in the Martyrology of Tallagh, as having veneration paid him, at the 25th of September. The like entry is in the Book of Leinster copy. The feast of Colman is entered in the Feilire of Marianus O'Gorman, at the 25th of September, and the commentator says, i.e., Colman Comhruire—rendered Colman of the Casket. Bronach, daughter to Miliuc, son of Buan, with whom Patrick was in bondage, is said to have been his mother. Again, it is related, that his mother was Galges, daughter of Aedh-finn or Hugh the White, prince of Hybruinn. He is said to have been the son of Fintan, and grandson of Finloga, prince of South Munster. His brother was the celebrated St. Fursa or Fursey, who preached and founded monasteries in England and France. Uisneach was in the parish of Killare, barony of Rathconrath and county of Westmeath. It is now known as Usnagh hill, and somewhere in its vicinity, Comhruire must be sought. This place was also called Comhraire-Midhe, and it is now known as Kilcomreragh, near the hill of Uisneach. The church there is said to have been founded early in the seventh century, by the present Saint. It seems likely he died during that period, or perhaps early in the eighth century. The death of Abbot Ferfio of Comhraire-Midhe, is recorded, at A.D. 757. Comraire monastery seemed not to have survived the Danish invasions. The history of St. Colman, and the year of his death, do not appear to be known. He is recorded in the Martyrology of Donegal, at this same date as Colman, of Comhruire, at Uisneach.

Reputed St. Colman, Sci.

The Martyrology of Tallagh, registers St. Colman, Sci., as having been venerated, at the 25th of September. In like manner, we meet such an insertion in the Book of Leinster copy. As we do not meet this distinctive entry in any other Irish Calendar, it seems to have been a superfluous notice, and only intended to commemorate the preceding saint.

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