Saturday 16 July 2016

Saint Gobbán Beg, July 16

There are a number of saints called Gobbán to be found on the Irish calendars. Occasionally their names are accompanied by a patronymic or an epithet. There is, for example a Gobán Corr 'the stooped' and a Gobán Fionn 'the fair'. The name is also found in a feminine form, as in Saint Gobnait of Ballyvourney. It ultimately derives from gobha 'smith' and thus gives rise to that doyen of   legendary craftsmen the Gobán Saor. Today we have one of these saints commemorated on the Irish calendars, Gobbán Beg. The Irish word beag means small or little so Canon O'Hanlon speculates that he must have been a holy man small of stature:

St. Gobban, Beg. 

At this date—xvii. of the August Kalends—the Irish Kalendars introduce a Feast for a St. Gobban, surnamed "the small." The simple record, Gobban, occurs in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 16th of July. In the Martyrology of Donegal, at the same date, the name is written Gobban, Beg. We may presume, he had been so denominated from his small stature ; for the word beg signifies "little." In the Irish Calendar, among the Ordnance Survey muniments, he is set down at the xvii. of the August Kalends—July 16th—under a similar appellation.

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