Sunday 1 January 2023

Saint Colmán Muilinn of Derrykeighan, January 1


We start the new year with a feast of one of the many Irish saints Colmán to be found on the calendars. Colmán Muillin, Colmán of the mill, is an early saint from County Antrim whom genealogical sources claim was a grandson of Mílchú or Míleac, the man who held Saint Patrick in slavery. The calendar entry in the Martyrology of Donegal tells us that it was in a mill that he used to make obeisance to his brethern and thus acquired his name. Pádraig Ó Riain's Dictionary of Irish Saints tells us that Colmán Muillin was also reputed to have been part of 'a marauding group of laymen' whose leader was none too pleased when he opted to follow Saint Colmán Éala of Lynally instead. Below is Canon O'Hanlon's account of the saint taken from Volume I of his Lives of the Irish Saints:

Article IV. St. Colman Muilinn, of Derrykeighan, County of Antrim. [Fifth or Sixth Century.]

 From various accounts, it would appear, the Church of Derrykeighan must have been one of the oldest foundations in Ireland. Its first administrator is stated to have been brother to St. Mochay, who died towards the close of the fifth century. The name of this place seems to have been derived from doire 'an oak wood' and from chaochain, a proper name, and also meaning, "purblind." Foundations of the original church remain in the old churchyard. Upon them stand the roofless walls of an old building.

Colman Muilinn is simply entered in the "Martyrology of Tallagh" on this day. He belonged to a place known as Derrykeighan, in the county of Antrim, and within the diocese of Connor. Further particulars concerning him we read in the "Martyrology of Donegal." There it is stated that Colman Muilinn, of Doire-Chaechain, belonged to Dal-Riada, in Ulster. Bronach, daughter of Milchu, son to Buan, is said to have been his mother. We are informed, likewise, that it was in a mill St. Colman used to make obeisance to the brethren. No clue to the date of his death can be found in our Annals.

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