Celtic saints of the day December 19th

St. Samthann of Clonbroney


Of the four female early Irish saints with extant Latin Lives (Saints Brigit, Íte, Monenna and Samthann), chronologically Samthann is the latest, with the Annals of Ulster listing her death in 739. This is also the earliest annals mention of her monastery at Clonbroney (Ir. Clúan-bróaig) near modern Ballinalee, County Longford.[16] References to the monastery continue sporadically throughout the mid eighth through to the early ninth centuries, and then very rarely thereafter.[17] Unlike the three sixth century female monastic saints, Samthann was not the founder of her monastery, but rather inherited after the existing abbess and founder Fuinnech had a fiery prophetic vision of Samthann’s grandeur.[18] On the strength of this Samthann moved from her initial monastery at Urney in Tyrone where she served as a stewardess,[19] south to Clonbroney, which was located just east of the modern town of Longford. The Tripartite Life of Patrick asserts that Clonbroney was founded by Patrick for two sisters both named Emer, whose brother Guasacht he made bishop of Granard. All three were the children of Milchú, whom Patrick served as slave in Ulster in his youth. While the story is literally implausible, there does seem to be an association between Samthann and Granard since in the Life she travelled there. Samthann also has an Ulster origin and the genealogies tie her family closely to Patrick in the Tripartite Life.[20]

Manuscript Tradition

The only extant Life of St Samthann survives in three manuscripts, with the most complete form being in an early fourteenth-century manuscript, in Oxford, at the Bodleian Library, Rawlinson B. 485 ff.150-3, as part of the Codex Insulensis.[5] Charles Plummer used all three manuscripts in his edition of the text, and notes that the other two forms of the Life are dependent on the Bodleian one. In addition to Plummer’s Latin edition, the Life has also been translated into English by Dorothy Africa.[6] There is only a small degree of variation between the three manuscripts, and no important omissions or additions, supporting the belief that this was a fairly faithful copy of the posited original that had undergone no drastic ecclesiastical editing.[7] The author’s Latin is somewhat stilted, and prone to the occasional clichéd metaphorical phrase, but falls short of the overly convoluted style favoured in Late Latin writing. With one exception, the chronology of the Life follows a straightforward pattern beginning with the saint’s marriage and ending with her death. The exception is a miracle regarding the saint’s staff, occurring at chapter seventeen, which, whilst not specifically stated as such, would logically appear to belong after the saint’s death.[8] The only other apparent error is in the final chapter, where Lasrianus, the founder of Devenish in Lough Erne, who died nearly two centuries earlier is represented as still being alive at the time of Samthann’s death.[9] Plummer ascribes this error to the writer’s ignorance of the name of the then abbot of Devenish (he is unnamed when previously mentioned in §10), believing that he inserted the only abbot he did know, whose Life he may well have had access to.[10] Overall the consistency of style and language in addition to the cohesive chronology all point to a single author or redactor.[11] There is nothing in the Life itself to give a clear indication as to its date of composition and the date of the posited original has been given as anywhere between the late eighth[12] to the late thirteenth century.[13] Associated evidence, however, such as the relatively short period of prominence for the monastery at Clonbroney (the convent, which may have been founded as early as the fifth century, fades from the records after the death of Abbess Caillechdomhnaill in 1163),[14] the use of individual names (in particular Niall, son of Fergal, king of Cenél Éogain, and Uí Néill overlord from 763–770 and Flann son of Connla),[15] and the association of the monastery in the mid- to late eighth century with the royal family of Tethba, in Cairpre Gabra, all support the notion that this Life was initially composed within a few generations of the saint’s death, and is a well-preserved late eighth to early ninth century Life. (Wikipedia)
Categories:8th-century Irish writers Culdees Female saints of medieval Ireland Irish Gaelic poets Medieval Irish poets Irish women poets Medieval Irish saints People from County Longford8th-century poets 8th-century women writers730s deaths


Ordnance Survey OpenData. Administrative borders and coastline data from Boundary-Line product. All other geographic data from Meridian 2 product. Aberdour shown within Fife Inset derived from Inset derived from File:Scotland location map.svg by NordNordWest.

St. Manire of Scotland

St. Manire of Scotland, Bishop
(Manirus, Niniar)

Date unknown. Manirus is venerated as one of the apostles of northern
Scotland. His work seems to have concentrated on encouraging the newly
converted Highlanders in their faith

The last of the Celtic apostles to bring the Gospel to Deeside were St
Devenick and St Manire. Both were active in the valley during the 9th
century but their establishments were widely separated.

St Manire (sometimes spelled Monire, Miniar or Niniar) is said to have been one of Drostan’s successors at Deer, and to have had a foundation in that district near Aberdour.

St Manire’s main sphere of activity was on upper Deeside, in Crathie
district, where he established his church. The site of Manire’s foundation
is at Rhynabaich, a knoll to the north of the North Deeside Road. A solitary
standing-stone is all that remains of Manire’s establishment {NO 301962},
but local place-names such as alt eaglais, “the burn of the church”; creag
eaglais, “the hill of the church”; pollmanire, “the pool of Manire” – a deep
salmon pool on the river Dee almost opposite Balmoral Castle – recall the
activities of this almost forgotten saint. The ancient church site at
Crathie {NO 264947}, south of the present Crathie-Kirk, is under his
invocation. He is said to have suffered persecution, but did not receive the
crown of martyrdom. Hence he appears in the Calendars as a confessor, not a martyr.

Manire is said to have died in 824AD and is believed to have been buried in
his church at Crathie.

  1. Samthann – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2015. Samthann – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samthann. [Accessed 19 December 2015]..
  2. Google Groups. 2015. Google Groups. [ONLINE] Available at: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/celtic-daily/NszcWSMjmfM. [Accessed 19 December 2015].