Celtic and Old English Saints-St. Aidan of Ferns – 31 January 2017

St. Aidan of Ferns, Bishop
(Aedan, Aedh, Maedoc-Edan, Moedoc, Mogue)


Detail of right part of fifth stained glass window in the east aisle (right from the nave if coming from the main entrance in the south), depicting Saint Aidan.

  • Bishop of Ferns Born c. 558 – County Cavan
  • Died 31 January 632 –  Ferns
  • Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Canonized Pre-Congregation
  • Major shrine – Enniscorthy
  • Feast – 31 January
  • Attributes- A hive of bees[1]
  • Patronage Ferns; Templeport in County Cavan; Llawhaden

Born in Connaught, Ireland; died 626.

Give as if every pasture in the mountains of Ireland belonged to you. –Saint Aidan.

The Irish Saint Aidan loved animals. His fellow Irishmen were fond of hunting. Aidan so protected them that his emblem in art is a stag. One day as he sat reading in Connaught, a desperate stag took refuge with him in the hope of escaping pursuing hounds. Aidan by a miracle made the stag invisible, and the hounds ran off.

There were several Irish saints named Aidan but this one seems to have been the most important. As a youth he spent some time in Leinster but, desirous of becoming learned in holy Scripture, Aidan went to Wales to study under Saint David (Dewi; f.d. March 1) at Menevia in Pembrokeshire for several years. His only difference from his fellow monks is that he brought his own beer from his native land.

The inspiration of Saint David caused him to return to Ireland with several other monks to built his own monastery at Ferns, County Wexford, on land given to him by Prince Brandrub (Brandubh) of Leinster together with the banquet halls and champions’ quarters of the royal seat of Fearna. He also founded monasteries at Drumlane and Rossinver, which disputed Ferns’ claim to his burial site. In addition to monasteries, Aidan is credited with founding about 30 churches in Ireland. One source claims that Aidan became the first bishop of Ferns (which is not that unlikely because many abbots were treated as bishops during the period), which displaced Sletty of Fiach as the bishop’s seat.<read more>

Source: Celtic and Old English Saints – 31 January

  1. Baring-Gould, Sabine & al. The Lives of the British Saints: The Saints of Wales and Cornwall and Such Irish Saints as Have Dedications in Britain, Vol. I, pp. 122 ff. Chas. Clark (London), 1908. Hosted at Archive.org. Accessed 18 Nov 2014.