Sunday, 25 September 2016

Along the Banks of the River Lee - St. Finbar and the Bishop of Ross

Des has asked me to write up something about the Catholic heritage of Cork so I decided to start at the beginning, with Gougane Barra and St. Finbar. Before the time of St. Finbar, this lake was known as Lough Irce and it lies deep in a long valley, surrounded on all sides by hills, except on the east where the famous waters of the River Lee begin to flow towards Cork City and the sea. When you first approach the lake from Ballingeary direction it looks almost square but, in fact, it is almost a mile long and only about 300 yards wide.

Holy Island was the site of the 6th century monastery of St. Finbar. The present Church is just over a hundred years old in a style also seen in Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel. The head of St. Finbar crowns the elaborately carved doorway.

Near the Oratory is an enclosure that marks the site both of the monastery of St. Finbar and the retreat of Fr. Denis O'Mahony, a Priest of the Penal Era. The monastery of St. Finbar was probably of wattle and daub construction, so we don't know the precise location. However, the inscription on the cross, in Latin, Irish and English reads: Here stood in the 6th century, the cell of St. Finbarr, first Bishop of Cork." Nearby, a slab bears the inscription: "This place of devotion was dedicated unto Almighty God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and unto St. Finn Bary in the seventeenth century of our Lord, by the Rev. Denis O'Mahony, who after the erecting of these buildings, made them his residence till the end of his religious days in this world..." Just to the east of this enclosure is a ruined chapel that appears to have been the chapel used by Fr. O'Mahony. Fr. O'Mahony died in 1700 and was burried in a grave near the entrance to Holy Island. The Cork poet J.J. Callanan is also commemorated by a simple cross here. He wrote a poem on Gougane including the lines:

There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra
Where Allua of song rushes forth as an arrow.
In deep-valley'd Desmond - a thousand wild fountains,
Come down to that lake from their homes in the mountains.


The Lee leaves Gougane and flows east past Ballingeary and opens out into another lake, the famous Lough Allua. At Ballingeary, during the terrible days of the Black and Tans the forces of the British Crown would regularly harrass Mass-goers as they left. On 10 November, 1920 as they left the scene of the murder of an unarmed young man, they jeered to the Parish Priest, Fr. Donncha Ó Donnchú that "there's work for you back there". A month later in Dunmanway the Parish Priest Canon Magner was shot on the street in a revenge execution by a British Auxiliary called Harte.

Leaving Lough Allua, the Lee flows past Inchigeela. At Curraheen, about two miles from Inchigeela, on the right hand side of the road there is to be found another monument to the suffering of the Irish under the Penal Laws. A rough stone altar stands below a crag. A metal plate reads "Altar of Penal Times, Mass was said here 1640-1800". From here, the Lee flows towards Macroom, where the Castle once housed Archbishop Rinuccini, Papal Legate to the Catholic Confederacy of the 17th century, and enters the magnificent Gearagh, a sort of Cork Everglades.

To the east of the Gearagh is Carrigadrohid, where the castle stands guard on a stone outcrop over the bridge and the river. The castle was built by the MacCarthys of Muskerry. In April of 1649, during Cromwell's rampage through Ireland an officer of his forces named Broghill laid siege to the castle. When the castle wouldn't surrender he brought the Bishop of Ross, Dr. Boetius Egan, out from imprisonment in Macroom and stood the elderly Bishop before the castle and threatened to hang him if the castle would not surrender. Bishop Egan shouted to the defenders to hold out. Enraged by the Bishop's defiance but true to his word, Broghill hanged the Bishop of Ross there and then before their eyes. The castle held out but not for long. The castle fell to a simpler trick. Broghill ordered his forces to cut down trees of about the size of cannon and had them yoked to oxen and deployed around the castle. By this means, they forced the defenders to parlay.

A happier story of Carrigadrohid relates to Donal O'Sullivan who caught a leprechaun one day. The leprechaun shouted for him to look out for MacCarthaigh's bull that was charging down upon them. Donal turned to look and the leprechaun escaped. A year later, Donal caught him again in a bush near the river. This time the leprechaun cried out to Donal to look at MacCarthaigh's daughter coming up the path. Donal coundn't resist, turned to look and the leprechaun escaped. A third time Donal caught him and the leprechaun shouted in vain about bulls and boars and goats and girls but Donal held him fast and got the pot of gold, with which he bought the bull and the castle and married the daughter.

[UPDATE] Since I posted this, my attention has been drawn to a poem that refers to the incident in 1649 that I mentioned above. I reproduce it here:

THE BISHOP OF ROSS
By Dr. Madden
Author of the "Lives of the United Irishmen"

I.
The tramp of the trooper is heard at Macroom;
The soldiers of Cromwell are spared from Clonmel,
And Broghill - the merciless Broghill - is come,
On a missionof murder which pleases him well.

II.
the wailing of women, the wild ululu,
Dread tidings from cabin to cabin convey;
But loud though the plaints and the shrieks which ensue,
The war-cry is louder of men in array.

III.
In the park of Macroom there is gleaming of steel,
And glancing of lightning in looks on that field,
And swelling of bosoms with patriotic zeal,
And clenching of hands on the weapons they wield.

IV.
MacEgan, a prelate like Ambrose of old;
Foresakes not his flock when the spoiler is near,
The post of the pastor's in front of the fold,
When the wolf's on the plain and there's rapine to fear.

V.
The danger is come, and the fortune of war,
Inclines to the side of oppression once more;
The people are brave - but, they fall; and the star,
Of their destiny sets in the darkness of yore.

VI.
MacEgan survives in the Philistine hands,
Of the lords of the Pale, and his death is decreed;
But the sentence is stayed by Lord Broghill's commands,
And the prisoner is dragged to his presence with speed.

VII.
"To Carraig-an-Driochead this instant," he cried,
"Prevail on your people in garrison there,
To yield, and at once in our mercy confide,
And your life I will pledge you my honour to spare."

VIII.
"Your mercy! Your honour!" the prelate replied,
"I well know the worth of : my duty I know,
Lead on to the castle, and there, by your side,
With the blessing of God, what is meet I will do."

IX.
The orders are given, the prisoner is led,
To the castle, and 'round him are menacing hoards:
Undaunted, approaching the walls, at the head,
Of the troopers of Cromwell, he utters these words:

X.
"Beward of the cockatrices - trust not the wiles,
Of the serpent, for perfidy skulks in its folds!
Beware of Lord Broghill the day that he smiles!
His mercy is murder! - his word never holds!"

XI.
"Remember, 'tis writ in our annals of blood,
Our countrymen never relied on the faith,
Of truce or of treaty, but treason ensued -
And the issue of every delusion was death!"

XII.
Thus nobly the patriot prelate sustained,
The ancient renown of his chivalrous race,
And the last of old Eoghan's descendants obtained,
For the name of Ui-Mani new lustre and grace.

XIII.
He died on the scaffold, in front of those walls,
Where the blackness of ruin is seen from afar;
And the gloom of its desolate aspect recalls,
The blackest of Broghill's achievements in war!

[First Published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog in September, 2009]

Monday, 15 August 2016

Birthday Mass for Little Nellie of Holy God

Following on from the Mass organised for the anniversary of her death, we return to the Church of the Resurrection, Farranree, Cork City, to celebrate the birthday of Little Nellie of Holy God, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 24th August, with a Traditional Latin Mass.  Both to conform with the judgment of the Church and to encourage you to greater devotion and zeal, we are praying for a friend on her birthday.  She is not (yet) 'raised to the Altars' so there is no intention of anticipating the decision of the Church on her holiness or virtue.  We do not intend to give her any public honour to which she is not (yet) entitled.  We pray for the soul of Little Nellie as we would and should any other holy soul not yet canonized.  However, we earnestly encourage you to come and pray for her and to deepen your devotion to her cause that she may be our intercessor with Holy God.  Subito Santo.



Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Bandon Rebellion of 1689


I have already spoken of Bandon as a plantation town of fixed opinion. Indeed, a contingent of Bandonians fought at the Battle of the Boyne on the Williamite side attached to the 'Londonderry Auxiliaries.'

Upon the accession of King James II the town of Bandon was given a new charter and Teige McCarthy of Aglish was made Provost or Mayor of the town on 20th March, 1686. He then commenced to administer the oath of alliegance to James II and to levy troops for the King's cause. To add to the discomforture of the Bandonians, the charter document arrived in the town accompanied by a Priest, suggested to have brought a relic from the Chains of St. Peter. The Bandonians were aghast:

"That charter - that priest! Oh! If he had his will, he'd-! but that link from the iron chain-that symbol of unfettered thought. By the solemn League and Covenant, if I can lay my hands on it, I will make a bob of it to catch eels with!"

By 1st June, the new Provost was forced to issue this proclamation:

"Whereas, several summonses have of late been given to the inhabitants of this corporation to appear and take the oath accustomed for freemen and forasmuch as they refuse and contemn the said summonses. Now we, the said provost and majority of the burgesses, having taken into consideration the wrong and injury that happen unto the corporation thereby, do, and by our mutual assents and consents have ordered that every person, of what trade soever, shall pay six shillings and eightpence sterling per day for using every such trade or occupation, either private or public, after the fifteenth day of June next the date hereof; and the same to be levied on their goods and chattels, and to be disposed of according to law; or their bodies to be imprisoned, through the choice lying in the provost."

Bandon had been garrisoned by a troop of horse and two companies of foot under Captain Daniel O'Neill. On 16th of February, 1689, Captain O'Neill issued a proclamation calling on the inhabitants to deliver up all arms and ammunition within three days. The Bandonians hardly obeyed such a command and Lord Clancarthy promised to march from Cork about noon on the following Monday to bring with him six companies of foot.

The Bandonians were finally provoked by two coincident circumstances. The first was the landing of William of Orange to usurp the throne of the Catholic King James, the second was the declaration by O'Neill that on the Sunday after Clancarthy's arrival the Bandonians would witness the celebration of Mass in the parish church of Kilbrogan.

This was the last straw for the Bandonians, who revolted against the Royal officers. They gathered at the house of Katty Holt, described as a thin, skinny, wicked old woman, whose tongue never stopped unless she was asleep, and who, when she overheard them planning what they should do with the prisoners is said to have replied: "Prisoners! Oh, bring them to me, the popish varlets, and see if I don't scratch their eyes out!"

Early that Monday morning, before the arrival of Clancarthy, the Bandonians gathered. The signal for the beginning of the revolt was to be the ringing of the church bell but the sacristan Jack Sullivan would not ring it. Instead, his wife cried out "O Lord" Spare not the Philistines!" and rang the bell as a signal for the rebels who disarmed the troops while they still slept. Some managed to resist disarmed and eight of the Royal troops were killed, three of them Protestants. The remainder were driven out of the town by the North Gate. Even within living memory Bandonians were called "Black Mondays." For some time after the revolt Bandon was known as 'South Derry' marking the similarity of outlook of the Protestant populace, as well as the anti-Royalist actions taken by each only a few weeks apart.

However, the revolt did not last long as within a few hours the troops arrived from Cork led by the Earl of Clancarthy and Justin McCarthy, later Viscount Mountcashel and founder of the Irish Brigade in the service of France.

The town was invested and the Bandonians called upon to submit. The familiar reply was "No Surrender!" However, the town was take and in the articles of peace, those Bandonians who had disarmed the royalist garrison, under the command of Captain Daniel O'Neill were fined £1,000, "with the demolition of their walls, which were then razed to the ground, and never since rebuilt" Lord Tyrconnell thought they got off too cheap. In a letter, dated March 10th, 1689, he regrets that Clancarty had entered into a treaty with the people of Bandon until those who had formented and carried out the assault upon the garrison had been brought to justice. The rebels of Bandon were later tried and executed at the order of Chief Justice Nugent, son of the Earl of Westmeath and later Baron Nugent of Riverston.

The loyalty of Bandon was to be short-lived also and on 16th July, 1690, with the tide running against King James II, the Bandonians revolted again and declared:

"That the new charter brought and produced by Teige McCarthy, under the government and under the broad seal of this kingdom, had become null and void; and that the old charter be revived and stand in the former house, and elected and appointed Mr. John Nash to be provost of the borough for the year to come; he first taking the the usual oaths, and the oath of loyalty to our gracious sovereigns, William and Mary, King and Queen of England." It was to be more than two centuries before Bandon was to be freed from the shackles of Protestant invaders loyal to Protestant usurpers.

The Earl and later Duke of Marlborough landed at Kinsale in October and began to invest, one after the other, the positions still loyal to King James, the old fort of Kinsale and the Charlesfort. The Regiment of O'Discoll was thrown back from Castletown. The following January, Fox, the Williamite Governor of Cork, put all Papists in the County under a curfew. Limerick capitulated the following October and the last hope for the victory of King James - or for the peacable practice of the Catholic Faith - had gone. As soon as the peace was signed, 4,500 foot soldiers marched into Cork under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, remaining there about a month they set sail for Brest, landing on the 3rd December, 1691. However, those 4,500 represented only a vanguard of those loyal to King James and the cause of Catholic Ireland. It was estimated that between 1691 and 1745, the year of Fontenoy, 450,000 Irishmen died, not to mention those others who fought, in the service of France alone.

At Fontenoy, in rememberance of the honourable terms granted at Limerick that were breached before the ink was dry, the war cry of the Irish Brigade was: "Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach!" - "Remember Limerick and Saxon Perfidy!" We could add Cuimhnigh ar Droichead na Bandan agus feall na Sassonach!

First published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association blog in November, 2010.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Candlemas and Little Nellie of Holy God

Little Nellie of Holy God is no stranger to the readers of this blog.  Last year we made a pilgrimage to the grave of Little Nellie. She featured in our journal in 2014, and in my travel journal along the old railways of Cork back in 2011.  She is not (yet) a recognised Saint.  The cause for her canonisation has yet to begin - so far as I know - but I know that many in Cork and elsewhere will agree with me in saying subito Santo.  May she soon be a canonised Saint.  May the cause of her canonisation soon be opened.


So far as I know, this was the first time in living memory that an Anniversary Mass was organised by her friends for the little mystic of Cork.  She deserves our prayers.  If she is with Holy God in Heaven she can shower those graces on her devout clients and upon little children like herself and all those who need help to increase their devotion to Holy God in the Blessed Sacrament.  On the beautiful feast of Candlemas the members and friends of Blessed Thaddeus Catholic Heritage Association, including some great apostles of Little Nellie, attended a Traditional Latin Mass in the Church of the Resurrection, Farrenree, Cork City, already discussed on this blog as one of the Rosary Churches of Cork.  Our deep thanks to the community of Farranree, especially Fr. Walsh and Martha, for making us so welcome.















Monday, 11 January 2016

Anniversary Mass for Little Nellie of Holy God

When we made our annual pilgrimage to Cork's lovely North Cathedral last year to honour our heavenly patron, Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy, the white martyr of Cork, some of us took a detour to visit the grave of Ellen Organ, known with great affection as Little Nellie of Holy God.  This mystic child was a shining example of faith in the True Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament up to her death at the age of 4.


Her impact upon the Universal Church was explored in our journal in 2014, and I made reference to her in the course of my travel journel along the old railways of Cork back in 2011.  This year we are blessed to mark the Anniversary of her death, on the beautiful feast of Candlemas, the feast of the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple, with a Traditional Latin Mass at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 2nd February, in the Church of the Resurrection, Farrenree, Cork City, which we have already discussed on this blog as one of the Rosary Churches of Cork.

So you are invited and most welcome to attend this Mass to pray for Little Nellie in the Church of the Resurrection, Farranree, on Tuesday evening.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Father Prout

Today is the birthday of Francis Sylvester Mahony known as 'Father Prout'. With a nom de blog like mine, the thought came to me that I ought to make some tribute to the author of The Bells of Shandon. As it turned out, his story brings side-lights into many of the stories that I have already published.

The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a good biography upon which the authors of wikipedia have been unable to improve and which the Diocese of Cork and Ross has adopted in its entirity. The most notable points are that having studied with the Jesuits in Clongowes Wood, he spent a few years as a novice with them and became a teacher of rhetoric at his own school, the great Canon Sheehan being one of his pupils, but he was dismissed for leading some of the students on a drunken outing to Celbridge. He studied in a variety of Continental Seminaries and was ordained at Lucca in Italy in 1832, against all advice. He returned to his native Diocese, where he served as a zealous and hardworking hospital chaplain during a cholera epidemic, where he won the life-long friendship and admiration of Father Mathew, the Capuchin Temperance campaigner. Among the ecclesiastical misadventures of 'Father Prout' was to be the attempt to have Father Mathew made Bishop of Cork!

The misadventure that led to Father Mahony's leaving the Diocese - and the active Priesthood - was his campaign to be given the living of 'the brickfield chapel,' that was to become St. Patrick's Church on the Lower Glanmire Road, then a chapel-of-ease to the Cathedral Parish. Father Mahony had been the principal fundraiser for the building of the new Church, which, I think you'll agree, is a fine building, and a magnificent achievement that was virtually the first new Church built in the City in two generations. The disappointment of Father Mahony, who had proved himself apostolic and capable, was understandable, especially when met with the immovable object of Bishop Murphy (r. 1815 - 1847).

He moved to London and held his own amid the literary greats of the time, although his name is now 'writ in water.' We read in The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Dowered with a retentive memory, irrepressible humor, large powers of expression, and a strongly satiric turn of mind, an omnivorous reader, well-trained in the Latin classics, thoroughly at home in the French and Italian languages, and a ready writer of rhythmic verse in English, Latin, and French, he produced... an extraordinary mixture of erudition, fancy, and wit, such as is practically without precise parallel in contemporary literature. The best of his work appeared in "Fraser's Magazine" during the first three years of his literary life. He translated largely from Horace, and the poets of France and Italy, including a complete and free metrical rendering of Gresset's famous mocking poem "Vert-Vert" and Jerome Vida's "Silkworm". But his newspaper correspondence from Rome and Paris is notable chiefly for the vigours of his criticisms upon men and measures, expressed, as these were, in most caustic language."

The Catholic Encyclopedia is not noted for its forgiving tone towards renegades but it expresses itself generously towards Mahony: "Although for thirty years Mahony did not exercise his priestly duties, he never wavered in his deep loyalty to the church, recited his Office daily, and received the last sacraments at the hands of his old friend, Abbé Rogerson, who left abundant testimony of his excellent dispositions."

His roguish humour caused him to adopt the name of a certain Father Prout of Watergrasshill as his nom de plume.

The original Father Prout had been forced from his Diocese (Cashel) on account of a wrangle with Archbishop Butler over his refusal to agree to the amalgamation of his Parish, which he described as "the greatest injustice since the partition of Poland." Fortunately, he was welcomed into the neighbouring Diocese of Cork by Dr. Moylan.

Mahony's fictional Father Prout seems no less sanguine, although he claimed to be a French-educated parish priest, the son of Dean Swift and Stella, who writes works such as The Apology for Lent in scholarly praise of fish!

When he died on 18th May, 1866, as we have read, fortified by the rites of Holy Mother Church, his body was taken back to Cork for a Solemn Requiem Mass in St. Patrick's Church "the church which", in the words of his biographers, "was the dream of his impetuous youth," as his biography says, from where he was taken to his family vault in St. Ann's Churchyard, Shandon, to be buried in the shadow of the bells he immortalized.



The Reliques of Father Prout, is perhaps his most famous work and it is in that collection that his true claim to fame, The Bells of Shandon, is to be found as part of The Rogueries of Tom Moore.

In my opinion, it is the true anthem of Cork, although the words of The Banks and Beautiful City were handed out to every school child in the city by the Lord Mayor last year! The Bells has none of those shameless hussies pressing wild daisies and Beautiful City lifts "the sweet bells of Shandon were dear to my mind." I may stand on a Shandon Belle ticket in the next mayoral election!

The clip consists of that fine ecumenical anthem Iníon an Phailitínigh (a Kerry song, mind you) and a verse of The Bells sung by Seán Ó Sé, whose own voice is another contender to be the true anthem of Cork!

THE BELLS OF SHANDON

With deep affection
And recollection
I often think of
Those Shandon bells,
Whose sounds so wild would,
In the days of childhood,
Fling round my cradle
Their magic spells.
On this I ponder
Where'er I wander,
And thus grow fonder,
Sweet Cork, of thee ;
With thy bells of Shandon,
That sound so grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

I've heard bells chiming
Full many a clime in,
Tolling sublime in
Cathedral shrine,
While at a glibe rate
Brass tongues would vibrate —
But all their music
Spoke naught like thine ;
For memory dwelling
On each proud swelling
Of thy belfry knelling
Its bold notes free,
Made the bells of Shandon
Sound far more grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

I've heard bells tolling
Old "Adrian's Mole" in,
Their thunder rolling
From the Vatican,
And cymbals glorious
Swinging uproarious
In the gorgeous turrets
Of Notre Dame ;
But thy sounds were sweeter
Than the dome of Peter
Flings o'er the Tiber,
Pealing solemnly ; —
O! the bells of Shandon
Sound far more grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

There 's a bell in Moscow,
While on tower and kiosk o !
In Saint Sophia
The Turkman gets,
And loud in air
Calls men to prayer
From the tapering summit
Of tall minarets.
Such empty phantom
I freely grant them ;
But there is an anthem
More dear to me, —
'Tis the bells of Shandon
That sound so grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

First published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association blog in December, 2010.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Forget not the Boys of Kilmichael

General Tom Barry's account of the Ambush at Kilmichael includes the following reference:

"...At 3 a.m. the men were told for the first time they were moving in to attack the Auxiliaries between Macroom and Dunmanway. Father O'Connell, P.P., Ballineen, had ridden out to hear the men's Confessions, and was waiting by the side of a ditch, some distance from the road. Silently, one by one, their rifles slung, the IRA went to him, and then returned to the ranks. Soon the priest came on the road. In a low voice, he spoke, 'Are the boys going to attach the Sassanach, Tom?' 'Yes, Father, we hope so.' He asked no further question, but said in a loud voice, 'Good luck, boys, I know you will win. God keep ye all. Now I will give you my Blessing.' He rode away into the darkness of the night..."

Patrick Canon O'Connell, was born on 4th March, 1864, at Knockane, Dunmanway, and was ordained a Priest at Maynooth on 24th June, 1890. He had been appointed Parish Priest of Enniskeane in June, 1918 and was created a Canon on 4th July, 1934. He died on 31st January, 1946. When he rode out to minister to the Volunteers that night in November, 1920, he risked not only his life but possibly the disapproval of his Bishop, Dr. Coholan, who, a fortnight later, excommunicated all - Volunteers and British Forces alike - participating in ambush, kidnap and murder. Canon O'Connell was to risk his life once again when he met the Volunteers in the dead of night at Castletown Kenneigh Graveyard to bury their dead.

As we remember 'in song and in story' the Boys of Kilmichael, let us also remember Canon O'Connell.







The Ballad of Kilmichael

Oh forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
Those brave boys both gallant and true.
They fought with Tom Barry's bold column,
And conquered the red, white and blue.

Whilst we honour in song and in story,
The memory of Pearse and McBride.
Whose names are illumined in glory,
With martyrs that long since have died.
Oh forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
Who feared not the ice and the foe.
Oh the day that they marched into battle,
They laid all the Black and Tans low.

On the twenty-eighth day of November,
The Tans left the town of Macroom.
They were seated in Crossley tenders,
Which brought them right into their doom.
They were on the high road to Kilmichael,
And never expecting to stall.
'Twas there that the boys of the column,
They made a clear sweep of them all.

The sun in the west it was sinking,
'Twas the eve of a cold winter's day.
When the Tans we were eagerly waiting,
Sailed into the spot where we lay.
And over the hill went the echo,
The peal of the rifles and guns.
And the smoke from their lorries bore tidings,
That the boys of Kilmichael had won.

The battle being over at twilight,
And there in that glen so obscure.
We threw down our rifles and bayonets,
And made our way back to Granure.
And high over Dunmanway town, my boys,
They sang of the brave and the true.
Of the men from Tom Barry's bold column,
Who conquered the red, white and blue.

There are some who will blush at the mention,
Of Connolly, Pearse and McBride.
And history's new scribes in derision,
The pages of valour deny.
But sure here's to the boys who cried, Freedom!
When Ireland was nailed to the mast.
And they fought with Tom Barry's bold column,
To give us our freedom at last.

So forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
Those brave boys both gallant and true.
They fought 'neath the green flag of Erin,
And conquered the red, white and blue.
First published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association blog in November, 2010.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Saint Colman of Cloyne (24th November)


From Fr. Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, (1854), at pages 246 and following:

CHAPTER XXVI 
DIOCESE OF CLOYNE AND ROSS 

The first of these sees was founded by Saint Colman about the year 580. Colman was of royal extraction by his father's side whose name was Lenine or Lenin and brother to one of the Saints Bridget. He is sometimes surnamed Mitine, whence it is to be inferred that he was a native of the district called Muskerry in the county of Cork. The time of his birth is not known but it was probably about the year 522. He seems to have devoted his early years to the study of poetry and we are assured that he was domestic poet to the prince Aodh Caomh, who was raised to the throne of Cashel about the middle of the sixth century, and that he was present, together with Brendan of Clonfert, at his inauguration in Maghfemyn between Cashel and Clonmel. Colman soon after, in accordance with the advice of Saint Brendan, renounced his worldly pursuits and is said to have repaired to the school of St Jarlath at Tuam. Some say that he was the disciple of St. Finbarr of Cork but it is not likely as Colman must have been much older. Colman died according to some in the year 601 or to others in 604. His festival is marked at the 24th of November. It appears that St. Colman became an eminent scholar as he has left a life of St. Senan of Inniscathy written in Irish metre and in an elegant style. He was also a great proficient in the science of the saints.

[Another account of St. Colman's life is to be found here.]

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Pilgrimage to the grave of Little Nellie of Holy God

To conclude our pilgrimage to Cork City we made a unique and precious pilgrimage to the grave of Little Nellie of Holy God.  This heroic young soul should be know to all but may not yet be known to you.  If you don't know of her, you can find accounts of her life here, here and here.

Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J., visited her grave in 1911.  His account can be found here.

Little Nellie should be better known, better loved, better honoured.  Her memory, like her earthly remains, seems to suffer the same fate as Holy God abandoned in the tabernacle.










Pilgrimage in honour of Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy

The members and friends of Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy's Catholic Heritage Association made a pilgrimage again this year to the Cathedral of Ss. Mary and Anne in Cork City for a Traditional Latin Mass. The report of the Mass last year can be found here. Several accounts of the life of Blessed Thaddeus can be found here, here and here. One of the insights we received from the sermon at today's Mass was the idea that Blessed Thaddeus, like St. Thomas Becket, was converted by the graces of the Episcopal office from a worldling who co-operated in the use of ecclesiastical authority for worldly conflicts, to one whose sanctity adorned his Episcopal state. Blessed Thaddeus died in the odour of Sanctity in the year 1492 and was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 26th August, 1895.











The Cathedral of Ss. Mary and Anne is a stunning amalgam of early gothic revival architecture, its elegant traceries carry more than a hint of strawberry hill, and an austere modern gothic sanctuary extension. Details of the history and architecture of the Cathedral can be found here, here and here.