Thursday, October llth 1838.

Dear Sir,

I have already written about the parishes of Kilcolgan and Killeely without recognizing that we have any historical reference to either. It appears however from the tract written by Aengus the Festilogist on the maternal genealogy of the Irish Saints that both these churches were anciently celebrated, and dedicated to, or, rather built by St. Colgan, and his sister Faoile. Every doubt of the identity of Kilcolgan and Killeely with (the) Cill Cholgain and Cill Fhaoile of Aengus and Colgan


is removed by the description of their situation, "near Ath Cliath Medhruidhe", Wch. is the ancient name of Clarin Bridge, in the immediate vicinity of which Kilcolgan and Kill-Fhaoile are situated. From the pedigree of these saints as given by Colgan in Acta Sanctorum it appears that they were of the race of the Hy-Fiachrach Aidhne in whose country, {which was erected into the Diocese of Kilmacduagh,} both churches and their parishes are situated.

I here insert what Colgan, the Franciscan, has collected about this pair of saints who appear to have been chaste and pious though their mother had not been so, but it must be remembered that the rose is produced by the thorn, and that good is often generated from evil.


[Hand of Patrick O'Keeffe:]

KILCOLGAN (Dunkellin Barony) AA. SS. page 380. col: a XX February


XX February AA.SS. p. 380 col: a

I. One of that great train of holy disciples, which partly followed, {&} partly accompanied S. ColumbKille into Britain, was S. Colgus or Colganus the son of Aidus sprung from the illustrious (1) and formerly powerful family of the Fiachrians in Connaught. For he was for many years the disciple of S. Columba in the Island of Hy. {&c &c - he is mentioned by Adamnan}


{381. col. a}III. But the name of his mother, and the sin here related {which was} committed by her, {it was the sin of adultery, which she committed with Falbeus the son of Aidus, afterwards (4) King of Munster,} is indicated by Aengus in his book on the maternal genealogy of the saints of Ireland, where he makes mention of his sister S. Foilennia (5) saying: Cuillenda was the mother of S. Colganus the son of Aidus of Kill-Colgan near


Ath-Cliath Medhruidhe, and of his sister Failennia (Faoilenn) near (beside) it; Cuillenda the mother of S. Colganus, who was educated for some time in Magh-ullenn, nefariously committed at Cashel a clandestine crime with Falveus King of Cashel.

{381. col: b:} IV. The Sanctilogium gen. c. 9. and others (8) our historians mention not only this his sister, who in the County of Galway and Diocese of Kilmacduagh (6) is renowned even to our own days on account of the public veneration {paid her} and the daily miracles {performed through her intercession}, but also two others (7) her brothers enrolled in the list of the saints, namely Aidus, and Sorarius; and they refer their race to Fiachra the son of Eochy Moymedhoin, from whom the family of the Fiachrians has derived its name and origin.

But this saint flourished when the sixth century was drawing to a close, or about the year (9) 580, and so ran through the career of this life, that being numbered


among the heavenly citizens, he merited that that honour should be adjudged to him on earth, (with) which the inhabitants of heaven are venerated on earth. But he is venerated in the Southern district of Connaught, in the Church of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, which from (10) his name is called Kill-Cholgan; of which also he was the moderator or Abbot (11).


{381 col: b.} 4. Rege postea Momonia. Concerning whom the Annals of the Four Masters 633, Falveus Flann, King of Munster died. Since therefore he reigned fourteen years, according to the Catalogue of the Kings of Munster, or according to others twenty-three, it follows that he was not King when that sin was committed during the life-time of S. Columba, who died in the year 592 or according to others 597.

5.6. Failenniae. She is called by the Sanctilogium genealogicum, and every where commonly Faila (Faoile) or Failia; by the ancient hagiologists, Failennia. She is venerated in the Church of Kill-faidhle in the Diocese of Kilmacduagh on the 3rd of March according to Marian Gorman, and the Martyrology of Tallaght, where her veneration is great and {her} miracles daily; and hence continual pilgrimages are made thither.


8. Aidum & Sorarium. Not only the Sanctilogium genealog: but also the Book of Leacan and others everywhere refer to the origin of these to the aforesaid Fiachra, thus: Aidus, Colg., & Sorarius, the three sons of Aidus, son of another Aidus son of Lugadius, son of Dathi or David, son of Fiachra.

9. Circa annum 580. It is thus collected from S. Adamnan in the places cited, and from what is to be said about the age of S. Columba who died in the year 592 or 597.

10. Quae Kill-cholgan. It appears from the List of the Churches of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh; and Aengus above cha. 3.

11. Moderator, sive Abbas. It is thus collected from Adamnan above, book .1. c. 16. & Aengus .1. 2 Opusal, where he places him amongst the priests & Abbots.

{Though Colgan gives the Life of this S. Colgus at the 20th of February, yet he does not do so as considering it his festival day; but for a reason which he explains in the notes to the Life of a S. Colchus, or Colga the wise, which he exhibits at the same day immediately preceding the present Life.}

AASS. p. 380 col: b.

I find three Colchus's, or Colgans, celebrated for piety and learning, who flousished many years before the present {one}; two or three contemporaries of his but and also much (many) more, who lived after him; of whom if I except one or two, since I do not find their birthdays observed on other days, lest their memory should perish, it has pleased me to subjoin here, what occurs concerning them.

{then immediately follows the Remarks on Colgus, or Colganus of Kill-colgan in Connaught.}


It appears from the annals of the Four Masters that the O'Finns were the ancient herenachs of Kilcolgan.

A.D. 1132. Cucaille O'Finn Herenach of Kilcolgan, died.

The following notices of it also occur

A.D. 1258 A great war was kindled between the English and Conor O'Brien during which Ard-rathain and Kilcolgan were burned and several other Ballys (towns) were burned.

A.D. 1598. O'Donnell marched into Clanrickard, and halted at the gates of ({the castle of}) Kilcolgan (see Inquisition taken at Galway in 1608 where Kilcolgan is mentioned as one of the castles of the Earl of Clanricakrd), whence he sent forth marauding parties to plunder Clanrickard.

A.D. 1599. O'Donnell made an irruption into Clanrickard and pitched his camp at Ruaidh-Bheitheach between Kilcolgan and Ardrahin.

A.D. 1600. O'Donnell on his way home from


Thomond arrived at Maaree and remained for a night on the hill of Cnoc a ghearrain between Kilcolgan and Galway.

Ruaidh Bheitheach, wch. is now anglicized Roevehagh is the name of a townland and (country) village in the north (west) of parish of Killeely in the barony of Dunkellin. The hill of Cnoc an ghearráin, is now called Cnoc a ghearráin bhain {Knockagarraunbaun} within a mile of Clarin Bridge. A fair is held on this hill, which they are going to remove to Clarinbridge. It should be shewn on the plan.

Your obedient Servt.,
John O'Donovan