Ó Riain, Pádraig, A dictionary of Irish saints, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011.

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Citation details
A dictionary of Irish saints
Four Courts Press
Scarcely a parish in Ireland is without one or more dedications to saints, in the form of churches in ruins, holy wells or other ecclesiastical monuments. This book is a guide to the (mainly documentary) sources of information on the saints named in these dedications, for those who have an interest in them, scholarly or otherwise. The need for a summary biographical dictionary of Irish saints, containing information on such matters as feastdays, localisations, chronology, and genealogies, although stressed over sixty years ago by the eminent Jesuit and Bollandist scholar, Paul Grosjean, has never before been satisfied. Professor Ó Riain has been working in the field of Irish hagiography for upwards of forty years, and the material for the over 1,000 entries in his Dictionary has come from a variety of sources, including Lives of the saints, martyrologies, genealogies of the saints, shorter tracts on the saints (some of them accessible only in manuscripts), annals, annates, collections of folklore, Ordnance Survey letters, and other documents. Running to almost 700 pages, the body of the Dictionary is preceded by a preface, list of sources and introduction, and is followed by comprehensive indices of parishes, other places (mainly townlands), alternate (mainly anglicised) names, subjects, and feastdays.
Related publications
Ó Riain, Pádraig, A supplement to A dictionary of Irish saints containing additions and corrections, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2022. 64 pp.
Subjects and topics
saints of Ireland
biographies encyclopedias
History, society and culture
Abbán of MoyarneyAbbán of Moyarney (Adamstown)
(d. 510?)
Abbán of Adamstown
early Irish saint, abbot of Mag Arnaide (Moyarney, now Adamstown, Co. Wexford) and Cell Abbáin (Killabban, Co. Laois)
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Baíthín of TaghboyneBaíthín of Taghboyne
(fl. 6th/7th century?)
Baíthín mac Cúanach
Baíthín mac Cúanach, saint associated with Tech Baithín/Taghboyne, Co. Westmeath, and said to belong to the Cenél Énda. According to Pádraig Ó Riain, he is ultimately identical with Baíthín/Baíthéne mac Brénainn, Colum Cille’s successor in Iona.
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Béccán of EmlaghBéccán of Emlagh
(supp. fl. 6th century)
Béccán mac Cúla
Béccán/Beccán mac Cúla/Cula, patron saint of Imlech Fiaich (Emlagh, Co. Meath) near Kells.
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Berach of KilbarryBerach of Kilbarry
(fl. late 6th–early 7th century)
Bearach of Kilbarry, Berach mac Amairgin
Irish saint, patron of Clúain Coirpthe (Kilbarry, Co. Roscommon)
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Broccán [scribe]Broccán ... scribe
(suppl fl. 5th century)
Broccán scríbnid
Irish saint noted for having been a scribe (scríbnid) of Saint Patrick’s household. There are other saints of the same name or name-group (Broc, Broccaid, Broccán) who were said to be related to St Patrick, such as Broccaid of Emlagh (Co. Roscommon) and Broccán of Breachmagh/Breaghey (Co. Armagh), both of whom are given as a son of Patrick’s sister Darerca. Ó Riain has suggested that they may have all originated as a single individual.
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Buite of MonasterboiceBuíte of Monasterboice
(d. 523 AD)
Buíte mac Brónaig
Buíte mac Brónaig (Latin Boetius), early Irish saint and eponymous founder of Mainistir Buite (Monasterboice)
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Cóemgen of GlendaloughCóemgen (var. Cáemgen, Caoimhghin, Caoimhin, Kevin) of Glendalough
(d. c. 618)
Kevin of Glendalough
patron saint of Glenn Dá Locha (Glendalough)
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Cummíne FotaCummíne Fota
(fl. 7th century)
early Irish saint, patron of Clonfert (Clúain Fertae)
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Daig of InishkeenDaig (mac Cairill) of Inishkeen
(d. 587)
Daig mac Cairill
early Irish saint, patron of Inis Caín Dega (now Inishkeen or Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan)
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Díarmait of KilleshinDíarmait of Killeshin
Díarmait (Diarmuid) of Killeshin, early Irish saint whose church is Glenn Uissen, now Killeshin (Co. Laois). His feast-day is 8 July.
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Fáelán of StrathfillanFáelán of Strathfillan
Fillan of Strathfillan
No short description available
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Farannán of AlternanFarannán of Alternan
(supp. fl. 6th century)
Irish saint associated with Alt Fharannáin (now Alternan, Co. Sligo). In his Irish Life, he is represented as a contemporary of Colum Cille.
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Féchín of ForeFéchín of Fore
(d. c. 665)
Féchín moccu Cháe, Féichín of Fore, Mo Écca of Fore, Mo Fhéccu of Fore
Fé(i)chín moccu Cháe, patron saint of Fobar (Fore, Co. Westmeath)
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Finnbarr of CorkFinnbarr (Báirre) of Cork
((supp.) fl. 6th century?)
Irish saint, patron of Corcach (Cork)
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Maol DalaMaol Dala
Máel Dala, Maol Eala
minor Irish saint, described as a son of Inghean Bhaoith of Killinaboy (Co. Clare)
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(supp. fl. c.6th century)
Náile Inbir Náile
No short description available
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Ultán of ArdbraccanUltán of Ardbraccan
(d. 657)
Ultán moccu Chonchobair
(time-frame ass. with Ulster Cycle)
Irish poet and saint, abbot at Ard Breccáin (Ardbraccan) in Co. Meath.
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Abbreviations (35-36); Provinces & Counties (37)

Section A (pp. 51-82) includes:

Abán of Adamstown (51); Acobhrán of Kilrush; Adhamhnán of Iona; Ádhán of Imleach Tuaiscirt (55); Ádhán of Imleach Tuaiscirt (55); Adhlann of Derry (55);
Abbán of MoyarneyAbbán of Moyarney (Adamstown)
(d. 510?)
Abbán of Adamstown
early Irish saint, abbot of Mag Arnaide (Moyarney, now Adamstown, Co. Wexford) and Cell Abbáin (Killabban, Co. Laois)
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Acobhrán of KilrushAcobhrán of Kilrush
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Section B (pp. 83-133) includes:

“Bairrfhionn; Bairrfhionn of Aughkiletaun; Bairrfhionn of Drumcullen; Bairrfhionn of Midíne”

Section C (pp. 134-250) includes:

“Cairbre Crom”
Coirpre Crom mac Feradaig
Coirpre Crom mac FeradaigCoirpre Crom(m) mac Feradaig
(d. 904)
bishop of Clonmacnoise
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“Cuimín Fada”
Cummíne FotaCummíne Fota
(fl. 7th century)
early Irish saint, patron of Clonfert (Clúain Fertae)
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Section D (pp. 251-278) includes:

“Daghán of Ennereilly”
“Daigh of Inishkeen”

Section E (pp. 279-298) includes:

“Eacha of Cluain Réadach; Eachaidh of Tallaght”
“Éadaoin of Tumna”

Section F (pp. 299-359) includes:

“Fachtna; Fachtna, associate of Patrick; Fachtna of Kiltoom; Fachtna of Ros Mic Earca; Fachtna of Ross Carbery”
“Fáilbhe of Diseart Cinn Chláir; Fáilbhe of Iona; Fáilbhe of Killower; Fáilbhe of Rathvilly”
“Faithleach of Cloontuskert; Faithleann of Innisfallen”
“Faoileann of Killeely”
“Faolán of Aachen; Faolán of Kiltullagh; Faolán of Murher; Faolán of Strathearn; Faolán of Strathfillan; Faolchú of Iona”
“Feadhbhear of Boho”
“Fearghas, bishop in Uí Mhaine; Fearghas of Downpatrick; Fearghas of Iniskeen; Fearghas son of Colmán Beag”
“Feargna of Ceall Mhic na Fhile; Feargna son of Ainmhire; Feargna Briot of Iona”
“Feathghna Fighleach; Féichín of Fore”
“Feidhealm; Feidhealm daughter of Rónán; Feidhealm Ruadh”
Index of parishes (585-616); index of other places (617-632); index of alternate (mainly anglicized) names (633-635); index of subjects (636-651); index of feastdays (652-660).
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2011, last updated: May 2023