Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Kiaran, Abbot in Ireland
HE1 was converted by hearing a passage of the gospel read at church. He put himself under the discipline of St. Finian, who, admiring his great proficiency and fervour, foretold that half the monasteries of Ireland would receive a rule from him.2 St. Kiaran afterwards founded a numerous monastery in the isle of Inis-Aingean, which was bestowed on him by king Dermitius. Committing the government of this house to another, he built, by the liberality of the same king, another great monastery and school in West Meath, called Cluain-Macnois,3 on the river Shannon, which soon became a bishops see, Allemagne in his inaccurate Monasticon Hib. thinks in the life-time of our saint; but Cummian, in his letter to the abbot Segienus in the seventh century, does not give him the title of bishop.4 The monastic rule, or, as it is called in the Annals of Ulster, the Law of Kiaran, was very austere.5 This saint died on the 9th of September in 549, and was honoured as chief patron of Connaught in the same manner as St. Brigit was of Leinster. See his Acts quoted by Usher, Antiq. p. 471, Suysken the Bollandist, t. 3, Sept. p. 370 to 383. Sir James Ware, &c.
Note 1. This saint is surnamed Macantsaoir, being the son of a carpenter; and is also called the Younger, to distinguish him from St. Kiaran, first bishop of Saigir, now a part of Ossory, who is honoured on the 5th of March. [back]
Note 2. About a miles distance from the parish church of Kileroghan, near the river Blackwater in the county of Kerry, is a curious hermitage or cell, hewn out of the solid rock, situated on the top of a hill; this cell is named St. Croghans, who is the patron saint of the parish. The intelligent among the antiquaries say, that in this place the celebrated St. Kiaran Saigar, who according to Usher was born in the island of Cape Clear, composed his rule for monks; although others say it was in an adjacent grotto. Be this as it may, the stalactical exudations of the above-mentioned cell are held in great estimation by the country people, who carefully preserve them as imagining them to have many virtues from the supposed sanctity of the place they grow in. See Smiths ancient and present state of Kerry, Dublin, 1756, p. 93. [back]
Note 3. Usher tells us that the name Cluainmacnois was in the provincial dialect Dun-keran; i. e. hill or habitation of Kiaran, Dun signifying a house or fortress on an eminence. Cluain in the Irish signifies a plain or lawn between woods or bogs. [back]
Note 5. The Scots honour on this day another St. Kiaran, or Quiran, abbot of the monastery of Faile, near that of Kilwenin at Cunningham, and not far from Irwin in the county of Clydesdale. In the same province stood the celebrated abbey of Paisley, described by Bishop Lesley, Descript. Scot. p. 11. It was founded by Walter Stuart, great-grandson of him who was created grand-master of Scotland by King Malcolm III.See Lesley, Hist. l. 6, &c. Some Scottish writers place this St. Quiran in the ninth age; but it is probable that they have confounded him with our Irish saint, who was in that age honoured at Paisley with particular devotion. [back]