Wednesday, 3 May 2017

St. Airmedach of Craibhi-Laisre

From O’Hanlon's, Lives of the Irish Saints, Vol. 1, p. 19, 1st January, Article V.

St. Airmedach, Hermetius, or Ermedhach, Abbot of Craibhi-Laisre, probably Creevagh, near Clonmacnoise, King’s County. [Seventh Century.] When Faith had opened into a full bloom in Ireland, its fruits began to ripen and increase as onward ages rolled. Airmedach, Abbot of Craibhi-Lasri, occurs at the 1st day of January, in the “Martyrology of Tallagh.”(1) This saint is called Eirmbeadhach in the “Annals of the Four Masters." Marianus O’Gorman inserts this Hermetius in the Calendar at the 1st day of January. His birth may probably be referred to the early part of the seventh century. The “Martyrology of Donegal”(2) mentions Ermedhach, Abbot of Craebh-Laisre, as having been venerated at this day. In a table appended, the name of this holy man is Latinized or Grecized, Hermes.(3) The present saint died A.D. 681, according to the “Annals of the Four Masters,”(4) or A.D. 682, according to those of Ulster. Craebh-Laisre is said to be the name of a place near Clonmacnoise.(5) Some doubt has been entertained as to whether this saint had been identical with a certain Hermetius,(6) Bishop and Abbot of Clogher, mentioned in the “Tripartite Life of St. Patrick.”(7) He is said to have written Acts of the great Irish apostle. Craebh-Laisre means in English “Laisre’s Bush,” or “Branch,” viz., of the “Old Tree.” A little to the south of the Seven Churches, within the townland and parish of Clonmacnoise, is the bordering townland of Creevagh, on the eastern banks of the River Shannon, King's County.(8) Some objects of antiquity are shown within this latter place, and it is probably the Craebh-Laisre here named. In Ireland there are more than thirty townlands called Creevagh, i.e., “branchy” or “bushy” land;(9) while about twenty others bear the name of Creevy,(10) a modification of the same word.


(1) Edited by Rev. Dr. Kelly, p. xi. In the Franciscan copy we can only decipher these words, “airmedachi abb…”
(2) Edited by Drs. Todd and Reeves, p. 5.
(3) See ibid. pp. 410, 411.
(4) See O’Donovan’s edition, vol. i., pp. 288, 289, and n. (e).
(5) See “Annals of the Four Masters,” vol. i., p. 288, n. (e).
(6) See “Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae,” xxiv. Martii. Vita S. Maccarthenni. Appendix, cap. iv., p. 742.
(7) See Colgan’s “Trias Thaumaturga,” Septima Vita S. Patricii, Pars. i., cap. Lxix., and n. 49, pp. 128, 172, 173.
(8) See Ordnance Survey Townland Maps of the King’s County, sheet 5.
(9) See P.W. Joyce’s “Origin and History of Irish Names of Places,” Part iv., chap. viii., p. 463.
(10) ibid.

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