Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24 -- St Declan

St Declan was an early (5th century) abbot and bishop of Ardmore in Waterford. . .even before St Patrick say some of the sources. This is what Mrs D'Arcy has to say in her "Saints of Ireland":

Fosterage was an educational system practiced in ancient Ireland whereby a youth was sent into the home or family of an outstanding person whose virtues he was to emulate. Declan, a prince of the Decies and one of the four pre-Patrician bishops, was given into fosterage to a Christian guardian. He went to Rome to study, was ordained and consecrated bishop there. Patrick later confirmed Declan in his seat at Ardmore, in Waterford, which it is claimed was a bishopric before Patrick came to Ireland.

Ardmore is rich in memorials of its former glory. Declan's resting place is his own 9' by 13' oratory, reroofed in 1716. The cathedral, a very ancient building that evidences much repair and alteration, has an 11th century nave and a 13th century Gothic choir, together with scriptural and other sculptures and many other curious much older features. Within it are two Ogham stones, one with the inscription "the loved one". The round tower, 95' high, is perhaps the best surviving example of this type of architecture n the whole country. Another group of buildings includes St Declan's Well and the ruins of a church.

Wikipedia has a longish article here on St Declan, containing a rich infusion of academic bickering and much intricate and barely comprehensible historical detail.

At this page
you'll find a. . .hmmm. How to phrase this? Let's try this: On this page you'll find an early 20th century English translation of an early 17th century Latin translation (and re-write) of a 12th century Irish life of St Declan, who lived in the 5th century.

Or you can look at some pictures of his oratory here.


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