Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Saint Iotharnaisc of Clane

Today marks the feast of a Kildare saint, Iotharnaisc of Clane and below is a post from my own site Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae in which I have gathered together some information on his life. In the Irish sources our saint is linked with another holy man, Ultan Tua, but Saint Iotharnaisc is even better known in Scotland where his feast day appears in the early sixteenth-century Breviary of Aberdeen:

December 22 is the feast of Saint Iotharnaisc of Clane, County Kildare, whom we met last year in a post on Saint Ultan Tua. It seems that Saint Iotharnaisc also had a Scottish link, where he appears under the Latinization of his name, Saint Ethernascus or as Saint Athernaise the Hermit or the Mute of Fife. It is interesting that he retains his reputation for maintaining the discipline of silence in both countries. Dom Michael Barrett has an entry for Saint Ethernascus in his calendar of the Scottish saints:
22 St. Ethernascus, Confessor. 
FROM his retired life and spirit of recollection this Irish saint was known as "Ethernascus, who spoke not," or "The Silent." He was one of the chief patrons of Clane, in the county of Kildare. It is difficult to determine what was his precise connection with Scotland, but his office occurs with a proper prayer in the Breviary of Aberdeen. The church of Lathrisk, in Fifeshire, was dedicated to St. Ethernascus conjointly with St. John the Evangelist.

Dom Michael Barrett, O.S.B., A Calendar of Scottish Saints (Fort Augustus, 1919), 180.

Bishop Forbes supplies the collect for the day from the Breviary of Aberdeen:
ETHERNASCUS, C. December 22.— 
The Breviary gives only a collect. "O God, who didst will that the soul of blessed Ethernascus, thy confessor, should penetrate to the stars of heaven, vouchsafe that, as we celebrate his venerable birthday, we may, by his intercessions, be deemed of thy mercy, in respect of his merits, meet to ascend to the joys of his blessed life, through our Lord." There is an antiphon to the Magnificat, but no lections to the feast. 
In the Irish Kalendars, under this day, we find, in the Felire of Aengus— 
Itharnaisc nad labrae.
[Itharnaisc who spoke not.] 
In the Martyrology of Donegal, "Ultan Tua and Iotharnaisc, two saints who are (buried or principally venerated) at Claonadh, i.e. a church which is in Ui Faelain in Leinster." This is Clane, in the county of Kildare. 
He is of Lathrisk in Fife, where we find a church dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and S. Ethernasc by David de Burnham on the v. of the Kalends of August 1243.—(Regist. Priorat. S. And. 348; 0. S. A vi p. 15.) The name Lanthrisk, or Lathrisk, contains evidently the Welsh Llan, which we find in Scotland elsewhere, as at Lumphanan, and Panmure and Panbride— the p and l being interchangeable, as we find in the Spanish where plenus becomes lleno. It is quite in accordance with probability that a Kildare saint should be found in the Church of Kenneth Macalpin. Thus we have a Cellach, at once abbot of Iona and Kildare, who died in 865.—(Grub, Eccl. Hist. i. 168.)

Alexander Penrose Forbes, D.C.L. Bishop of Brechin, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, (1872), 334.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Ember Days or Quarter Tense

Today is the Ember Wednesday in Advent. Etymologically speaking, however, the word is another example of the theological superiority of the Irish Gaelic language over the Saxon. In Latin, the term is Quatuor Tempora, the Four Times. French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, as may be expected of Romance Languages, retain this form. However, even German retains this root in description of the four periods of fasting that equate roughly with the four seasons of the year.

In English, however, the term 'Ember' derives from the connection of the two roots ymb (meaning around), and ryne (meaning a circuit or course). From this, it might be thought that there is a confusion with Rogation Days. However, it seems to refer instead to the distribution of the days throughout the year. The potential for confusion with Rogations is the greater in Welsh, however, which speaks of Ember Weeks as Wythnos y cydgorian (the Week of the Processions). Quarter Tense, a more arcane English term, follows the general usage of Christendom.

Irish Gaelic, on the other hand, retains the general reference to the Four Times in referring to Laethanta na gCeithre Thráth or the days of the Four Times.

Guéranger assigns the practice of Quarter Tense to the Prophet Zacheriah, Chapter viii, Verse 19: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love ye truth and peace."

The Douay-Rheims version notes for this verse that: "They fasted, on the ninth day of the fourth month, because on that day Nabuchodonosor took Jerusalem, Jer. 52. 6. On the tenth day of the fifth month, because on that day the temple was burnt, Jer. 52. 12. On the third day of the seventh month, for the murder of Godolias, Jer. 41. 2. And on the tenth day of the tenth month, because on that day the Chaldeans began to besiege Jerusalem, 4 Kings 25. 1. All these fasts, if they will be obedient for the future, shall be changed, as is here promised, into joyful solemnities."

The Irish understanding of the four quarters of the year needs no explanation for anyone familiar with the Gaelic calendar.

Some point to specific Celtic origins, linked to the Celtic custom of observing various festivals at three-month intervals: Imbolc, Baeltaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain. The quarterly or seasonal nature of Ember Time is typical of a society living in harmony with its environment and a society that recognises the inherant links between the spiritual and the natural.

Is it going too far to say that traditional Catholicism retained this sense of harmony but that it has been lost since Vatican II? Perhaps it is no coincidence that there has been a rise in interest in paganist practices and language relating the spiritual to the natural since the majority of Catholics have been deprived of traditional Catholic devotions.

A Latin rhyme gives the timing of the four Ember Weeks:

Dant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angariâ quarta sequens feria.

An old English rhyme translates it as follows:

Fasting days and Emberings be
Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.

There has been plenty of discussion on the blogosphere this week about the fact that the calendar rubrics of John XXIII place the September Ember Week after the third Sunday rather than after 14th September or "Holyrood".

Mention of the Irish links to Ember Days would not be complete without some mention of the Irish spirit of ascetisism and fasting. For example, in the Manuscript Materials of Irish History by Professor O'Curry there is reference to Laethanta na gCeithre Thráth in the Rule of St. Carthage, in that part where the Saint speaks of the order of refection and of the refectory, at line 114 he says:

A tredan [three days total fast] every quarter to those
Who fast not every month,
Is required in the great territories,
In which is the Faith of Christ.

Interestingly, it would appear that the Holy See dispensed from the abstinence from flesh meat on Ember Saturdays outside Lent in Ireland in 1912.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Religious Houses of Naas (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlviii, at p. 489:

Naas formerly a place of importance as the kings of Leinster resided at Naas. It is a market town and borough.

The baron of Naas founded the priory of canons regular of St. Augustine in the 12th century.

AD 1317 Thomas was prior.

In the reign of Elizabeth it was discovered that part of the possessions of this house was concealed by Edward Misset of Dowdington. Richard Mannering obtained by patent AD 1553 the possessions of this house value yearly 35 18s 2d

The Dominican abbey in the centre of the town was erected by the family of Eustace for this order under the invocation of St. Eustachius, martyr, AD 1355 from whose family they were descended. At the dissolution of monasteries the property of this house was granted to Sir Thomas Luttrell who assigned them to John Travers, knight. A public inn has been erected on the site of this monastery.

The Augustinian abbey of Eremites was founded in the year 1484. Its ruins are still to be seen at the foot of the mount which lies at the farther end of the town. June 6th, twenty sixth of queen Elizabeth, a lease of this abbey for the term of fifty years was granted to Nicholas Aylmer.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Back on the Rails VII - The Newmarket Branch Line

Since I'm back on the rails again after a long pause, I hope you won't mind if I take a break from the West Cork line to go north and follow a branch line that covered nearly 9 miles, crossing the River Dalua at Kanturk and down towards the River Blackwater where it meets the main line (still open) between Mallow and Millstreet at Banteer. The Newmarket to Banteer Branch Line was opened in 1889, built by local notables who had formed the Banteer and Newmarket Railway Company. After four years it was taken over by the Great Southern and Western Railway.

A daily service ran until 'the Emergency' when, in 1942, it suffered a temporary closure. Only a goods service recommenced in 1956 and was finally closed in 1963. A few Parliamentary Questions set the scene, in 1946, 1948, in 1954 and in 1956.

We are in the Barony of Duhallow, a land of poetry. It boasts some of the most poetic scenery and some of the most poetic placenames in all of Cork, Lyre and Nadd, Assolas and Knocknanuss.

I started my journey at Newmarket. The town was founded in 1620 by the Aldworth family, to whom it has been granted by James I upon the forfeiture by the MacAuliffes, as their market town.  What remains of the terminus station is a small red-brick building now part of 'the Railway Industrial Park.  It sits in a natural valley just below the town formed by a tributary stream of the River Dalua.  The railway follows the valley of this stream and then the River Dalua down to Kanturk.

St. Mary's Parish Church, Newmarket

The beautiful St. Mary's Church was a benefaction of the Aldworths, who gave both the site and a donation towards the building.  The original Altar was a copy of that of the ancient abbey of Quin.

Newmarket's most famous inhabitants are the Currans, the Philpot Currans, who gave eminent members to the Irish Bar and to Irish History, and whose family plot may be found in the Anglican cemetery here.  Sarah was the sweetheart of Robert Emmet, the darling of Éireann.  Her father, John Philpot Curran, was Master of the Rolls for Ireland, who faught the famous case of Fr. Neale prosecuting Viscount Doneraile at the Cork Assizes, which, since Doneraile had no railway, we may conveniently mention here.

Fr. Neale, the elderly Parish Priest of Doneraile, had condemned from the Altar the adulteries of a parishioner.  The parishioner's sister was mistress of St. Leger St. Leger (sic!), Baron and later Viscount Doneraile, who horsewhipped the Priest, safe in the knowledge that a Protestant jury (Catholic Emancipation was 49 years off in 1780) would never convict him.  However, he did not reckon with JPC, who exposed the falsity of the Viscount's witnesses and turned the jury toward's Fr. Neale's case with his eloquence.  The Viscount challenged JPC to a duel, one of five he is known to have fought.

Sisters Aniceta and Petronella, Sisters of Saint Joseph, natives of nearby Meelin and the former St. Joseph's Convent

It's not too far to go to the O'Keefe Institute, built as Aldworth Court or Newmarket House in 1750.  In common with other great houses, it ceased to be a private residence in the 1920s and in 1927, the Sisters of St. Joseph, founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, patroness of the recent Eucharistic Congress (and unofficially who are misunderstood in a good cause by their Priests).

The next stop, the only intermediate stop, on the Newmarket Branch Line is Kanturk.  As the confluence of the Rivers Allua and Dalua (Allow and Dallow, if you prefer) I will come back to Kanturk when I'm exploring the Blackwater and its tributaries.  Sufficing to say that there is a fine remnant of the railway station, if you know where to look on Percival Street below the Church, and the remnants of the bed of the line on either side of the road.

From Kanturk we follow the Railway along the line of the Dallua to where it flows into the Blackwater.  Finally, just crossing the Blackwater we reach the connection between the Branch and the Main Line at Banteer.  Banteer Station, on the main Dublin-Tralee Line, was opened in 1853 and continues as a passenger stop.

Near Banteer is Knocknaclashy, the site of the last open battle of the Confederate Wars.  I have already covered the execution of Bishop Boetius MacEgan in May, 1650.  A year later, in July, 1651, as the forces of the Catholic Confederation fell back behind the Shannon Donagh MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry and later Earl of Clancarthy, held the last outpost in his native lands.  His forces moved from Killarney towards Mallow in the direction of the stronghold of Limerick.  They were intercepted near Banteer by Broghill's Parliamentarian forces, who won the skirmish.  Lord Muskerry's forces fell back upon Killarney.  From that point, the war was one of siege and the destruction of the Catholic Confederation assured. 

The final Catholic heritage point about Banteer is the dedication of the Church there to St. Fursey who was the son of a Munster Prince but was born in Galway and is best known for his missionary works in Britain, especially East Anglia.