St. Kieran Patron Saint of  Ossory

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Revised: October 2000

According to the lives of the Irish Saints, St. Kieran was the first Bishop and founder of the Diocese of Ossory.

No one can claim with certainty the year of his birth, but in all probability, it was close to the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century.

What is known with certainty is that the saint was born in Cape Clear, Ireland in South west Cork, known then as Corca-Laighde, marked with the remains of the ruins of an ancient church and graveyard of Kill-Kiaran, close to the shore now known as Tra-Chiaráin, St. Kieran's Strand.

After receiving the faith, either from missionaries or from the neighbours who traded extensively with the French, St. Kieran left his native home at the age of thirty and set out for Rome.

He is said to have remained in Rome for twenty years and was apparently ordained a Bishop. On his homeward journey, he met St. Patrick who instructed Kieran to travel until he came to a well where he should found a monastery. Patrick gave him a bell, which was not to ring until such a time as Kieran reached the correct well.

Having travelled long journeys, he at last reached a well called Uaran, where he built his monastery known as Saighir-Kiaran, which is in Co. Ofally.

From there he moved to Fertagh, near was another well and one day he sent his housekeeper to bring home spring water.When she did not return he searched everwhere for her.He found her bones near the well. When he arranged the bones in order she came to life again!!This same story is recalled in reference to the Church in Templeorum!

He had many adventures,meeting all sorts of characters who stole what he had.He is said to have prophetised that certain places would never again be without rouges and liars till the end of time.

With so many disagreeable people, he continued until he reached once more Seir-Kieran where he found peace and solitude. His monastery flourished and he ordained many holy men to the priesthood. He was not content to preach to the native Irish but also spent time in Cornwall, Brittany, Wales and Scotland. The name St. Kieran is still remembered in many of these places.

Wells, rocks, churches, monasteries, have all been called after him. St. Patrick and St. Kieran met many times. In particular, they met at the Rock of Cashel when Patrick started his mission in Munster.