Celtic and Old English Saints          3 September

* St. MacNisse of Connor
* St. Balin of Techsaxon
* St. Cuthburga of Wimborne
* St. Quenburga of Wimborne
* St. Hereswitha of Chelles
* St. Edward of England
* St. Lon-garadh (see #2 and #4
* St. Gregory the Great (see ##)

St. Lon-garadh of Ireland
(Lon, or Loman, also called Lon-garadh, of Disert-Garadh, or of Magh

6th century.  September 3 is also the feastday of a less well-known Irish
scholar saint, Lon-garadh, 'the Augustine of Ireland'. Below are two
accounts of his life, the first from O'Hanlon's Lives of the Irish Saints,
which includes an interesting diversion to Ethiopia, and the second, which
quotes from the Martyrology of Oengus, from a history of the area in which
the saint flourished.

1. St. Lon, or Loman, also called Lon-garadh, of Disert-Garadh, or of Magh

In the ancient monastic schools of Ireland, learning and piety were
admirably combined ; and this too at a very early period, as we can learn
from the traditional and written accounts regarding the present devout
scholar. In the Feilire of St. Oengus, at the 3rd of September, Longarad, "
a delightful sun," is mentioned, as having had his commemoration. We find a
festival recorded, also, in the Martyrology of Donegal, at the same date,
and in honour of Lon-garadh. In the manuscript copy of that calendar, a
space had been left after the insertion of his name, to fill in the title of
his dignity, the O'Clerys being uncertain as to whether they should style
him "priest," "abbot," or " bishop." His original name seems to have been
Lon, or Loman, to which the name of his place was afterwards added. It is
possible, that he may be the same as Lon or Lonn of Cill Gobhra, who is
venerated on the 24th of June. The present Lon-garadh is said to have
belonged to Sliabh Mairge, or to have been of Magh Tuathat. He is called
Lon-garadh Coisfinn, of Disert Garadh, in the north of Osraighe. He was
surnamed Garadh, from Disert Garadh, in the Queen's County, where he
probably had a cell. Lon-garadh was denominated "of the White Legs," either
because they were covered with a whitish hair, or because they were smooth
and very white.

Lon is said to have been a doctor in teaching, in history, in laws and in
poetry. This saint was regarded, likewise, as the Augustine of Ireland; such
was the depth and range of his ecclesiastical knowledge. He was passionately
addicted to a love of literature; but, it would seem, he was not remarkable
for lending his much-prized books to others who desired their use or
possession. The most valuable codices, especially the copies of Gospels and
ritual Books, were often kept in polaire or leathern cases and in tiaga or
satchels. These latter usually hung from pegs fastened in the walls of the
old Irish monasteries. In the time of St. Patrick, a legend is related, that
the Irish Apostle desired a skin on which he slept and stood, while
celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass, to be converted into a sack or
satchel, which might serve to hold books. These were then fastened to the
girdles of six attendant boys, who accompanied six Irish clerics, on a Roman
pilgrimage. This saint is said, likewise, to have been a great lover and
collector of books. St. Columkille once paid him a visit ; but, according to
the legend, Lon-garad hid his books, and his visitor predicted that after
Longarad's death, no man would be able to read the works which were in his
possession, and which were so inhospitably withheld, from one who could so
thoroughly appreciate their value. It is a curious remark, how many similar
ancient customs have prevailed, and in countries so very far remote, when we
undertake the task of making antiquarian comparisons.

At the present time, in the Abyssinian monasteries and notably in that of
Souriani the disposition of the monks' manuscripts is to Europeans very
original. Those manuscripts are usually hung in leather cases or satchels,
tied with leather thongs, and having straps attached to the cases. By these,
the books contained in them depend from long wooden pegs, fastened in the
walls. Those wooden pegs project underneath a shelf, carried in the Egyptian
style around the walls, and at the height of the door-top. Three or four
manuscripts are hung on one peg, or even on more, if the Cordices be small.
The usual size of these books is that of a small and very thick quarto. The
books of Abyssinia are bound in the ordinary way; sometimes in wooden
boards, which occasionally are elaborately carved in rude and coarse
devices. The straps, attached to the book cases, were intended also to
support these, and the manuscripts were carried over the shoulders.

A very interesting account is given about the manner in which Abyssinian
manuscripts are written; most usually on skins or vellum, but occasionally,
too, on charta bombycina. The ink used by the scribes is a compound of gum,
lampblack and water. It is jet black, and it keeps the colour for ever ;
while it is not corrosive or injurious, either to the pen or paper. The
scribes use a reed pen. The ink-horn is the small end of a cow's horn, stuck
into the ground, at the feet of the scribe. The Abyssinian manuscripts are
adorned with the quaintest and greatest illuminations conceivable. The
colours are composed of various ochres, and laid over the outlines of
figures, first drawn with the pen.

The foregoing recorded facts may probably throw considerable light on the
preservation of the ancient books of Erinn, and especially as relating to
the legendary account of St. Longaradh's death. It is said, that the book
satchels of Erin, and the gospels, and the lesson books of the students,'
fell from their racks, on the night of Lon-garadh's death. Another account
states, that this happened in an apartment where St. Columkille and others
dwelt. St. Columkille then announced to Baethin the death of Lon, of Garadh,
in Ossory. It was believed, also, that no person had such a knowledge of
books as Lon-garadh ; for, it is related, he used to understand them in a
most perfect manner. Universal regret for Lon-garadh's death was felt in all
the monasteries and schools of Ireland, and we have still some Irish poems
extant which give expression to it. There is still extant in an old Treatise
some notices of this St. Longard, of Dysart Longard, whose death brought
such confusion to the Libraries of Ireland, in his time. Also, an abridged
version of this same story is found in a copy of the Felire OEngusa, at the
3rd of September, in the Leabhar Breac version. It is told more at length in
the notes. His private collection of books included a curriculum of all the
sciences. His learning was greatly extolled. It is said, although illegible
owing to long keeping, injury, damp, or probably to bad ink, his books were
preserved for ages after his time. The date for Lon-garadh's departure from
this life is not recorded ; but, as being a contemporary of St. Columbkille,
he must have lived in the sixth century.

2. St. Garadh, Lon, or Lon-garadh, an Ossory Saint of early date,
distinguished as well for his great learning as for his eminent virtues, was
the founder and patron of the church of Cashel (or Coshel, as the name is
locally and correctly pronounced). He was the contemporary of St.
Columbkille, and pre-deceased him, so that his death must have occurred
before the year 597. He is commemorated in the Martyrology of Tallaght, on
the 24th of June, as "Lon of Cill-Gabra,"that is, of Kilgorey, in the parish
of Doonane, on the borders of time the parish of Clough. The Martyrology of
Donegal also commemorates him on the 24th of June, as "Lon of Cill-Gohhra,'
(from which it may be concluded that his festival was kept at Kilgorey, on
the 24th of June); and again on the 3rd Sept., thus:

"Lon-garadh of Sliabh Mairge, or of Magh Tuathat. Lon-garadh Coisfinn [i.e.
of the white foot], of Disert Garadh, in the north of Ossraighe, i.e. of
Magh-Garadh in Ui-Faircheallaigh, and of Cill-Gabhra, in Sliabh Mairge. It
is said that the book-satchels of Erinn, and the Gospels, and the
lesson-books of the students, fell from their racks on the night of
Lon-garadh's death, so that no person should ever understand them as
Lon-garadh used to understand them. It was of this was said:-

"Lon died, [Lon died,]
Garadh was unfortunate;
He is a loss to learning and schools
Of Erinn's isle to its extremities."

"A very ancient old-vellum-book, which we have mentioned under Brighit, at
1st Feb., and under Patrick, 17th March, states, that Lon-garadh, in his
habits and life, was like to Augustine, who was very wise."

The Feilire of Aengus, at same date (Sept. 3rd), has:

"Longarad, a delightful sun."

On this passage, the Scholiast in the Leabhar Breac thus comments:

"Longarad, i.e. of Sliabh Mairge or in Mag Tuathat in the north of Ossory.
Longarad the white-legged in Mag Tuathat in the north of Ossory, i.e. in
Ui-Foirchellain, i.e. in Mag Garad in Disert Garad especially, and in Cell
Gabra, in Sliabh Mairge, in Les Longaradh. Whitelegged, i.e. great white
hair through his legs. Or bright-white were his legs. A sage of learning and
jurisprudence and poetry was he. To him Colombcille chanced to come as a
guest, and he hid his books from Colomb, and Colombcille left his curse on
Longarad's books, to wit, 'May that,' quoth he, 'as to which thou hast shown
niggardliness be of no profit after thee.' And this was fulfilled. For the
books still remain and no man reads them. Now when Longarad was dead, men of
lore say this, that the book-satchels of Ireland fell down on that night. Or
it is the satchels wherein were books of every science in the cell where
Colombcille was that fell then, and Colombcille and everyone in that house
marvel, and all are silent at the noisy shaking of the books. So then said
Colombcille: 'Lon-garadh in Ossory,' quoth he, 'a sage of every science, has
now died.' 'May it be long till that comes true,' quoth Baithin.' Unfaith on
the man in thy place,' says Colombcille et dixit Colombcille:-

'Dead is Lon
Of Cell garad--great the evil!
To Erin with her many homesteads

It is ruin of learning and schools.
'Died hath Lon
In Cell garad--great the evil !
It is ruin of the learning and schools
Of Erin's island over her border.'"

The Saint's church of Disert-Garadh though described so minutely above as in
Magh-Garadh, in the territory of Magh-Tuathat otherwise Ui-Foircheallain, in
the north of Ossory, has been hitherto sought for in vain. Its position is,
however, no longer doubtful. It stood within the churchyard of Cashel, on
the south bank of the river Nore, in the original Ui-Foircheallain. The
Irish name of this churchyard, as still traditionally handed down in the
locality, is Coshel-Gorra, which exactly represents Caipeal-Sapad, or St.
Garadh's Cashel.

Carrigan, "The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory", Vol 2

Source ::

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