Monday, February 8, 2010

St. Oncho of Clonmore (? to c.600)

When I think of Irish saints, Patrick, Brigid, and Columba immediately come to mind, yet there are hundreds of them. So many, that at one time, Ireland was known as the land of saints and scholars.
Today's feast day is dedicated to St. Oncho of Clonmore (also known as Onchuo meaning fierce hound). He was a poet and a pilgrim. Much like the genealogists of today, he devoted his time to preserving Celtic traditions by researching the relics of the Irish saints and, in turn, he became one.
His life came to an end in c.600 at Clonmore monastery (founded by St. Maidoc of Ferns) while he was looking for memorials of the Irish saints. His body was enshrined there with the relics that he gathered.
It is said that the site had been raided by Norsemen and the church was burned in 1040. Today, nothing remains of the monastery although, nearby, carved stones, Celtic crosses, and a Holy Well can be found.

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