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Title: St Moluag's Day
Posted by: Young Bachuil
Date: 25 June 2004

Today, the 25th June we commemorate St Moluag’s day.  According to local folklore, and some of the Irish Annals, Moluag, our Patron Saint, died on this day in 592.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you all to remember his name and to ask for his help and guidance as we try to revive interest in our ancient clan.  It is the most propitious day for Roderic’s posting about clan representation and would ask all of you to spread the word and contribute in any way that you can

As many of you will know, Moluag was a relative of St Comgall who founded one of the greatest centres of Christian teaching at Bangor in Northern Ireland.

St Moluag founded his first great community on the large island of Lorn in Argyll in 562.  This island was the sacred island of the Western Picts and the resting place of their kings whose capital was at Beregonium, across the water at Benderloch.  Next to Bachuil stands Cnoc Aingeil  (“the hill of fire”), the man made mound upon which the funeral pyres were lit.

Early Celtic monasteries comprised a group of huts enclosed by a protective rampart.  The Gaelic for this enclosure or fort is Lios and subsequently the Isle of Lorn became known as Lios Mòr or Lismore.  Under Brehon law the foundation of a monastery usually commenced by a grant of a royal rath or fort and there is one such fort called Tirefour on the coast of Lismore in front of Bachuil.  On a visit to the island Columba rather disparagingly asked “Is this what you call a Lios mor?” to which Moluag’s reply was “Yes, it is a Lios thorrach” – a pregnant enclosure.  This was apt as, from Lismore, Moluag went on to found two other great centres in the land of the Picts at Rosemarkie and Mortlach.  These were his three centres of teaching and it is significant that all three were to become the seats of the Roman Catholic Sees of the Isles, Ross and Aberdeen.

Moluag died in 592 of old age.  When the abbot of a monastery died, certain well defined and detailed rules were followed in appointing his "comarba" (or coarb) or heir of the holy functions and authority which he exercised.  The office was hereditary within the fine erluma, the kin of the founder saint, whom failing the fine grin, the kin of the dynastic granter of the land.  Generally an incumbent would nominate his successor who would be given the Bachull Mor, the traditional symbol of the Abbot’s authority. 

The Bachull Mor was treated with veneration akin to awe by the people. Like the staff of St. Patrick, the famous Bachull Isu, the staff of Moluag possessed, in the simple faith of the times, miraculous powers.  Sadly the Bachull Isu was burnt in Dublin by the English and the Bachull Mor is one of the oldest surviving croziers.  Even in latter days, the Barons of Bachuil were at one time chancellors of the cathedral, and as such had to visit the landowners throughout the diocese to receive the dues accruing to the church. On these occasions the Baron carried the Bachull Mor, at sight of which all men were bound to pay him homage.

You may be interested to know that at the Consecration and Installation of the Reverend Canon Martin Shaw as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles on the 8th June 2004, my father, as Coarb of St Moluag, took part in the ceremony, and the Bachull Mor was greatly venerated.

In the hope that we will soon a have a gathering on Lismore and that I will be able to meet you all then.

With affection,

Niall

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Replies

Title:Date:Posted By:
St Moluag's Day25 June 2004Young Bachuil
   St Moluag's Day25 June 2004Michael Livingston
      St Moluag's Day25 June 2004Young Bachuil

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