Open main menu


LUGID or MOLUA, Saint (554?–608?), first abbot of Clonfertmulloe, alias Kyle, in Queen's County, was born, according to the ‘Chronicon Scotorum,’ in 554. Other variants of his name are Lua, Luaid, Luanus, Lugdach, Lugdaigh, Lughaidh, Lugidus, Lugeth, and Moluanus. His father was named Coche, according both to a life of St. Mochoemog (Pulcherius), which, though not contemporary, is, on the whole, trustworthy (Fleming, Coll. p. 380, cap. xi.), and to the life of St. Maedhog (Aidan), bishop of Ferns (Colgan, i. 213, cap. xx.), which is possibly based on a life by a contemporary (Todd, St. Patrick, p. 116, quoting Colgan). In the martyrologies he is entered as Lughaidh Mac hUi-Oiche (O'Donovan, Annals of Kingdom of Ireland, s.a. 605), as Mac Ochei (Martyrology of Tallaght, tenth century, edit. Kelly, 4 Aug.), as filius O'Ochii (Annales Tigernachi, eleventh century, edit. O'Conor, ii. 180), as McCuochae (Annales Ult. ad. an. 608, O'Conor, iv. 38), and in the ‘Martyrology of Donegal’ he is called the son of Oche, by his wife Sochla. The legendary life published by Fleming makes him the son of Carthach, vulgarly called Coche, of the race of Corcoich in the district of Ui-Fidhgeinte (co. Limerick); his mother, Sochla, interpreted ‘larga,’ came from the region of Ossory; another life, published by the Bollandists, calls him of the race of Corchode, and son of Carthach. His own name—a common one among Irish saints—was properly Lughaidh, and was pronounced Lua: the prefix ‘mo,’ which was often applied to it, was a mark of endearment. A different explanation of Lugid's name is given in a marginal note from the ‘Leabhar Breac’ to the entry of the death of Molua MacOcha in ‘Félire of Œngus's Martyrology.’ It is there explained to mean ‘my kick, son of armpit,’ and a quaint story is told to fit this derivation. The date of the marginal notes in the ‘Leabhar Breac’ is later than that of the text, which is ascribed to the tenth century (Whitley Stokes, Trans. Royal Irish Acad., Irish MSS. Ser. i., 1 June 1880, pp. cxxii, cxxviii). Probably there is nothing true in these notes about Molua beyond the fact of his friendship with, and early training under, St. Comgall [q. v.] at Bangor. In the life of St. Mochoemog, Molua is mentioned as one of that saint's fellow-pupils under Comgall, and a quatrain given in the ‘Martyrology of Donegal’ records that Molua was the soul-friend of both St. Comgall and St. Mochoemog, as well as of St. David and St. Maedhog. All except the last were senior to Molua. His friendship with St. Maedhog is further supported by the life of that saint, in which it is reported that Maedhog, as bishop, used his influence to prevent Molua from visiting Rome. The entry in the ‘Martyrology of Donegal’ (p. 211) makes Molua abbot of Clonfertmulloe, of Slieve Bloom, and of ‘Druimsnechta in Fernmhagh,’ now Drumsnat in co. Monaghan. The writer says he is uncertain whether Cuimin of Connor's lines in praise of the humility of a certain Molua apply to the abbot or not; but in the ‘Martyrology of Tallaght,’ edited by Kelly, the lines read differently, and call him Molua of Clonfert. The writer lived in the seventh century (Mart. of Don. p. xix). In the letter of Cumine Ailbhe [q. v.] to the Abbot Segienus, Lugidius of Clonfertmulloe is mentioned as one of the elders whom Cumine consulted (Ussher, Sylloge, p. 33).

Two versions of a legendary life have been printed, that of the Bollandists from a Salamanca MS., now at Brussels (Hardy, Catalogue, i. 178), which they ascribe to the twelfth century or later, and that of Fleming from the so-called ‘Book of Kilkenny,’ of the fourteenth century (Warren, Celtic Liturgy). In these lives Molua is said to have been a pupil of St. Finian at Clonard after he had been a pupil of St. Comgall; but St. Finian died in 551 (Dict. Christ. Biog.), and St. Comgall founded Bangor probably in 558. The story of the presentation of St. Molua's monastic rule by Bishop Dagan to Pope Gregory the Great is highly improbable (Lanigan, ii. 209), as well as the saint's visit to Cronan [q. v.] at Seanross, and his relations with St. Evin. On the whole, the lives must be rejected as untrustworthy where they are unsupported from other sources, and on this ground the arguments of the Bollandists in favour of 602 as the year of St. Lugid's death cannot be accepted. The choice lies between 605 (Annals of Kingdom of Ireland), 608 (Annals of Ulster), and 609 (Tigernach, Annals, and Chron. Scot.) All agree in giving 4 Aug. as the day of his death. In one of the marginal notes to ‘Félire’ (p. xl), an apocryphal story is told of the announcement of his death to Moelanfaid, abbot of Darinis.

St. Lugid must not be confused with another Lughaide, a leper for twenty years before his death, or with St. Molocus of Lismore, the founder of one hundred monasteries. In the list of Irish saints of the second order, generally ascribed to Tirechan (Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 293), a Lugeus is mentioned, who is generally identified with the abbot of Clonfertmulloe, on insufficient evidence.

[Martyrology of Donegal, ed. Todd and Reeves; O'Conor's Rer. Hibern. Script. Vet. vols. ii. iv.; Four Masters, ed. O'Donovan, vol. i.; Fleming's Collect. Sacra, pp. 368, 380; Acta SS. 4 Aug.; Colgan's Acta SS. Hibern. c. 213–42; Kelly's Calendar; Whitley Stokes's Félire of Œngus; Ussher's Vet. Epist. Hibern. Sylloge, p. 33; Dictionary of Christian Biography, s. v. Lua.]

M. B.