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St. Declan of Ardmore

Early Irish bishop and abbott

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Biography

Saint Declan was an early Irish bishop and abbot. He is sometimes said to be one of four bishops to have preceded Saint Patrick in Ireland in the early 5th century (the others were Saints Ailbhe, Ciaran and Ibar), although he is also made a contemporary of Saint David in the mid 6th century. He converted the people of the Decies, an ancient principality of southern Ireland, to Christianity. There he founded the monastic settlement of Ardmore. Although Ardmore is no longer the seat of a diocese, the local Catholic parish bears Declan's name. His Life is preserved in both a Latin and Irish version; the latter was translated into English by Rev. P. Power in 1914.

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Works by St. Declan of Ardmore

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This 12th century text is one of the only accounts of Declán of Ardmore’s life. In the late 5th century, Declán converted the people of the feudal lands in southern Ireland to Christianity, later founding a monastery there. The saint’s work likely primed Ireland for the work of the iconic St. Patrick a little over one hundred years later. Not only a biography of Declán, this text offers up rare historical insights into medieval culture in the British Isles, as it often references unique cultural mythologies.

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