March8th. St. Senan’s Day

Today the feast day of St. Senan is being observed in downtown Asdee. St. Senan was born near the town of Kilrush. He was educated in Kilkenny. Then he went as a missionary to Wexford, Cornwall, Tour in France and ended up in Rome. The great artist, Sean Stack of Tulihinnel and Listowel, recently visited Rome on a fact finding visit. There he found evidence of Senan between the Palatine Hill and the Coelian Hill. Near the Church where Brian Boru’s son, Donatus is buried there is a boat fountain in front of the Navecella Church. Senan loved boats and this Church is dedicated to sailors. Anyway like Senan,   Sean went to Scattery island in the Shannon estuary. There ,Senan came to set up a”strict and austere” monastery. If you stand on Littor Strand, the 220 acre island blocks off the view of Kilrush. 

 Sean was accompanied by  local historian Con O Hanlon on his fact finding mission.  There they found the ruins of seven churches, including a cathedral dedicated to St. Michael, a 120ft high round tower and the Napoleonic Battery. Saints Kieran and Brendan visited Senan there. There is a page of the Book of Kells devoted to St. Senan. The stories abound of Senan. No women on the island, three women buried at low water mark on the Kerry side. A red stone from the island was passed around to pregnant women in this area to give them protection at the time of birth. The stone was from Scattery.  

 Sean&Con told me North Kerry was part of the diocese of Scattery until the Synod of Rathbrassil held in 1111ad. There are holy wells and place names dedicated to Senan around North Kerry. Between Scattery and Kilrush is Hog Island now uninhabited like Scattery. Despite their interest in the horses there Sean&Con failed to land. Hog island figures in the folklore of North Kerry. They pointed out to me a pathway that is visible at low tide on Carrig island called after Senan. Senan was building his pathway to Clare when a passing local failed to bless the work so he abandoned it! If you see Sean painting be sure and bless the work!! 

 Scattery from Ray and Noranne’s front door.


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