St Mullins in writings of Patrick O'Leary

Patrick O'Leary wrote "St. Mullins Illustrated - A Local History and The Life of St. Moling", compiled from Ancient Mss.   With notes and traditions which was published in 1913. This work was re-published in 2004 as part of an anthology of the writings of the O'Leary family of Graiguenamanagh entitled "The O'Leary Footprint". Patrick who was born in 1855 and died in 1925 is described as being the most influential of the O'Leary authors. He was a baker by trade but also known as a restorer and builder, a music collector and a pioneer in the Gaelic Revival Movement. In his pamphlet on St. Mullins he includes 'The Ancient Life of St. Moling, Bishop and Confessor' which is a translation of a Manuscript held at Marsh's Library, Dublin. He also includes passages on the life of St. Moling from other ancient manuscripts including one copied in 1628 by Michael O'Clery , one of the Four Master which is preserved in the Burgundian Library at Brussels.

This version is entitled "The Birth and Life of St. Moling". Copious notes by O'Leary accompany these works. In the detailed appendix to his compilation on St. Moling, there is reference to pilgrim customs at the Holy Well. These are similar to those included in Canon O'Hanlon's account and as referred to by Edward O'Toole. Patrick O'Leary also includes a description of the Monastic site at St. Mullins. He describes it as including "four ruined churches or houses, with a small cell erected at the east side of the Monastery, said to have been St. James' Chapel." Further extracts refer to the fact that "in a small square enclosure in the graveyard at St. Mullins is stone altar arched overhead, where, according to tradition, Mass used to be celebrated in Penal Times".

Patrick O'Leary also cites extracts from the "Annals of Teach-Moling". The earliest entry in this dates from A.D. 696 giving that date as the date on which St. Moling died, that is according to the account of the Four Masters. These Annals also quote the Venerable Bede's description of St. Moling as a "good and wise man, excellently versed in the knowledge of the Scriptures". Later entries tell of Danish plunder at St. Mullins circa A.D.824 and the rebuilding of Teach-Molyng by Walter Bermingham in A.D. 1347.

O'Leary also tells of the four fairs held annually in St. Mullins. These were held on 17th June, St. Moling's Day, 25th July, St. James' Day, 8th September Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary and on the 1st November, Feast of All Saints.

Aspects of local folklore are also included regarding the importance of the Patron Day on the 17th June. This day was traditionally kept as a day of rest in the parish and nobody would work. On one such occasion a local family went to work in the fields as usual. Suddenly St. Moling appeared to them. One of those present attempted to run away and he was turned into a stone at the place he had reached which is called 'Stuckan-na-Drana'. The workers who remained eating their lunch were also turned into stones. This happened at a place called 'Maol Oula' the Bald or Barren Place.

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