Tobar Odhran, Castlejordan


Dean Cogan notes a Bride's Well in the parish of Kilcloon, situated on the side of a circular mound and shel­tered by an aged ash tree. The stream issuing from the well was then called Bride's Stream, and the place was frequented by pilgrims on St. Brigid's Day. It was remarkable that "almost all the females of the parish" then were called Brigid or Bride in honour of the patron saint.

In describing the parish of Castlejordan Dean Cogan writes: "The churchyard of Kilkeran was pulled down; an aged ash-tree spreads its branches over the altar site. There was a holy well convenient, called Tobar-Odran."

St. Odhran

The origins of the names of Toberorum in Navan and Tobar Odhran in the parish of Castlejordan are found in the name of Saint Odhran; a translation of the brief account of his life in An Leabhar Aifrinn reads:

'Saint Odhran was born in Ireland about the year 520 A.D. He went as a monk to Iona and was a most zealous preacher of the Gospel. He died in Iona and was buried there. The fame of his holiness lived after him, and when the Danes of Waterford became Chris­tian, and their city became a diocese, they chose Odhran as their patron. The saint is affectionately remem­bered in Western Scotland, and I remember being told, on a visit to Iona last year, that there is a legend that Odhran, for grief at the death of Colmcille, dug his grave and died."

This is a likely explanation because Castlejordan was a very early Norman settlement which was granted to John de Courcey, a close friend of Henry II, when that king first claimed lord­ship of Ireland in 1171.

His ancestors claimed to be descended from Charlemange, but Norman contacts might have made him familiar with the adopted Norse saints. One of these de Courceys went on The Crusades, and from his successful exploits around the river Jordan he was named de Jordan, and his castle gave the district its present name of Castlejordan. Dean Cogan notes another Tobar Odhran within a mile of the village of Moyvore.

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