Saint Finbarr of Cork


Saint Finbarr (Fionbharra in Irish) was born with the name Lóchán and was the son of Amergin of Maigh Seola anartisan from Connacht and member of the Ui Briuin. His upbringing was in Ossory (Or Osraige in Old Irish), a medieval Irish Kingdom. While being tonsured (shaving the hair on the scalp as part of a religious devotion) the presiding cleric remarked of him:


"Is fionn barr (at the time find barr) Lochain"

This translates to "Fair is the crest of Loan" and so the name stuck. After a pilgrimage to Rome, legend holds that he visited Saint David in Wales on his return journey. For some time after this journey, he lived on an island in the middle of Loch Irce. This island has been named Gougae Barra or The little rock-fissure of Finnbarr. For the last 17 years of his life, he lived in an area known as Corcach Mór na Mumhan (the Great Marsh of Munster) and gathered students and monks there to learn. Eventually the area grew into the city of Cork and the motto of University College Cork's motto describes the land time Saint Finbarr spent teaching here as:


"Where Finbarr taught let Munster learn"


Saint Finbarr died at Cell na Cluaine and was buried in the cemetery attached to his church in Cork. Legend holds that for two weeks after his death in 633, the sun did not set. His feast day is September 25th.

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