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E06255: Tírechán, in his Collection, claims that the bones of *Mucnoe (bishop ordained by Patrick in Ireland, 5th c.,S02333) are at the church founded by *Patrick (missionary and bishop of Ireland, 5th c., S01962) in the Wood of Fochloth (Ireland). Written in Latin in Ireland, probably shortly after c. 668.

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posted on 2018-08-27, 00:00 authored by bsavill
Tírechán, Collection (BHL 6496)

For an overview of this text, see E06131.

[...] (7) et ordinauit Mucneum sanctum, fratrem Cethachi, et dedit illi libros legis septem, quos reliquit post se Macc Erce filio Maic Dregin. Et fundauit aeclessiam super siluam Fochluth, in qua sunt ossa sancta Mucnoi episcopi, quia Deus dixit illi ut legem relinqueret et episcopos ordinaret ibi et praespiteros et diaconos in illa regione [...]

'... (7) and he [Patrick] ordained holy Mucneus, brother of Cethiachus, and gave him the seven books of the Law, which he bequeathed to Mace Erce son of Mac Dregin. And he founded a church in the Wood of Fochloth, in which there are the holy bones of bishop Mucnoe, for God told him to abandon the study of the Scriptures and ordain bishops and priests and deacons in that region ...'

Text and translation: Bieler 1979, 156-7.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Patrick, missionary and bishop of Ireland, 5th c. : S01962 Mucnoe/Mucneus, bishop ordained by Patrick in Ireland, 5th c. : S02333

Saint Name in Source

Mucneus, Mucnous

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles Literary - Hagiographical - Monastic collections (apophthegmata, etc.)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Britain and Ireland

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

St Albans St Albans Verulamium

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - bones and teeth


Tírechán’s now-untitled account of Patrick’s life (Collectanea is a modern editor’s invention) survives in only one 9th century Irish manuscript, the Book of Armagh (Trinity College Dublin Ms 52), where it almost immediately follows Muirchú’s Life of the same saint (E06132). The text as we have it is probably incomplete or unfinished, and its division into two books may not be Tírechán’s own. We are told that Tírechán was a bishop, although not where he held his see. His naming of Ultán of Connor (bishop of Ardbraccan, ob. c. 655) as both his source and mentor would seem to date the work to the second half of the seventh century, while his reference to a recent plague (ch. 25) suggests a terminus post quem of 664-8, although there were further outbreaks in 680 and 700. Bieler suggested in his edition of 1979 that there was no clear indication as to whether Tírechán wrote before or after Muirchú, but ‘there is now a general agreement’ (Sharpe 1991) that the Collectanea is the earlier work, probably composed not long after the devastations of the 664-8 epidemic. For an overview of Tírechán's Collection, see E06131.


The 9th century Tripartite Life of Patrick identifies Mucnoe's church at the Wood of Fochloth as Domnach Mór (Charles-Edwards 2000, 48).


Edition and translation: Bieler, L., The Patrician Texts of the Book of Armagh (Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 10; Dublin, 1979), 122-67. Further reading: Bury, J.B., "Tírechán’s Memoir of St Patrick," English Historical Review 17 (1902), 235-67. Charles-Edwards, T., Early Christian Ireland (Cambridge, 2000). MacNeill, E., "The Earliest Lives of St Patrick," Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 58 (1928), 1-21. Sharpe, R., "St Patrick and the See of Armagh," Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 4 (1982), 33-59. Sharpe, R., Medieval Irish Saints’ Lives: An Introduction to Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae (Oxford, 1991). Swift, C., "Tírechán’s Motives in Compiling the “Collectanea”: An Alternative Interpretation," Ériu 45 (1994), 53-82.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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