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Saint Finbarr

Saint Finbarr
  • Century: 6th & 7th Century
  • Patronage: Diocese of Cork, City of Cork – Ireland
  • Feast Day: September 25th

St. Finbarr was born in Connaught, Ireland.  We know that he studied and educated in Kilmacahil, Kilkenny.  While there, the Monks named him Finbarr – meaning “White Head” because of his light hair.  After he had completed his education he returned home and lived on an island in a small lake then called Loch Irce, now called Gougane Barra, as a Hermit.  He spent his time as a hermit in communion with God, and his holiness was noted. 

He spent his life building small churches in various places, and he settled in the city of Cork for the last seventeen years of his life.  He had quite a gathering of monks and students around him at this time.  He built a monastery where it became a center of learning, and eventually grew into the modern day city of Cork, which didn’t exist prior to his building his monastery.  He was eventually appointed as the first Bishop of Cork.  His Monastery in southern Ireland became so well known that it attracted many from around the area.  He eventually went on a pilgrimage to Rome with some of his monks, and tradition states he visited St. David in Wales upon returning to Ireland.   

St. Finbarr died at Cell na Cluaine, while returning from a visit to Gougane Barra.  He was buried in the cemetery attached to his Church in Cork.  It is reported that many miracles are attributed to him; one most noted that the sun did not set for two weeks in his town, after his death. 

Practical Take Away

St. Finbarr was noted for his holiness.  He studied the faith and not only was ordained, but became the first Bishop of Cork, and an Abbot.  In fact, he built a monastery that became so well known that the area grew into the city of Cork.  Many miracles were attributed to him throughout his life, and one of the most noted was after his death.  It is said that the sun did not set for two weeks after his death, in his town.  He spent his life studying the faith and then sharing that knowledge with others.  His monastery in southern Ireland became so well known, that they came from all directions to it, and the area eventual grew into a city.