Finbarr

Life
[also St. Finbar, from Fionnbar (‘white head’); otherwise Finnian], patron saint of Cork though historically connected with Moville Church on the Ards peninsula [i.e., former Movilla, now Newtownards], and the nearby monastery of Bangor, Co. Down; appears under the name Vennianus in letter from Columbanus to Pope Gregory (AD600), accrediting him with establishing the Irish penitential; unlikely to have visited Cork where his cult developed; a life written there 1196 and 1200 assigns his birthplace to Ráth Raithlenn (now Garranes); Gougane Barra and other prominent religious sites in Co. Cork associated with him; twelfth-century life, now lost, gave rise to Latin and Irish redactions; twenty manuscript copies of modern version made in Co. Cork, 1765-1833; one Patrick Stanton produced twenty-one further copies in 1893; See Pádraig Ó Riain, ed., The Life of Saint Finbarr (1994).

 

Works
Pádraig Ó Riain, Saint Finbarr of Cork, the Complete Life [Irish Texts Society No. 57] (London, 1993); idem., ‘St Finnbarr, a Study in a Cult’, JCHAS, 82 (1977) 63-82; idem., ‘Another Cork Charter: the Life of Saint Finbarr’, JCHAS, 90 (1985) 1-13; Kenney, The Sources, 401-2; Plummer, Vitae I, 65-74; idem., Bethada I 11-22. [bibl. provided by Ó Riain.]

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Commentary
Pádraig Ó Riain, Saint Finbarr of Cork, the Complete Life (Irish Texts Society 1994), reviewed by Tómas Ó Canann [Harvard Prof. of Irish], in ILS (Fall 1995), p.34; includes the edited biographies, an early vernacular Life c.1215-1230, suriving in 15th c. MSS and later; a Latin Life written prior to 1350, known only from later recensions; an office Life extant in late Latin and English redactions that are derived in turn from from an original compiled c.1300-30; a late vernacular Life of the 17th c. based on the earlier vernacular Life; textual witnesses preserved in 58 MSS; reviewer refers to earlier series of articles by Ó Riain making case for the Cork saint as ‘a local version of an othewise widely diffused cult which originated with Finbarr, alias Finnian, patron and probable founder of the church of Moville, nr. Bangor, Co. Down’; the historical Finbarr not known to have left Ulster; Ó Riain traces his translation to Cork to developments in Church organisation from 1137 when a Connacht monk, Gilla Aeda Ua Muigin, was elected bishop of Cork. Note also Ó Riain, ed., Corpus Genealogiarum Sanctorum Hiberniae.

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