Ancient Seminaries and Pilgrimages

The ancient Irish, amidst all their fierce feuds amongst themselves, and sanguinary conflicts of centuries with foreign foes, were still a religious race, and imbued with a great love of literature; and their kings, princes, and chiefs, founded and amply endowed a vast number of ecclesiastical and literary establishments, abbeys, colleges, and great schools; as those of Armagh, Down-Patrick, Bangor, Derry, Donegal, Clogher, Clones, Devenish, Fenagh, Boyle, Cong, Mayo, Clonfert, Louth, Monasterboyce, Mellifont, Slane, Kells, Ardbracan, Trim, Clonard, Clonmacnoise, Rahan, Fore, Kildare, Clonenagh, Tallaght, Glendalough, Leighlin, Ferns, Lismore, Cashel, Holycross, Ross, Roscrea, Iniscathay, Arran of the Saints, and others. Of these famous seats of piety and learning amongst the ancient Irish, many venerable ruins still remain, but of many more even their very ruins have disappeared—destroyed by the hand of time, or the still more destructive violence of fanaticism and war. The most celebrated places of pilgrimage in Ireland were Lough Derg (in Donegal), Armagh, Downpatrick, and Derry Columbkille, in Ulster; Croagh Patrick mouutain, in Mayo, Arran of the Saints, off the coast of Galway; the seven churches of St. Kiaran, at Clonmacnoise, and of St. Kevin at Glendalough; Kildare of St. Bridget; and Holycross in Tipperary.