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The Miracles of Senan (Author: Charles Plummer)

The Miracles of Senan



The Miracles of Senan are here edited from two of the O'Clery MSS. in the Royal Library of Brussels, nos 2324-2340 fo1.241b-248a (text A), and nos 4190-4200 fo1.277a-279b (text B). In A the miracles follow a copy of the Life of Senan similar to that printed by Stokes in Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore1. In B they follow a copy of the 'Amra Senain', which was printed by Stokes in this Zeitschrift III 220 ff., from H. III 17. Of the B text a late 18th century copy exists in RIA 23 L 11 p.241 (Hodges and Smith no 9), but it is a wretched scrawl, and I have not collated it. Of the two texts A is, as a rule, the fuller and clearer, but there are very interesting points in B.2 A is the text here printed.

The writer himself calls attention to the fact that these Miracles of Senan are modern miracles; that is not miracles wrought by the saint in his lifetime, but contemporary, or nearly so, with the writer, and in many of them there is nothing miraculous apart from the assumption of the writer that the events narrated were brought about by the special intervention of the saint. Some of them have to do with the relations of


the chiefs of Thomond of the O'Brien family3 to Scattery and its dependent churches in the early 14th century. Hence they furnish some interesting illustrations of contemporary manners, and of the relations between Scattery, the principal foundation of St. Senan, and other churches and communities which ascribed their origin to him. They also enable us to identify the names of two or three places, especially in the neighbourhood of Kilrush, which are either not mentioned or not identified by Father Hogan in his Onomasticon.4

In A the tract concludes with a poem which gives a list of the saints with whom St. Senan had made alliance in his lifetime, and who are bound, on the performance of certain rites, to come to avenge any wrong done to his churches. I have thought it worth while to print this poem, as it possibly gives an idea of the monasteries with which Scattery had relations of confraternity in the 14th century. The former part of the poem in which the saints are enumerated5 is fairly clear, but some


stanzas in the latter part are very obscure, and I am very far from being satisfied with my translation of them. The text III A is divided into chapters; I have subdivided these into sections numbered continuously for convenience of reference.