St. Ernan, Son of Eogan, Monk of Donegal
Name of four Irish saints. O'Hanlon enumerates twenty-five saints
bearing the name Ernan, Ernain, or Ernin; it is, therefore, not
surprising that their Acts have become confused.
Died about 640. He is mentioned in the Martyrology of Tallagh on 1
January. He was a nephew of St. Columba, Feilim or Feidhlimidh (St.
Columba's father) being his paternal grandfather. Owing to this
relationship, some writers have mistaken our saint for Ernan of Hinba,
an uncle of St. Columba. His monastery in Ireland was at Druim-Tomma in
the district of Drumhome, County Donegal.
Adamnan relates the wonderful vision he had on the night St. Columba
died (Vit. S. Col., III, 23). Ernan, with some companions, was fishing
in the River Finn, in Donegal. Suddenly at midnight he beheld the whole
sky brightly illuminated. Looking towards the east he perceived an
immense pillar of fire shining as the sun at noonday. This marvellous
light then passed into the heavens, and a great darkness followed, as
after the setting of the sun. This wonderful occurrence was related to
Adamnan by Ernan himself, who at the time is described as "a very old
man, a servant of Christ, whose name may be rendered Ferreolus, but in
Irish Ernene (of the clan Mocufirroide), who, himself also a holy monk,
is buried in the Ridge of Tomma (Drumhome) among the remains of other
monks of St. Columba, awaiting the resurrection of the saints".
Some writers style this St. Ernan, Abbot of Druim Tomma. It is uncertain
whether he visited Scotland, nevertheless he is regarded as patron saint
of Killernan, in Ross-shire; and it may be that the dedications of
Kilviceuen (church of the son of Eogan) in Mull, and of Kilearnadale in
Jura, Argyleshire, are in his honour. In the "Scottish Kalendars",
collected by Bishop Forbes, his name appears as Ethernanus, and his
commemoration is assigned to 21 and 22 December (pp. 170, 222, 243).
Colgan, Acta SS. Hib., 1 Jan.; Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints;
O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints (Dublin, 1875), I, 21; Adamnan, ed.
Reeves, Life of St. Columba, III, 23; Gammick in Dict. Christ. Biog.,
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