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5th century. Perhaps a missionary to Ireland before Patrick, but more probably one of his disciples, Ibar preached in Leinster and Meath. There are indications that he was ordained a bishop at Rome, then preached with Saints Declan, Ailbeus, and Kieran. Usher (Antiq., c. 16), however, tells us that Patrick consecrated him bishop. He also founded a monastic school on the island of Beg-Eire (Beggery), where he trained many including his nephew Prince Saint Abban, who succeeded Ibar as abbot of Magarnoide in Kenselach.

His relics were kept with singular veneration in his monastery at Beg-Eire, which attracted the attention of the English agents of the Reformation. In an attempt to stamp out his cultus and the many legends surrounding his wooden image in his little chapel, they tried to burn the image. Each time it was restored to its proper place without damage (Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth, Montague).

Another Life:

St. Ibar
A pre-Patrician Irish saint, who laboured in the present County Wexford from 425 to 450, recognized the jurisdiction of St. Patrick, and was confirmed in his episcopacy. Thus, though a missionary before the arrival of the great national apostle, St. Ibar was a contemporary of St. Patrick, and is regarded as the patron of Begerin, in Wexford harbour. Although at first not disposed to yield to St. Patrick he afterwards submitted and became his disciple.

Much obscurity attaches to his early training, but about the year 480 he settled at Begerin, where he built an oratory and cell. In the "Life of St. Abban" it is stated that St. Ibar's retreat was soon peopled with numerous disciples from all parts of Ireland, and the "Litany of Aengus" invokes the three thousand confessors who placed themselves under St. Ibar's direction. His nephew, St. Abban, as a boy of twelve came to Begerin in St. Ibar's old age and accompanied him to Rome. His name is variously written Ibar, Iberius, and Ivor, and his death is chronicled in the year 500 on 23 April, on which day his feast is observed. Although Begerin was formerly an island in the north of Wexford harbour, it has long since been one of the reclaimed Sloblands.


Troparion of St Ibar
Tone 8
Thou didst prepare the way for Saint Patrick by thy fearless preaching in Ireland, O holy Father Ibar.
Pray for the present dwellers in Meath and Leinster and for all in these Islands,
that the true Faith may spread in our own days, to the glory of God.

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