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Saturday, 4 May 2013

4‭ ‬May‭ ‬519‭ ‬AD:‭ ‬Saint Connlaedh,‭ ‬Bishop of Kildare,‭ ‬Bridget's brazier,‭ ‬died on this day.‭ ‬He was‭ ‬a metalworker of some note and a hermit before he began his pastoral mission.‭ ‬He is better known today as Saint Conleth.‭ ‬A copyist and skilled illuminator of manuscripts,‭ ‬he is noted for the Crosier that he fashioned for St.‭ ‬Finbar of Termon Barry,‭ ‬Co Roscommon.

Where Conleth was born or who his parents were is unknown.‭ ‬His birth is traditionally given as about‭ ‬450‭ ‬AD.‭ ‬However in Cogitosus’s‭ ‬Life of Brigid‭ (‬c.‭ ‬650‭) ‬it is related that he was a skilled metalworker in gold and‭ ‬silver that lived as a hermit at Old Connell on the Liffey near Newbridge.‭ ‬He had the reputation of being a very holy man who had the gift of prophecy.

Brigid invited him not only to make sacred vessels for her foundation but also to be pastor of the people nearby.‭ ‬Cogitosus says that they governed the church at Kildare‭ ‬"by means of a mutually happy alliance‭"‬.‭ ‬And so Conleth is regarded as the first bishop of Kildare,‭ ‬being appointed about the year‭ ‬490.‭
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‬After about twenty years as Bishop Conleth set out on a pilgrimage to Rome.‭ ‬His pilgrimage was undertaken against the wishes of Brigid.‭ ‬Because he was now an old man Saint Brigid feared for him going on this journey.‭ ‬Somewhere on the journey in Ireland Conleth was attacked and killed by wolves.‭ ‬Some accounts say that he was buried on the left side of the altar in the Church of Ireland cathedral in Kildare town and Saint Brigid on the right.‭ ‬Another relates that he was buried in the Old Connell graveyard.‭ ‬An alternative version is that his relics were transferred there in‭ ‬835‭ ‬to protect the inhabitants from Danish invaders.‭ ‬He is the patron saint of the parish of Droichead Nua‭ (‬Newbridge‭)‬,‭ ‬Co Kildare.