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Wednesday, 10 February 2016


10‭ ‬February‭ ‬1173:‭ ‬The death of Muiredhach Ua Cobhthaigh‭ [‬O’Coffey‭]‬,‭ ‬the Bishop of Cenel-Eoghan on this day.‭ ‬He was a respected ecclesiastical figure in the North of Ireland and the focus of his influence was in the land of Tír‭ ‬Eoghan‭ [‬Tyrone‭]‬.‭

While little is known about him during time on Earth his eulogy in the‭ ‬Annals makes for interesting reading as to what was expected of an Irish Bishop in the‭ ‬12th Century.‭ ‬Purity,‭ ‬wisdom and innocence were all prized virtues that Muiredhach practised.‭ ‬He ordained Priests and Deacons.‭ ‬He renovated and consecrated Churches and cemeteries and also built Churches and Monasteries throughout his Diocese.‭ ‬He was a man of great Charity and bestowed food and clothing amongst the wretched and unfortunate of his flock.‭ ‬As his end approached he did penance and made his way on his last pilgrimage to the monastery of Colm Cille at Derry and‭ ‘‬sent forth his spirit unto heaven‭’ ‬at this sacred place.‭

The night of his death coincided with a great astronomical event over the skies of Ireland when what was perhaps a large comet or meteor swept by the Earth at a very close distance overhead:

Now,‭ ‬a great marvel was wrought on the night he died,‭—‬the night was illuminated from Nocturne to the call of the cock and the whole world‭ [‬was‭] ‬a-blaze and a large mass of fire arose over the place and went south-east and every one arose,‭ ‬it seemed to them it was the day.‭ ‬And it was like that by the sea on the east.

Annals of Ulster‭ ‬1173