Fachtna of Rosscarbery

Not to be confused with Saint Fachanan of Kilfenora, whose feast day is 20 December or with Fachtna of Kiltoom whose feast day is 14 November)

Fachtna of Rosscarbery, known also as Fachanan, was the founder of the monastery of Rosscarbery (Ros Ailithir), County Cork. He died around 600.


He established a monastery and school in the area now known as Rosscarbery towards the end of the sixth century.[1] His monastery became the principal monastery of west Cork, and later had a famous Scripture school known as the School of Ross. Brendan, the Navigator, taught in this school, which was crowded by students from every land.[2] It flourished for three hundred years and survived in some form until the coming of the Normans to Ireland. It was the centre from which the Diocese of Ross developed.

Fachtna, born at a place called Tulachteann, was one of the pupils of Saint Ita and studied at Saint Finbarr's school at Loch Eirce (Gougane Barra). Before establishing the monastic school of Ross, he founded the monastery of Molana on an island in the Blackwater, near Youghal.[3]

In some Latin documents he is called Fachtna Facundus (Fachtna the Eloquent) and even spoken of as Sanctus Facundus. In Irish records he is generally referred to as Mac Mongach (Hairy Child), because he was reported to have been born with his head covered with hair. The interpretation of this phrase by James Ussher and others as meaning Son of Mongach was rejected by Mervyn Archdall.[3]

The description of Saint Fachtna in Cuimin of Connor's poem on the characteristic virtues of the Irish saints is:

Fachtna, the generous and steadfast, loved
To instruct the crowds in concert,
He never spoke that which was mean,
Nor aught but what was pleasing to his Lord. [3]

Mention is made of Fachtna and Conall of Ros Ailithir within the scholia of the Félire Óengusso in connection with Ciarán of Saigir the Elder who was born and raised on Cape Clear Island.[4]


His feast day was 14 August but, since in the General Roman Calendar that date is now occupied by the memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Fachtna is now venerated, even in the Diocese of Ross, on 13 August. But not in the Orthodox Church where he continues to be venerated on 14 August in the Church calendar.


St. Fachtna is the Patron Saint of the Diocese of Ross.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Saintly People", Diocese of Cork and Ross
  2. ^ O'Halloran, W. Early Irish History and Antiquities and the History of West Cork, 1916
  3. ^ a b c Mervyn Archdall, Monasticum Hibernicum ; or an History of the Abbies, Priories, and other Religious Houses in Ireland (Dublin, 1786), vol. 1, pp. 142–144; reproduced also in Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Vol VII, 1871, pp. 485-488
  4. ^ Ă“engus of Tallaght (1905). Stokes, Whitley (ed.). The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee. Henry Bradshaw Society. 29. London. p. 89.

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