Faithful Friday: Aedh Mac Cairthinn of Clogher

By T.K. Wilson (Rated G)

Not much is known about the early life of Aedh Mac Cairthinn of Clogher. It is supposed by some that he was a prince of one of the kingdoms of Connaught or may have been the uncle of St. Bridget. In any case, he was evidently a large, powerfully built man who would carry his elderly master, St. Patrick, on his back when the way became too rough for him. Because of this, he was known as Patrick’s Therin Fhir, which can be translated “strong man” or “champion”.

He also seems to have wielded some power in the regions of County Leitrim and County Sligo, in Ulster, where he gave Patrick a grant of land. Mac Cairthinn was given the Bishopric of Clogher, Ulster and when Patrick died, the great saint gave his beloved disciple his most prized possessions – a silver, tin, and bronze reliquary containing fragments of the True Cross, the Virgin Mary’s hair, and Patrick’s personal Bible, along with his staff of office. This box, though fragile, survives today as one of Ireland’s great treasures, and it is known as the Domnach Airgid.

May we all aspire to be as Mac Cairthinn, “strong men”, in the work of the Lord! 


Picture of the Domnach Airgid from

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