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The Life of St. Mochuda of Lismore   By: (1862-1951)

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The Life of St. Mochuda of Lismore by P. Power delves into the fascinating journey of an enigmatic figure from Irish history and sheds light on the profound impact he had on the religious and cultural landscape of Ireland.

Patrick Power presents a detailed and thoroughly researched account of the life of St. Mochuda, offering readers an insightful glimpse into the historical context of early medieval Ireland. The author skillfully navigates through the intricacies of this era, providing the necessary background information to fully comprehend the significance of Mochuda's life and work.

One of the commendable aspects of this book is Power's ability to intertwine history with legend. He masterfully weaves together various sources, including folklore and hagiographies, to create a comprehensive narrative of Mochuda's life. While acknowledging the challenge of separating fact from fiction, Power uses his expertise to sift through the legends surrounding St. Mochuda, providing readers with a well-rounded understanding of the saint's personality and achievements.

Furthermore, the author's writing style is engaging and accessible to both scholars and general readers. Although thoroughly researched, the book avoids excessive academic jargon, making it approachable for individuals interested in Irish history and spirituality, regardless of their level of expertise in the field. Power effectively strikes a balance between providing scholarly insights and maintaining a captivating storytelling tone.

The Life of St. Mochuda is not just a biographical account but also a reflection of the wider societal, political, and religious context of early medieval Ireland. Power skillfully examines the ever-evolving relationship between the native Irish and the incoming influences of Christianity. This contextual analysis adds depth and richness to the narrative, allowing readers to understand the dynamics of power and cultural adaptation during this transformative period of Irish history.

However, one minor drawback of this book is the occasional repetition of information. While it is necessary to reiterate certain key points for emphasis, there are instances where some sections feel slightly redundant. Nevertheless, this small flaw does not detract significantly from the overall quality of the writing and research.

In conclusion, The Life of St. Mochuda of Lismore by P. Power is a commendable piece of historical non-fiction that unveils the incredible legacy of an influential figure in Irish history and spirituality. With its meticulous research, engaging style, and insightful contextual analysis, this book is a valuable addition to the libraries of both academic and general readers interested in early medieval Ireland and its religious heritage.

First Page:


(Edited from MS. in Library of Royal Irish Academy).

Translated from the Irish With Introduction


REV. P. POWER, M.R.I.A. University College, Cork.


A most distinctive class of ancient Irish literature, and probably the class that is least popularly familiar, is the hagiographical. It is, the present writer ventures to submit, as valuable as it is distinctive and as well worthy of study as it is neglected. While annals, tales and poetry have found editors the Lives of Irish Saints have remained largely a mine unworked. Into the causes of this strange neglect it is not the purpose of the present introduction to enter. Suffice it to glance in passing at one of the reasons which has been alleged in explanation, scil.: that the "Lives" are uncritical and romantic, that they abound in wild legends, chronological impossibilities and all sorts of incredible stories, and, finally, that miracles are multiplied till the miraculous becomes the ordinary, and that marvels are magnified till the narrative borders on the ludicrous. The Saint as he is sketched is sometimes a positively repulsive being arrogant, venomous, and cruel; he demands two eyes or more for one, and, pucklike, fairly revels in mischief! As painted he is in fact more a pagan deity than a Christian man... Continue reading book >>

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