Holy Cows. The Miraculous Animals of the Irish Saints: Part One St Ciaran’s Cow

Pilgrimage In Medieval Ireland

This post is  inspired by an article I am writing and it is the first in a  of a series  of posts  highlighting some of the many colourful legends about animals, in particular cows, associated with the early Irish saints.

St Ciarán of Clonmacnoise and his Dun Cow

St Ciarán’s cow features prominently in folklore and hagiography associate with the saint. The cow was originally part of a herd of animals owned by the saints family. As a youngster the saint worked herding his families cows but as he became older he was drawn to the church and decided study and train under St Finnian at Clonard.  The story goes as  St Ciarán was leaving home he asked for permission to take one of the family’s cows with him.  His mother refused his request. As he left he blessed one of the cows who then followed him with her calf…

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