Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Moluag or Lughaidh

[Saint Moloc of Mortlach]Article

Bishop. A.D. 592. This saint was born in Ireland and became a monk in the renowned abbey of Bangor. He was so fervent a follower of monastic life that, as Saint Bernard testifies, he founded no less than a hundred monasteries. Fired with missionary zeal, he left his native land to preach to the pagans of Scotland. Tradition says that the rock on which he stood detached itself from the Irish coast and became a raft to bear him across the waters to the island of Lismore, in Loch Linnhe, where he landed. Saint Moluag converted the people of the island to Christianity, and then moved into Ross-shire, where he built many churches, dedicating them to the Mother of God.

He lived to extreme old age, and died at Rosemarkie on the Moray Firth. Here he is said by some to have been buried, but his relics must in that case have been afterwards translated to Lismore; for his remains were honoured in the cathedral there, which was called after him.

Great devotion was shown to this saint in Catholic ages both in Scotland and Ireland. There were many dedications to him in Scotland. At Lismore, the cathedral of Argyll bore his name. Other churches were dedicated to him at Clatt and Tarland, Aberdeenshire; Mortlach, Banffshire; Alyth, Perthshire; also in Skye, Mull, Raasay, Tiree, Pabay, Lewis and other islands. An ancient burial ground at Auchterawe, near Fort Augustus, styled Kilmalomaig, is called after this saint. In these dedications his name appears in various forms. The original Celtic name Lughaidh (pronounced Lua) became changed, as in many other cases, by the addition of the title of honour mo, as a prefix, and the endearing suffix ag.

At Clatt was held annually for eight days “Saint Mallock’s Fair”, and at Tarland “Luoch Fair”. Others were held at Ruthven (Forfarshire) and at Alyth; at the latter place the fair was styled “St. Malogue’s”. At Mortlach, where some of the saint’s relics were preserved, an abbey was founded in 1010 by Malcolm II. in thanksgiving for a victory obtained over the Danes in that place, after the Scottish army had invoked the aid of Our Lady and Saint Moluag. His holy well was nearby.

The crozier of the saint is now in the pos session of the Duke of Argyll; it was long kept by its hereditary custodians, a family named Livingstone, on the island of Lismore. The bell of Saint Moluag was in existence up to the sixteenth century; but disappeared at the Reformation. An ancient bell, discovered in 1814 at Kilmichael-Glassary, Argyllshire, has been thought to be the lost treasure. The feast of this saint was restored by Leo XIII. in 1898.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Moluag or Lughaidh”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 June 2014. Web. 18 December 2017. <>