Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Berach

Article

Of Termonbarry, died 595; a disciple of Saint Kevin and a celebrated Irish saint, whose memory is still fresh in County Roscommon. He was of the tribe of Cinel Dobtha, or O’Hanley of Doohey Hanley, to which also belong the MacCoilidh family. Most of his long life was spent in the Diocese of Elphin and he built his church at Cluain Coirpthe since known as Termonbarry or Kilbarry. His sister, Saint Midabaria, was abbess of a nunnery at Bumlin (Strokestown), of which she is venerated as patroness on 22 February. Her ancient conventual church and graveyard are still to be seen. Under the title of “Berach of Cluain Coirpthe” Saint Berach is honored in several martyrologies, and his holy life attracted pilgrims to Kilbarry from all parts of Ireland. The MacCoilidh family, whose name was anglicized to Cox in the early years of the seventeenth century, were hereditary custodians of Saint Berach’s crosier, and were coarbs, or lay abbots, of Kilbarry. The crosier is now in the Dublin Museum. In 1890, Dr. M. F. Cox, of Dublin, the lineal representative of the MacCoilidhs, unearthed Saint Berach’s boat, and had it placed beside the present Catholic church of Whitehall, near Kilbarry. Saint Berach’s oratory at Cluain Coirpthe was replaced by a fine damhliag (stone church), built by MacCoilidh and O’Hanley in 916, and acquired the name of Termon Barry, or Kilbarry, that is the church of Saint Berach. Some authorities give his feast as 11 February, but most martyrologists assign him 15 February. Kilbarrack Chureh, County Dublin, was also called after this saint, as in his early days he spent some time there and performed many miracles, duly recorded in his life. His bell was long preserved at the Abbey of Glendalough, but has disappeared since the sixteenth century.

MLA Citation

  • William Grattan-Flood. “Saint Berach”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 January 2014. Web. 21 September 2017. <>