Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Cianan, or Kenan, Bishop of Duleek, in Ireland


According to his Acts quoted by Usher, he was a pupil of the religious man, Nathan; and, when a youth, was one of the fifty hostages whom the princes of Ireland gave to King Leogair, by whom he was set free at the intercession of Bishop Kiaran. He then went into France, and passed some time with great fervour at Tours, in the monastery of Saint Martin. Returning to his native country, he converted great numbers to Christianity in Connaught. Thence he proceeded to Leinster, and founded a church in a place called to this day The wood of Cianan. At length he went into the territory of Owen (that is, Tir-oen), so called from King Owen, whose niece, Ethne, was Saint Cianan’s mother. There he broke down an idol with an altar that was dedicated to it, and on the place built a Christian church. In the office of Saint Cianan, extant in manuscript in the library at Cambridge, it is said that the saint built here a church of stone, on that account called Damliag, corrupted into Duleek. Saint Cianan was descended from the royal blood of the kings of Munster. He died on the 24th of November, in 489. Duleek having suffered greatly by several fires and devastations of the Danes, its episcopal see was united to Meath.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Cianan, or Kenan, Bishop of Duleek, in Ireland”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 November 2013. Web. 18 April 2021. <>