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(d. early 5th century),

Irish bishop. There is much confusion about the chronology of this saint, but it seems most likely that he was a bishop in the Waterford area, one of the four who lived before Patrick organized Irish Christianity. Declan, according to his Life, was of noble blood, his home was near Lismore, he studied at home and abroad (probably in Wales or Gaul), and founded the church of Ardmore when he had been consecrated bishop. Ancient buildings there indicate the sites both of a monastery and a hermitage: in addition there is both a holy well (restored in 1951) and an ancient St Declan's stone on the beach. The week in the year nearest his feast on 24 July is known at Ardmore as ‘Pattern week’ and still attracts numerous pilgrims.

AA.SS. Iul. V (1727), 590–608;V.S.H., ii. 32–59;P. Power, Life of St Declan of Ardmore (1914). The Irish Saints, pp. 137–42.

Subjects: Christianity.

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