(d. c. 530)

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(d. c.530),

abbot. The son of Ainmire and born in Meath, Enda became a soldier in early life and then a monk. He was trained in Ninian's monastery of Whithorn (Galloway). He returned to Drogheda, founded monasteries in the Boyne valley, and finally settled in Inishmore in the Aran Islands. This became his principal monastery, to which he brought his numerous disciples, one of whom was reputed to be Ciaran of Clonmacnoise.

Enda was the earliest organizer of Irish monasticism; his work preceded that of the more influential Finnian of Clonard: hence he was the pioneer of a very important movement which affected many in Ireland, England, and on the Continent. His Legend abounds in unreliable information about his early life, attributing to his sister Fanchea a preponderant role in his every important decision and claiming that he made a journey to Rome to be ordained. More authentic memorials of him survive at Tighlagheany at Inishmore, where he was buried, and where there are notable monastic remains, some of which date to his time. Feast: 21 March.

AA.SS. Mart. III (1688), 267–74; V.S.H., ii. 60–75; The Irish Saints, pp. 147–9.

Subjects: Christianity.

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