IRELAND OF MY HEART
Saint Begnet of Ireland and her Holy Well
in Dalkey Island, Ireland (7th century)
Feast day: November 12
Saint Begnet (also Begneta, Begnete, Begnait or Becnait) is a patron saint of Dalkey, Ireland. The name Begnet is most likely a diminutive form of Beg or Bec. She is noted as a “virgin, not a martyr”. St Begnet was an Irish princess who lived in the 7th century. Her feast day is November 12. Two ruined churches in Dalkey are named for Begnet, one on Dalkey Island, and the other near the 15th-century stone townhouse now serving as Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre, in the area known as Kilbegnet. A holy well located near the martello tower on the island is also associated with her.
St Begnet’s father was Colman, the son of Aedh in the parish of Kilbegnatan (Kilbegnet or Cill Becnait). Like many other female virgin saints, she is described as beautiful and desirable, but she refused her numerous suitors in favor of religious devotion. Her social status is sometimes given as “Irish princess”, and thus she would have been a valuable bride. She is said variously to have lived as an anchorite or to have served as the first abbess of nuns on a small island off the coast of England.
She gave her name to the two churches in the area and Dalkey town and surrounding area was for many centuries known as Kilbegnet. Perhaps she came from Dalkey, or perhaps she sailed from here to pioneer her religious order. It may also be possible the churches were dedicated to her memory by Continue reading “Saint Begnet of Ireland & her Holy Well in Dalkey Island, Ireland (+7th century) – November 12”