A pattern and a tradition


Sir, – I refer to Rosita Boland’s colourful and interesting feature concerning the pattern of Kilmakilloge, Co Kerry (“Repeating pattern: A tradition carved in stone”, Summer Living, July 18th) .

On the somewhat vexed question of the identity of the local patron saint, I have to state, even at the risk of offending local piety, that the patron is highly unlikely to be St Kilian of Würzburg. Of the latter’s historicity and Irish origins there is no doubt, but his particular Irish roots (Rathmullen, Co Cavan) are shadowy in the extreme.

The most likely candidate for the claim to be patron of Kilmakilloge is the west Kerry saint Mocheallóg Mac Uíbhleáin, after whom the island of Inishvickillane (now more closely associated with the late Charles J Haughey) is thought to be named.

It has been suggested that he is a pre-Patrician saint, which, if true, would make Kilmakilloge one of the earliest Christian sites in Ireland.

But all this is mere academic speculation. Much more important is the fact that the pattern continues to flourish, both at the site of the original hermitage and holy lake, and also within the hospitable precincts of Helen’s Bar! Is not life all about participation and continuity?

Whoever the patron saint, long may the pattern of Kilmakilloge endure. – Yours, etc,


Whitehall Road West,


Dublin 12.