Eugene is the Patron
of the Diocese of Derry, but unlike
St. Colm Cille his life is recorded
in a vita that contains little of histrorical
Known as Eugene from the Greek meaning
"well-born" his proper name
is Eoghan meaning "born under (the
protection of) the yew tree.
Eoghan was born the son of Cainneach
and Muindeacha and was educated at Withorn
in Galloway founded by St. Ninian.
On his return to Ireland he founded
a monastery at Cill na Managh (near
Tallaght, Dublin) and trained "not
a few bishops and very many priests.
Columba, secondary Patron
of Ireland and the Diocese of Derry,
the greatest and earliest of our missionaries,
was born at Gartan on 7 December 521.
In 563 Columba and twelve companions
sailed from Derry via Moville to Iona
to establish a base for the conversion
of the heathen part of Scotland.
Columba's wish was to be "a pilgrim
In the Diocese of Derry, Columba is
remembered with particular affection
in Derry City. There are modern church
dedications to him in the parishes of
Long Tower, Waterside, Ballinascreen,
Moville, Iskaheen and Doneyloop. St.
Columb's College, Derry and St. Colm's
High School, Draperstown, bear his name
as do thirteen primary schools throughout
the diocese. St. Columb's Hall in Derry
and St. Colm's Hall in Draperstown are
dedicated to the saint.
Mura of Fathan : MURA FHATHNA
: Fr. Kieran Devlin
Inis Eoghain/ Inishowen takes its name
from Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach
‘of the Nine Hostages’ +453, described
as high king of Ireland. Niall may well
have been in fact the leader of a successful
war band, such as that which kidnapped
St Patrick, but in any event, he is
portrayed as leader and king of the
Connachta, allegedly descended from
Conn Céadchathach ‘of the hundred battles’,
also said to be high king, but who was
in all probability their ancestor god.
The Connachta gave their name to Connacht.
They were expansionist by nature. They
spread into what is now Leinster, where
they provided the kings at Teamhair
(Tara) and captured much of what is
now Ulster from the Ulaidh. According
to the narrative, three sons of Niall
annexed what is now Co. Donegal: Conall
who gave his name to Tír Chonaill (then
the south of what is now the county),
Éanna who gave his name Tír Éanna and
Eoghan who gave his name to Inis Eoghain
or Inishowen. Tír Éanna was between
the other two and eventually fell victim
to both, before the descendants of Conall
annexed Inis Eoghain also, but that
is a story for another day.
Eoghan is said to have met and been
converted by St Patrick, who baptised
him at Iskaheen. It would look as if
part of the place name Iskaheen has
been lost, since Uisce Chaoin is in
the genitive case, perhaps a word like
Tobar (a well). The name itself would
seem to indicate its importance as a
source of fresh water, probably to sea-borne
travellers on nearby Lough Foyle (Loch
Feabhail). On the face of it, it would
not seem an unlikely place to be baptised.
The descendants of Niall were unable
as yet to dislodge the Ulaidh from the
island at Derry but they were soon in
control of access to Inis Eoghain. Muireadhach
son of Eoghan extended their power along
the south-eastern shore of Lough Swilly/
Loch Súilí, giving his name to the area
around Aileach, Críoch Mhuireadhaigh—the
territory of Muireadhach—which included
Fahan. Aileach Neid was to be for centuries
the spiritual home of Cineál Eoghain,
‘the descendants of Eoghan’. Kings of
the kindred would bear the name ‘king
of Aileach’, which had of course been
prominent since long before their time.
In all probability Críoch Mhuireadhaigh
had the same boundaries as the parish
of Fahan, Upper and Lower together,