Who was St Munchin?

St. Munchin is the peculiar patron saint for Limerick city as he is renowned for cursing the natives of the city. He is thought to have said:

the stranger would flourish and the native would perish.

St Munchin's Church of Ireland

St Munchin’s Church of Ireland

This due to the natives of the city not assisting him as he was erecting his church in the city, while those passing through aided him without question.

As for Munchin himself, his background is up for debate and it is possible that there were multiple men called Munchin or Little Monk. One legend states that he was the nephew of Bloid, a king of Thomond while another states that he was one of three sons of Setna, grandson to Cas, and great-grandson to Conell of the Dalgais who came from the area Lahinch and Ennistymon in Co.Clare.

It has been said that he founded the original St Munchin’s Church in Limerick city in 630, where the Church of Ireland church of that name stands today. He was attributed with founding a church called Cill Mainchín on Inis Sibhton. As well a church in the island of Fidh-Inis, which lies within the large estuary where the river Fergus enters the river Shannon. He was supposedly the founder of Mungret Monastery, though this monastery has also been attributed to St Patrick and St Nessan.

He was supposed to be the first Bishop of Limerick, though again this has no foundation. There’s little question that the Church of Limerick had a continued succession of bishops from a very early date as Limerick appears to have held rank among the cities of Ireland.

Though we know nothing factual about the man called Munchin, it is still unusual that although he was famed for cursing the city, that the city held him in such esteem to name him as the patron saint.

The feast day of St Munchin is celebrated on January 3rd.

 

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