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St. Mo-Luag
(Died AD 592)

Commonly known as St. Moluag, this man's real named was Lugaidn - pronounced Lua. The 'Mo' prefix is a term of endearment meaning "My Dear".

Moluag was an Irish missionary trained by Comgall in Bangor. He traveled to Scotland in AD 562, becoming a friendly rival to St. Columba after both men tried to claim Lismore in the Inner Hebrides as their base. Tradition says that they had a race to the island in coracles. Moluag was about to lose, when he drew out his dagger, cut off his thumb and threw it ashore. "My flesh and blood have possessed the island first and I bless it in the name of the Lord," he cried. Columba was furious and cursed,
"May the rocks grow with edgees uppermost and may you only have alder for fuel!" Unmoved, Moluag simply replied,
"But the rocks will not hurt to walk upon and alder will burn like tinder." Even today, the up-ended strata on Lismore makes walking easy and the alder burns well. Columba had to make do with settling on nearby lona from where he poked fun at the small "rath" surrounding Moluag's monastic community. But Lismore was an ideal centre from which to evangelize Scotland, and Moluag did good work across much of the North-West of the country, including the islands of the Outer Hebrides. On the Black Isle, he founded a second community at Rosemarkie, with lesser houses in Banffshire at Mortlach and Clatt. Moluag died at Rosemarkie on 4th August AD 592. Near the spot, the Pictish Church later erected a traditional symbol stone as a memorial.

In the 13th century, St. Moluag's Church on Lismore was made the Cathedral of the Isles and the present parish church still incorporates part of its chancel. Moluag's blackthorn crozier known as the "Bachuil Mor" or "Bachuil Buidhe" has, for centuries, been preserved in the safe hands of the Livingstone Barons of Bachuil, on the Isle of Lismore; and an ancient iron bell from Lismore was discovered in the nineteenth century at Kilmichael Glassary.

 

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