St Hugh


Saint Hugh

Our school was originally called Cornagee N.S. but was renamed Saint Hugh’s N.S. in 2007 after the patron saint of Ballinaglera parish. Born in the fifth century  he was known as Beo-Aodh (‘Lively Hugh’) on account of his great missionary activity. St. Hugh was the bishop of Ardcarne, a parish near Boyle in Co. Roscommon. He is supposed to have founded a monastery there early in the sixth century.

 It is believed that St. Hugh also founded a school or monastery in the townland of Cleighranbeg in Ballinaglera. Tradition has it that many priests were educated and ordained there. There are no remains of this monastery to be found however its existence is remembered in the name of the parish, Ballinaglera, which in Irish is ‘Baile na gCléireach’ – which means ‘the town of the clergy’.

 Saint Hugh’s Holy Well (Tobar Bheo-Aoidh) is also found in Cleighranbeg. In olden times enormous crowds gathered at the holy well on March 8th to celebrate his feast day.  The river which forms the boundary between Cleighranbeg and neighbouring townland, Clerhanmore, is called ‘Tobar Bheo-Aoidh River’.

 On the shores of Lough Allen lies an old graveyard in the townland of Fahy. In olden times Fahy was known as Killbeog (Cill Beo-Aoidh – the church of St. Beo Aoidh). Tradition has it that St. Hugh was buried here after his death in 524 A.D.

 There are no remains of a church in Fahy but on Inch Island in Lough Allen lie the ruins of an ancient church said to have been founded by St. Hugh.

Tradition has it that  before his death St. Hugh had a vision or a dream which foretold to him the place of his burial and the season it would occur. We are told that in his dream he saw the mountain covered in snow, while the green spot on the edge of the lake was destined to be his last resting place . One other belief that contradicts this is that Saint Hugh was directed in a dream to walk towards Sliabh an Iarann and look in the direction of the lake where he would see a piece of land covered with snow. He did as directed and so the present burial place of Fahy was selected.

The Bell of  St. Beo-Aodh, which was kept in  beautiful cover of silver and adorned with gems was passed on to the parish of Ballinaglera. Its whereabouts are unknown today but it is said that many miracles were attributed to its presence.