St. Catherine’s Well, Killybegs, circa 1940. Valentine Photographic Collection, National Library of Ireland
Despite having spent all of her short life in Egypt Saint Catherine Alexandria was, at one time, among the most revered saints in Ireland. The many religious institutions named after Saint Catherine give some indication of the saint’s widespread veneration in Ireland over previous centuries, but it is perhaps Saint Catherine’s Bed, one of six penitential beds, at Lough Derg that gives the greatest indication of the high position she previously held among the saints of Ireland.
As Saint Catherine is considered, at least in Ireland, to be the patron saint of seafaring* it is natural that her cult has remained strongest in places like the coastal parishes of Killybegs in Donegal and Ventry in Kerry, both of which have Catherine as their patron saint. Saint Catherine’s Feast Day, 25 November, has continued to be observed…
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