St. Kevin - Holy Redeemer Parish
Feast Day ~ June 3rd
-St. Kevin is an Irish saint who was
known as the founder and first abbot of
Glendalough monastery in Co. Wicklow,
- Glendalough is a valley formed by a
This monastery at Glendalough was to
become the first of several others.
Glendalough, or the Glen of two Lakes
(Gleann dá Loch), is one of the most
important sites of monastic ruins in
Ireland. It is also known as the city of the
At Kevin’s birth in 498 at the Fort of
the White Fountain, he was given the
name of Coemgen/Caoimhín (Kevin)
He is the first person in history to
carry that name.
It is also said that he was the fulfilment
of the prophecy of St. Patrick - that he
was the one to come who would
evangelise the region of Ireland just
south of Dublin. He was baptised by St.
From the age of seven, he
was educated by St.
Petroc of Cornwall and he
lived with monks until he
Called to the monastic
life, he studied for the
Once Kevin was ordained
he founded a monastery
in the Lower Valley where
two rivers meet.
A round tower, seven
churches, two High Crosses,
a priest’s house and
graveyard are what remains
of this famous monastic site.
Round towers served as
beacons/landmarks to guide
pilgrims from afar, bell
lookouts, and places of
refuge in times of attack. It is
still in near perfect condition
even though it is almost
1,000 years old.
St. Kevin’s Bed
After a while Kevin decided to become a
hermit. He lived in a place now known as St.
St. Kevin’s Bed can best be described as a
man made cave cut in the rock face a short
distance east of the Church of the Rock.
It is very close to the edge of the mountain
and it overlooks the upper lake from a
height of about 10 metres.
We can assume that the cave could
only have been used as a sleeping
place, and would have been impossible
for an adult to stand upright.
It is quite likely that St. Kevin only
used it as his bed, or a place for prayer
He went barefoot, wore skins, ate the
nettles and herbs that came to hand,
and spent his time in prayer.
St. Kevin and Animals
As with many hermits, St. Kevin had a
special love for birds and animals and
there are many stories told about this.
St. Kevin and the birds
A story is told about a
blackbird which laid her
egg in Kevin’s hand when
his arms were outstretched
in prayer. The saint
remained in this position
until the baby bird hatched.
St. Kevin is the patron
saint of blackbirds.
“To labour and not to seek reward,' he prays,
A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird
And on the riverbank forgotten the river's name.” (from
Seamus Heaney’s “St Kevin and the Blackbird”)
St. Kevin died in 618 of natural
causes and he was canonised in
1903. His feast day is celebrated in
Ireland on June 3rd.