Saint Mochua

Saint Mochua

The first abbot of Clondalkin was St. Mochua, and according to one authority he was also a Bishop and Confessor. St. Mochua is attributed with the foundation of the church at Kildrought, now known as the Tea Lane Churchyard.

St. Mochua’s travels led him to Timahoe, Co. Laois, which takes its name from Tigh Mochua – Mochua’s House. Today the church and graveyard are enclosed by a circular wall. The remains of the outer defensive fosses are visible in the landscape. These features can be found at all the sites attributed to St. Mochua.

Timahoe is built on one of a number of islands within a large area of bog. With modern drainage the surrounding bog has dried out, but the islands are still visible as raised platforms. To move around this area of bog the early Christian traveller had to use toghers to transverse these wetlands. A togher consists of wattle or branches laid on the bog surface, which are then covered with marl and gravel until a stable surface is achieved.

These sites are linked to Clondalkin by the ancient Slís or roadways and by raised sand hills known as eskers which were also utilized as paths. One of these eskers runs from Templeogue to Lucan passing through Clondalkin, from where the Slí Mór leads to other monastic sites.

His three pets: a rooster, a mouse and a fly

St. Mochua lived as a hermit without worldly goods except he had three pets – a rooster, a mouse and a fly. The rooster called him for the hour of Matins. If, weak from his vigils and prayers, Mochua dosed off during the day, the mouse would nibble at his ear to arouse him again. The fly would walk along each line of his Psalter as he read it, and when he became tired, the fly would stop at the point where the saint had broken off until he could return to resume reading the Psalms.