Saint Comgall, an early Irish saint, was the founder and abbot of the great Irish monastery at Bangor (located in present day Northern Ireland), who flourished in the sixth century.
The year of his birth is uncertain, but according to the testimony of the Irish annals it must be placed between 510 and 520; his death is said to have occurred in 602 (Annals of Tigernach and Chronicon Scotorum), or 597 (Annals of Innisfallen). He was born in Dál nAraidi (Dalaradia) in Ulster near the place now known as Magheramorne in the present County Antrim.
He seems to have served first as a soldier, and on his release from military service he is said to have studied at Clonard with St. Finnian, and at Clonmacnoise with St. Ciaran, who died in 549. We next find him in Ulster in an island on Lough Erne accompanied by a few friends following a very severe form of monastic life. He intended to go to Britain, but was dissuaded from this step by Lugidius, the bishop who ordained him, at whose advice he remained in Ireland and set himself to spread the monastic life throughout the country. The most famous of the Comgall is Bangor, situated in the present County Down, on the Southern shore of Belfast Lough and directly opposite to Carrickfergus. According to the Irish annals Bangor was founded not later than 552, though Ussher and most of the later writers on the subject assign the foundation to the year 555. According to Adamnan’s “Life of Columba”, there was a very close connection between Comgall and Columba though there does not appear to be sufficient authority for stating that Comgall was the disciple of Columba in any strict sense. He is said to have been the friend of St. Brendan, St. Cormac, St. Cainnech, and Finnian of Moville. After intense suffering he received the Eucharist from St. Fiacre and expired in the monastery at Bangor.
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