St. Ninnidh, (Pronounced as “Ninny”) was a sixth century Priest who lived on the Island of Inishmacsaint and is regarded as one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.
After St. Patrick’s time, the Celtic Church was divided into many territories and ruled by Abbots of Monasteries, only some of whom were Bishops. St. Ninnidh built a monastery on Inishmacsaint Isle (near Devenish) circa 530A.D. and using the waterways of the time cared for the Faith of the people from the Erne as far as the sea, sending his Priests and Monks to the local Churches. This would have included Donach Mor of Magh Ene, reputedly founded by St. Patrick. From that time comes the description of the area as the Parish of Inishmacsaint, later to be renamed Magh Ene.
St. Ninnidh was born in County Donegal, a grandson of Laoghaire the High King of Ireland. He was educated under St. Finian at Clonard where his fellow students included Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, St. Molaise of Devenish and St. Aidan of Ferns.
St. Ninnidh preached along the South shore of Lough Erne making the island of Inishmacsaint (Island of the Sorrel Plain) his headquarters around 532 A.D.
St. Ninnidh journeyed up and down the Southern portion of Lower Lough Erne in a hollowed-out boat, coming ashore and making his way inland to meet people and spread the gospel. After St. Patrick’s time, the Celtic Church was divided into many territories and ruled by Abbots of Monasteries, only some of whom were Bishops. St. Ninnidh built a monastery on Inishmacsaint Isle (near Devenish) circa 530A.D. and using the waterways of the time cared for the people from the Erne as far as the sea, sending his Priests and Monks to the local Churches. In 530 AD, St. Ninnidh held a 40-day fast on Knockninny Hill, during the period of Lent.
St. Ninnidh Stained Glass Window
On Saturday October 15th 2011, Most Rev. Liam MacDaid D.D, Bishop of Clogher & Very Rev Canon Ramon Munster P.P Unveiled and Blessed the Stained Glass window of St. Ninnidh.
Our stained glass window depicts St. Ninnidh leaving the islands of Inishmacsaint and Devenish. The round tower, a symbol of faith and learning, still exists there. He made his way down the Erne river, the most common and safest way to travel at that time. He preached the Gospel to the people who lived on both sides of the river and finally made his way to where the Erne meets the sea, in the Parish of Magh Ene where the areas of Ballyshannon and Bundoran unite.
Our stained glass shows the people, the animals and the flora and fauna of the sixth century, among whom St. Ninnidh moved with courage and conviction. As St. Ninnidh moves in the direction of Magh Ene, he passes by what many consider to be the pagan faces and stones of Boa Island. He travels in the direction of the rising sun, traditionally the symbol of the Resurrection and arrives in the townlands of Magh Ene, the names of which are inscribed on the surrounding hills.
We appreciate the support of Cormac and Maureen Meehan in the provision of this window. We congratulate it’s designer Jo Tinney of Irvinestown and Enniskillen, whose expertise and talent are very evident in it’s design. We applaud the craftsmanship of those at Alpha Glass in Derry who placed the design so well in it’s stained glass setting.
We hope that all who come to view this window will appreciate the history of our local Faith and play their part in maintaining what St. Ninnidh was inspired to share.
Our Parish Cemetery in Bundoran is named after St. Ninnidh.
St. Ninnidh’s feast day is 18th January.