23 June ~ St. Mochaoi

Born in Ireland; died c. 493. Saint Moeliai was baptized by SaintPatrick, who appointed him abbot over Nendrum, where he had SaintsFinian and Colman among his disciples (Benedictines).________St Mochaoi has been anglicised as St Mahee pronounced Mah hee with thestress on the ee.

His monastic site is at Nendrum on Mahee Island. Mahee island is nowlinked to another island and to the mainland bycauseways that can take a single car. It is a lovely drive there, thehedgerows are in bloom with wild flowers and fuscias and the clear waterof Strangford lough was smooth and windless.The Nendrum monastic site has a small carpark for about 8 cars. Thefirst thing you realise is how high it is up the island which is itselfa submerged drumlin – the advancing iceflows rounded the landscape tomake this part of Ireland look like a basket of eggs – and this eggalong with others got flooded.The monastery is on the highest peak and is surrounded by an outer wallor cashel and an inner cashel. There is a causeway bridge up to thefirst level between the two cashels and it is believed that this wouldhave been a hive of activity. Although the monastery is quiet today, inthe 5th century the waterways of Ireland were the main roads so themonastery was likely tohave been a thriving community.To enter the inner cashel one has to walk in single file through a smallpassageway, probably this was some form of defence as was the roundtower of which only the stump remains. The remains of the church areclearly seen and face due east. At the South west corner the old sundialhas been reconstructed. There is a graveyard just beyond the west doorand if you go beyond the inner cashel wall again on the west side thereare the foundations of many round monastic cells.

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