Traces of Saint Patrick in Aughagower, History of Co. Mayo

Aughagower, as the Annals of History states, appears to have been a place of some importance in the past. It boasts an array of remains associated with pagan and druidic activities, but also it has a strong and continuing association with St Patrick.

He is said to be well received here and people flocked to hear his words and, they and their chief, were baptised. In addiction the lord of the territory donated land for a church which Patrick founded.

It was called Teampall na bhFiachal, "the church of the teeth" receiving its name from a line of rocks which resembled a set of teeth and which was visible from the church. Only a small part of the sidewall remains and is situated about two hundred yards north of the round tower.

There are also two holy wells: Tobar na nDeochan, "Well of the Deacons”, now dried up and Dabhach Phadraig, "St Patrick's Vat”; both are regarded by some as part of the stations in connection with the Reek along the Tochar Phadraig.

Near the round tower beneath a great ash tree St Patrick’s Bed stands where the saint is reputed to have slept. The tree, though decaying at the base, is still capable of producing huge branches; the soil around it and even the rotting wood is said to have healing qualities.

However if one removed soil from the tree for healing purposes it was necessary to return the soil to the base of the tree when the healing was complete. There was a much venerated and now disappeared stone with two cups, called “bullauns”, said to be Patrick’s knee marks.

In Aughagower Patrick ordained Senach, son of the chieftain. They climbed the Holy Mountain together and afterward Patrick consecrated him as Bishop of the first episcopal See in County Mayo: the See of Aughagower. Oengus, son of Senach, was a married man, but he was so impressed by Patrick’s message that he instructed him and raised him to the priesthood. When Patrick left Aughagower father and son were charged of the new diocese.

In Aughagower, as the Annals states, the first Nunnery was established. Mathona, daughter of Senach, was baptised by Patrick and received the veil from him. She founded the Convent gathering some pious girls. Coming back from Croagh Patrick the Saint spent the Easter with Senach and his family.