||Saul is claimed
to be the oldest ecclesiastical site in Ireland. In the year 432
Saint Patrick built a church here. Patrick on returning to Ireland
appears to have
made his first landing in County Wicklow near the mouth of the river
Vartry, for whatever reason he did not stay long there and set a
course north Upon reaching the mouth of Strangford Lough known as
Lough Cuan (The quiet Lough) and previously as "Brennese"
he was swept by the current into the Lough.
Landing at the mouth of the
river Slaney about two and a half miles from Saul, he made contact
with the local chieftain Diohu who after a conversation with Patrick
gave him his barn the Irish word for barn was sabhall, and so
Saul became the mother church of the whole Island.
The Abbey of
Later an abbey was built on
the site, the Abbot of it was Saint Dunnius a discipleof
Patrick,. it was raided and destroyed by the Danes in the 9th
or 10th centuries. Malachy Bishop of Down rebuilt it in the 12th
century, but it was plundered and almost totally destroyed by
Edward Bruce in 1316. All that is to be seen today (pictured below)
is a portion of one of the walls near the west door of the church,
it dates from 1130 or earlier.
wells Patrick is said to have caused by his prayers a fountain to appear,
and the daughter of Diohu was baptized, she may have been the first
in Ireland, although some accounts say that Diohu was the first person
in Ireland to be baptized by Patrick.
The image on the right shows all
that remains of The Abbey of Saul which was destroyed by Edward Bruce
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