13 March-Gerald Of Mayo

Saint Gerald’s College is located in Castlebar, Co Mayo. It is named in honour of Gerald of Mayo, a saint of the Catholic Church who was a native of England. He was the leader of a group of English Monks who moved to Mayo in the west of Ireland in the 7th century.

Gerald was born in Northumbria in the north east of England. He was a monk at Lindisfarne at the time of the Synod of Whitby in 664 AD. Lindisfarne which is located off the north east coast of England was an important centre of Celtic Christianity.

In 630 a synod was held in Old Leighlin, Co Carlow, Ireland to establish the date for the celebration of Easter. The Roman, as opposed to the Irish method for the calculation of the date, was adopted by the synod. The method for setting the date for Easter was approved at the Synod of Whitby in Northumbria in 664.

Following the decision of the Synod of Whitby, Gerald and thirty other monks left Lindisfarne. They settled in a monastery on the island of Inishboffin off the west coast of Mayo. Disagreements arose between the Irish and English monks in relation to their duties. The dispute was resolved when the English monks were allowed to establish Mayo Abbey on the mainland in 670 with Gerald as abbot.

Gerald of Mayo, a native of England who was the first abbot of Mayo Abbey died in the year 731 On This Day.

Remains of Mayo abbey church

Remains of Mayo abbey church by JohnArmagh

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