Ita of Killeedy, St.

views updated


Also known as Deidre, Ida, Meda, Mida, or Ytha of Killeedy (from "Cell Ite" meaning Church of Ita); called also Clúain Credail, virgin, patron of the Úi Chonaill Gabra (a people inhabiting the western part of the plain of Limerick); b. Drum, County Waterford; d. 570 or 577. According to her genealogies (apparently later than the Lives ), Ita was the daughter of Cenn-fáelad of the Déissi. Although the four accounts of her life probably go back to a very early original, no satisfactory information can be gleaned from them until they are critically examined and interpreted. The annals state that the Corcu Óche were defeated through her prayers in 553. Dedications in Cornwall and reference to her in a poem of alcuin show that her fame extended far beyond the plain of Limerick. The beautiful poem Ísucán ("Jesukin") traditionally attributed to her was rather inspired by her legend c. 900.

Feast: Jan. 15.

Bibliography: Sources. Annals of Inisfallen, ed. and tr. seÁn mac airt (Dublin 1951), under years 553, 570, with additions from the legend of Brendan of Clonfert. Genealogies. Analecta Bollandiana 46 (1928) 121. m. Ó. clÉrigh, Genealogiae regum et sanctorum Hiberniae, ed. p. walsh (Archivium Hibernicum 5; Dublin 1918). c. plummer, comp., Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae, 2v. (Oxford 1910) 1:1xxii, n.6. g. murphy, ed., Early Irish Lyrics: Eighth to Twelfth Century (Oxford 1956) 2629, 183184, "Ísucán." Literature. j. f. kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland: v.1, Ecclesiastical (New York 1929) 389390, 779. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 1:9697.

[c. mcgrath]