Darlugdach (DNB00)

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DARLUGDACH, Saint (d. 522), second abbess of Kildare, was St. Brigit's favourite pupil. Ultan, in his ‘Life of Brigit,’ says that Darlugdach had fallen in love, and one evening when she was to have met her lover she left the bed in which she and St. Brigit were sleeping. In her peril she prayed to God for guidance; placed burning embers in her shoes and then put them on. ‘Thus by fire she put out fire, and by pain extinguished pain.’ She then returned to bed. St. Brigit, though apparently asleep, knew everything, but kept silence. Next day Darlugdach told her all. St. Brigit then told her she was now safe from the fire of passion here and the fire of hell hereafter, and then she healed her feet. When St. Brigit's death approached, Darlugdach wished to die with her, but the saint replied that Darlugdach should die on the first anniversary of her own death.

Darlugdach succeeded St. Brigit in the abbacy of Kildare, and assuming that the latter died in 521, her death must be assigned to 522. Like St. Brigit's, her day is 1 Feb. In the Irish Nennius there is an impossible story of her having been an exile from Ireland and having gone to Scotland, where King Nechtain made over Abernethy to God and St. Brigit, ‘Darlugdach being present on the occasion and singing alleluia.’ Fordun places the event in the reign of Garnard Makdompnach, successor to the King Bruide, in whose time St. Columba preached to the Picts; but both saints were dead before St. Columba began his labours in Scotland.

Archbishop Ussher states that Darlugdach was venerated at Frisingen in Bavaria, under the name Dardalucha, but there is no reason to suppose she laboured in that country. Dedications to Irish saints on the continent were often the result of the pious zeal of members of their community, who extolled the holiness and dignity of their patron and led their foreign adherents to expect his special favour when they established a new foundation in his honour. Such was probably the case of the people of Frisingen.

[Colgan, i. 229; Bollandist's Acta Sanct. i. 187–7; Lanigan's Eccles. Hist. i. 8; Nennius's Hist. Britonum (Irish version), pp. 161–3; Ussher's Works, vi. 349; Martyrology of Donegal, p. 37.]

T. O.