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Saint Caimin
(Seventh century)


Caimin (or Caminus) was the son of Dima. He came from the race of Hy-Kinselagh and the noble stock of the Kings of Leinster. Caimin was half-brother of Guare, king of Connaught. Their mother was Cuman or Cumania, also known as Mumania. She was the daughter of Dalbronius. Little is known of Caimin's early life but considering his lineage it is certain that he was educated. The Parliamentary Gazeteer of 1845 writes that on Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) "he led a life of contemplation and austerity, the fame of which attracted to its shores numbers desirous of imitating his virtues and receiving instruction. The concourse of these disciples became at length so great that the holy man was compelled to found a place for their reception and shelter, and thus originated a monastery which, in after times, enjoyed a far-spread reputation."

It is actually unclear as to who founded the monastery of Inis Cealtra, St. Colum, St. Stellan or St. Caimin. However, St. Caimin is celebrated in local lore and legend for his many miracles and for his saintly life. It seems certain that he either built or rebuilt a monastery on Inis Cealtra and it is said that he had a reputable school here. There is evidence that a lay community and many monks resided here. Samuel Lewis writing in 1837 says that Caimin "is said to have written a commentary on the Psalms, which he collated with the Hebrew text." It is known as "St. Caimin's Psalter" and is ascribed to him by tradition. However, though it possibly originated on Inis Cealtra, it is far too late for Caimin. It dates to the eleventh or twelfth century.

St. Caimin was Bishop Abbot of Inis Cealtra and some accounts claim he was the first Bishop of Killaloe. He died probably in 644 or 652, though the Annals of Inisfallen claim that he died in 654. St. Caimin's feast day is on March 24th.

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