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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Dubhthach, King's Poet

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Dubhthach ( Duach ) (3 ), Mac Ui Lugair. When St. Patrick had come to Tara and was preaching before king Leogaire, we are told that the only one who rose on the saint's approach and respectfully saluted him was Dubhthach, the king's poet, who was the first to embrace the Christian faith in that place; and as Joceline says, "being baptized and confirmed in the faith, he turned his poetry, which in the flower and prime of his studies he employed in praise of false gods, to a much better use; changing his mind and style, he composed more elegant poems in praise of the Almighty Creator and His holy preachers." This was Dubhthach Mac Ui Lugair, descended from Cormach Caech, son of Cucorb, in Leinster. His name occupies a large space in ancient Irish hagiology as a famous poet and the ancestor of many well-known saints. He was the teacher of St. Fiacc (Oct. 12) of Sletty, and recommended him to St. Patrick for the episcopate. [See Fiacc.] In the compilation of the Seanchus Mor, said to have been carried on under the auspices of St. Patrick, St. Dubhthach was one of the nine appointed to revise the ancient laws. Colgan says he had in his possession some of the poems of St. Dubhthach (Tr. Thaum. 8 n 5 .): the Poems of St. Dubhthach are given in O'Donovan's Book of Rights, and with translations and notes in Shearman's Loca Patriciana. His dates are uncertain, but his birth is placed after 370, his conversion in 433, and his death perhaps after 479. See Loca Patriciana, by the Rev. J. F. Shearman, in Journ. Roy. Hist. and Arch. Assoc. Ir. 4 ser. vols. ii. iii., with Mr. R. R. Brash's papers in the same Journal, traversing several of Shearman's assertions; Ware, Irish Writers, 1; Ussher, Eccl. Ant. c. 17, wks. vi. 409-412, and Ind. Chron. a.d. 433; Todd, St. Patrick, 130, 424, 446.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Dubhthach, King's Poet'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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