A pious youth, he founded three churches in Ireland while still a layman. Studied in Wales under Saint Cadoc of Llancarvan and Saint Gildas the Wise. Monk. Great admirer of Saint Patrick. Considered one of the great founders of Irish monasticism. Founded the monastery at Clonard, Meath, Ireland c.520 which lasted a thousand years, and was a training center for great Irish saints. Spiritual teacher of Saint Columba of Iona, Saint Columba of Terryglass, Saint Ciaran of Clommacnois, Saint Brendan the Voyager, Saint Nathy, Saint Nennius, Saint Ruadhan of Lorrha, Saint Daig MacCairaill, and others. Maintained close relations with the British Church. Often referred to as a bishop, there is no evidence he was ever so consecrated.
Legend attributes many miracles to him. Birds would gather around him because of his gentle holiness. Reported to have cleared parasitic insects, worms and vermin from the island of Flathlom and the regions of Nantcarfan. One story says that he fended off a party of Saxon raiders by causing an earthquake to swallow their camp.
- c.549 to 552 at Clonard, Meath, Ireland of plague
- relics originally enshrined in Clonard, but were destroyed in the 9th century
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Online
- Katherine Rabenstein
- Little Book of Celtic Saints
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- “Saint Finnian of Clonard“. Saints.SQPN.com. 3 December 2013. Web. 25 July 2014. <>