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History of the Miosach

Professor Eugene O'Curry describes the Miosach as one of the three insignia of battle which 6th century St. Cairneach of Clonleigh (Lifford) appointed to the Cinel - Eoghain and Cinel - Conaill, the other two being the celebrated Cathach of the O'Donnells, and the Bells of St Patrick.

The shrine bears a Gaelic inscription associating it with Clonmany. There the Herenagh O'Morrison was the hereditary keeper until 1609. It is not known how it got into the hands of Dr. Thomas Bernard (1726- 1806), eldest son of the Bishop of Derry, but it was in his possession when Rector at Fahan. After his death the Miosach was offered for sale along with his library in Dublin, but such was the apathy of the public at this time that no purchaser came forward.

It was then auctioneer Mr Vallence, from whom it was passed on to Mr John Fleming Jones, auctioneer, who sold it to Sir William Betham. He later presented it to the Duke of Sussex and it was sold in London to a bookseller Mr Rodd for a sum of 20. Soon afterwards it was purchased by Dr. Tood for Lord Adare, late Lord Dunraven, who presented it to Saint Columba College, Rathfarnam in 1843. It is still in the ownership of the college from which it is on loan to the National Museum of Ireland.

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