Twelve Irish saints of the name Sineach (also written as Sinche) were recorded in medieval times. The name probably derives from the Irish ‘sean’ meaning ‘old’. One of these saints was the daughter of Feargna and a late pedigree assigns her to the Eoghanacht of Cashel, in Tipperary. It seems highly likely that it was this Sineach that was invoked in a litany preserved in the Stowe Missal, an illuminated manuscript some of which was written in the 11th century in Lorrha, in North Tipperary. This Sineach founded a church site at Crohane (Cruachán Maighe Abhna), in the barony of Slievardagh, in Co. Tipperary, in the early medieval period.
Crohane is now the site of a 19th-century Church of Ireland church but fragments of an earlier church were incorporated into the graveyard wall and earlier fragments can also be seen elsewhere in the graveyard. Seventeenth-century grave-slabs survive on the site, including one which commemorates Humphrey Minchin of Shangarry, who – according to local lore – was an officer in Oliver Cromwell’s army. A holy well close to the church site was dedicated to St Sineach but no surface trace of it remains. The martyrologies (including the Martyrology of Tallaght) remember Sineach on 5 October and into the 19th century a ‘pattern’ (stations) was held on this date in the parish of Ballingarry in celebration of her feastday.
In the late 1930s, Mary O'Shea from Crohane Lower recited the findings of the renowned OS surveyor John O’Donovan (c. 1840) regarding Crohane church site and also provided her own additional comments for the Schools’ Folklore Collection. Click here to view her original writings in full:
Sources and links
Ó Riain, P. 2011. A Dictionary of Irish Saints. Dublin: Four Courts Press.
Archaeological Survey of Ireland:
Schools’ Folklore Collection: