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June 3

Saint of the day:
Saint Kevin of Glendalough

Patron Saint of blackbirds, Archdiocese of Dublin, Glendalough, Kilnamanagh


The Story of St. Kevin of Glendalough


Known in Ireland as Coemgen as well as Kevin, according to tradition he was born at the Fort of the White Fountain in Leinster, Ireland, of royal descent. He was baptized by St. Cronan and educated by St. Petroc. He was ordained, and became a hermit at the Valley of the Two Lakes in Glendalough. After seven years there, he was persuaded to give up his solitary life. He went to Disert-Coemgen, where he founded a monastery for the disciples he attracted, and later moved to Glendalough. He made a pilgrimage to Rome, bringing back many relics for his permanent foundation at Glendalough. He was a friend of St. Kieran of Clonmacnois, and was entrusted with the raising of the son of King Colman of Ui Faelain, by the king. Many extravagant miracles were attributed to Kevin, and he was reputed to be 120 years old at his death.









Glendalough, Ireland

Saint Kevin's Church, with the Round Tower of Glendalough.

Saint Kevin's bed

Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland





Saint Kevin and the Blackbird by Seamus Heaney

And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird.
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so

One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
And lays in it and settles down to nest.

Kevin feels the warm eggs, the small breast, the tucked
Neat head and claws and, finding himself linked
Into the network of eternal life,

Is moved to pity: now he must hold his hand
Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks
Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.


And since the whole thing’s imagined anyhow,
Imagine being Kevin. Which is he?
Self-forgetful or in agony all the time

From the neck on out down through his hurting forearms?
Are his fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees?
Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth

Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head?
Alone and mirrored clear in love’s deep river,
‘To labour and not to seek reward,’ he prays,

A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird
And on the riverbank forgotten the river’s name.




Blackbird Cocktail


  • 4 blackberries

  • 4 lemon verbena leaves, plus 1 sprig

  • 3/4 ounce Simple Syrup

  • Ice

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

  • 1 ounce chilled club soda


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries with the lemon verbena leaves and Simple Syrup.

Add ice and the gin and lime juice. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

Stir in the club soda and garnish with the lemon verbena sprig.

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