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  • Writer's pictureHugh MacMahon

Mogorog from Wales

The upper streets in Delgany, on the Dublin-Wicklow border, are curved and side roads that take a sharp turn down. The reason is its monastic origins – in the 6th century a man from Wales built his cell on the south side of a small hill above the Three Trout River and today’s road still follows the outer enclosure of the monastery that took shape there.

The only remaining clue to those beginnings is in a graveyard off one street. Amid the headstones is a truncated 7th century stone cross with a request written on it in old Irish to ‘Pray for Dicu and Maelodrom the wright’. The monastic community quickly expanded and builders (wrights) had something to be grateful for.

‘Delgany’ derived from the Irish ‘Derge Mogorog’, the red (derge) soil of the area and Mochorog (or Mogorog) the founder of the first community there.

Mochorog is described as ‘a Briton of royal birth’. He came from Wales to study under the renowned Kevin of Glendalough and helped develop the growing monastic city. He also set up his own communities at Enniskerry and, later, Delgany.

The nearby Kilmacurragh Forest Park (and Botanic Gardens) gets its name from a cell built there by Mochorog and the memory of his brother, Canoc, lingers in that junction on the road to Glendalough called Kilmacanogue (Canoc’s Cell).

A visit to one historic site leads to another and a vibrant network of cells and relationships across the Irish Sea.


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