When St. Mogue was Bishop of Ferns, he had a wild brother that gave him a great deal of trouble, and at last ran away from him altogether. Well, the saint wasn't to be daunted. After waiting for a long time to see if he would come back, he took a short stick in his fist, and searched the European world all over for him, and at last found him playing ball again' the walls o' Jerusalem. So he over-persuaded him to return, and help him to build his cathedral; but a figary took the young fellow again, and, instead of assisting the saint, he took it into his head to make a church for himself the other side of the river Bann. St. Mogue was mighty incensed at this, and says he to his brother, "The bells I'll put up in my steeple," says he, "will be heard seven miles on every side; but for all that, not a jangle of them will ever reach across the stream to your parish." And sure enough, the finest day that ever came down in Ferns, not a sound of them is ever heard in the next parish, where the brother's church was built. [b]
So after all the bother the saint got with his brother and that, he thought he might as well set about the work at last. So they began to clear out the foundation at sunset one harvest evening, and the cars to bring down the stones from Slieve Bui, and the stonecutters to square them, and the masons to fit them in the wall, and others to pitch in the pebbles between the inner and outer layer, and spill in the hot lime mortar. Up went the walls like anything, and they were very near the eaves, and a grey horse was bringing down the last load along the side of the hill. The sun was within a foot of rising, when the devil bewitched a red-haired woman that was sleeping in the upper room of a house not far from the churchyard to put her head out of the window to see what was going on. "Oh, musha, St. Mogue, asthore!" says she, "is that all you done the whole night?" The saint was so moidhered with the assurance of the bosthoon that he couldn't say a word. He let h-is two arms fall by his side, and every workman stopped his work, as if he was shot. The grey horse stood fast on the hill-side; up went the car, and down tumbled the load. If any one doesn't believe me, let him go up Slieve Bui any day he has time, and he will see it lying among the heath, the size of three houses. And that's the reason the cathedral of Ferns was never finished. All that's left of the old building is the statue of the saint, and the nose of it was broke about fifty years ago. The Bishop, although he was a Protestant, got an Italian man that used to make images, and paid him a hundred pounds to come over and repair it. The next time that there's a funeral, any of you will be welcome to go inside and look at it.
Somewhat more hasty was the proceeding of another saintly architect.
St. Declan, when he was building the great round tower at Ardmore in Waterford, was much annoyed by the chatter and questions of an inquisitive woman (the colour of her hair is not recorded). So just as the cap was being placed on the lofty building, he took a shovel that happened to be at hand, and putting it under her feet, skilfully pitched her to the summit, where her skeleton was afterwards discovered in situ!
In the monastery of Innisfallen there flourished, in the days of Brian Boroimhe, a remarkable scholar, by name Maelsuthain O'Carroll, who enjoyed the honour of being confessor and private secretary to the Irish Alfred. There is a specimen of his handwriting extant in old Latin (Irish' letters), made in the year 1002, in the Book of Armagh, in the presence of King Brian himself on occasion of one of his visits. The object of the entry was to confirm the supremacy of the Archbishop of Armagh over him of Cashel, and the other Irish dignitaries. The translation is subjoined. The curious may see the original in the College Library, at folio 16 of the book--
"St. Patrick, going up to heaven, commanded that all the fruit of his labour, as well of baptisms as of causes and of alms, should be carried to the Apostolic City, which is called Scotice (in Gaelic) ARDD MACHA. So I have found it in the book-collections of the Scots (the Gad). I, Calvus Perennis (Mael-Suthiain, bald for ever), have written this in the sight of Brian, Emperor of the Scots; and what I have written, he has determined for all the kings of Macerim (Stone Fort, Cashel)."
This same churchman and scholar is supposed to have commenced the annals of the monastery in which he dwelt. Here is the legend attached to his memory
[a] Mogue, erroneously supposed an equivalent to Moses, is an abridgment of Mo-Aodh-Oge, "My Lord, young Hugh." St. Mogue, otherwise Aidan, spent some time with St. David of Wales. He died A.D. 632.
[b] This legend prevails in the Duffrey, few of whose inhabitants ever resort to Ferns on Sundays, to verify or disprove the assertion.