John Colgan

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« Sir William Cole | Index | Abraham Colles »

Colgan, John, Rev., born in the County of Donegal, a Franciscan friar in the Irish convent at Louvain, in the 17th century, was a laborious and voluminous writer on the ecclesiastical antiquities of Ireland, his best known works being, Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae, Lovanii, 1645; and Triadis Thaumaturgae, Lovanii, 1647. He died at Louvain in 1658, having failed to complete his Acta Sanctorum, which contains only the Calendar of Saints for January, February, and March. O'Curry speaks of him as " this learned, laborious, and honest writer." Ware, writing of his Acta Sanctorum, says: "Into this volume he hath brought all the saints of Ireland who died during the first three months of the year, and I fear some Scots and English, such as he could lay the best claim to; yet is far short of making sufficient reprisals on Mr. Dempster, who, with too bare a face, hath plundered the Irish calendar, and from thence got the nickname of the 'Saint-stealer.' Peter Talbot gives our author the character of 'incertorum corrosor,' or a raker together of uncertain and unknown lives." Rev. John O'Hanlon adds that "Colgan was well versed in the language and literature of his native country, profoundly read in the civil and ecclesiastical annals of Ireland; while his competency for writing and annotating the acts of our Irish saints — his learning, candour, wonderful industry, and research — are fully manifested in the two magnificent folio volumes which he published, and which must remain as the imperishable monuments of his zeal, piety, and patriotism. . . He candidly declares that a great portion of his labours had been forwarded by Father Hugh Ward, before the death of this latter eminent man."

Sources

192. Irish Saints, Life of the: Rev. John O'Hanlon, vol. i. Dublin, N.D.

260. O'Curry, Eugene: Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History. Dublin, 1861.

339. Ware, Sir James, Works: Walter Harris. 2 vols. Dublin, 1764.

« Sir William Cole | Index | Abraham Colles »