Mayo Abbey’s Heritage
Known throughout the Christian world as ‘Mayo of the Saxons’. Mayo Abbey was already 300 years old when Viking Dublin was founded. Founded by St. Colman of Lindesfarne in c670.
The written heritage of Mayo Abbey begins in 731 when it is mentioned in writing in the “Ecclesiastical History of the English people” by the Venerable Bede of Jarrow.
Alcuin, of York, chief advisor to the Roman Emperor Charlemagne wrote at least two letters of support and praise to Mayo of the Saxons (c780)
Annals of Ulster state that Bishop Aldwulf of Mayo was 6th in seniority at a church council in York in AD 786.
In AD. 1176, Donnell O’Conor, son of Turlough O’Conor, and brother of Rory O’Conor, last High king of Ireland was buried here.
Mayo of the Saxons continued to be in contact with Europe throughout the middle ages. During the 1430’s the bishopric of Mayo is again mentioned in papal records.
Mayo Abbey was under the direct control of the Papacy, not subject to the local secular political rulers.
In 1370 the abbey ‘St Michael, Mayo’ became an Augustinian Abbey. Confirmed by Pope John XXIII in 1411.
Seat of the Diocese of Mayo 1152 to 1631.
As far as we know there were 14 bishops of Mayo. Best known is Patrick O’Healy, first bishop to be executed for the faith in Ireland.
The Vatican archives describe Mayo diocese as ”’the bishopric of Mayo, where there was once a famous university which had seven colleges, two abbeys and other churches besides its cathedral”’.
In the 1578 gave its name to the county of Mayo.