Saint Kevin

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Patron of blackbirds, the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, and Glendalough, Ireland

by Ann-Marie Imbornoni
St. Kevin

St. Kevin


Also known as Coemgen and Kevin of the Angels

Like St. Columba, Kevin was born of noble parents and studied for the priesthood from an early age. Unlike his saintly colleague, however, Kevin took to the hills after his ordination rather than the road, becoming a hermit in a cave at Glendalough, or "valley of the two lakes," in County Wicklow. There he wore skins, ate nettles and berries, and prayed. As word of his holiness spread, others came to join him, and Kevin eventually founded a monastery at Glendalough, where he served as abbot until his death at the age of 120.

Not surprising for a hermit, St. Kevin had a special love for animals, which is illustrated in numerous stories about the saint. For example, once, when Kevin had stretched out his arm in prayer, a blackbird laid an egg in his hand. He remained in that position until the baby bird hatched. Another story relates how a cow, given to licking Kevin's clothes while he was praying, gave as much milk as 50 other cows.

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