SAINT MOLUA’S CHURCH NEAR STORMONT
Designed by Denis O’D Hanna, and completed in 1962, St Molua’s caught me a bit surprise especially when I discovered that it was Church Of Ireland, not that I would expect anything else at the location. The church is on the Upper Newtownards Road, a short distance past Stormont gates but unfortunately I could not photograph it in detail as there was a large funeral underway.
I am not sure if different accounts apply to two different people of if there was in fact only one saint.
Saint Moluag (c. 510 – 592; also known as Lua, Luan, Luanus, Lugaidh, Moloag, Molluog, Molua, Murlach, Malew) was a Scottish missionary, and a contemporary of Saint Columba, who evangelised the Picts of Scotland in the sixth century. Saint Moluag was the patron saint of Argyll as evidenced by a charter in 1544, from the Earl of Argyll, which states “in honour of God Omnipotent, the blessed Virgin, and Saint Moloc, our patron”. The House of Lorne became the kings of Dalriada and eventually united with the Picts to become the kings of Scots.
Saint Lughaidh, better known by his pet name of Moluag, was an Irish noble of the Dál nAraide (one of the main tribes of the Ulaid in what is now called Ulster). There are various Irish forms of the name, such as Lughaidh (or Lugaid), Luoc and Lua. Latinized they become Lugidus, Lugidius, Lugadius, Lugacius and Luanus. The name, as it has come down the centuries, Moluag or Moluoc, is made up of the honorific mo, plus the original name Lughaidh, pronounced Lua, plus the endearing suffix –oc. Other variants include Lugdach, Malew, Molonachus, Moloc and Molucus.
Saint Molua (d. c 609), (also known as Lua, Da Lua), was an Irish saint, who was a Christian abbot in the Early Middle Ages. Saint Molua’s feast day is on 4 August. He is venerated in the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church.
St Molua was an Irish priest of the 6th century who like Columba and Gall trained in the monastery at Bangor, County Down (about twelve miles from Belfast). The saint’s real name was originally Lughaidh (pronounced Lua). His father is believed to have been Coche or Carthach of the Corca Oiche, a sept associated with the Ui Fidgenti from the Limerick area. His mother, Sochla was from Ossory.
Local Historians note of stories that tarnished the Saint’s reputation in his time, those being that he had fathered many children to the daughter of a local Eóganachta Chieftain in County Clare. These children were named locally as Ó Maoldomhnaigh which in turn birthed the family name of Moloney.
Little is known on Molua other than he was a monk, a builder and possibly a hermit. Molua was the founder of Killaloe (Irish: Cill-da-Lua), which bears his name Lua. Molua had his oratory on Friar’s Island, later replaced by a stone church near the present village of Killaloe. Like most Irish saints he appears to have been very hospitable, believing that in entertaining others he was entertaining Christ. He was kind to animals as well as humans and it was said that when he died all living creatures bewailed him.