|16th c. view of Monaghan Monastery|
In County Monaghan in 1645 Cistercian monk Edmund Mulligan found himself forced to flee an advancing army. The story of his martyrdom is one of those preserved in a Latin manuscript written by confrère Malachy Hartry at Holy Cross Abbey, a Cistercian foundation in County Tipperary, which housed a famous relic of the true cross. Father Denis Murphy S.J., postulator of the cause of the Irish martyrs, published this manuscript, known as 'Hartry's Triumphalia' with an English translation in 1891. It forms the source for his entry on Father Mulligan in his 1896 book Our Martyrs. From it we learn that Father Mulligan was reputed to be 'the oldest of the Cistercian monks in Ireland' but neither his age nor his calling evoked any mercy on the part of the soldiers who caught up with him:
1645. Edmund Mulligan, O.Cist.Rev. Denis Murphy S.J., Our Martyrs: A Record of those who Suffered for the Catholic Faith under the Penal Laws in Ireland, (Dublin, 1896), 301.
(From Hartry's Triumphalia, p.281)
The English and Scotch, uniting their forces for the extirpation of the Catholics throughout the province of Connaught, came into the territory of McKenna*, near Ballyeroin**, with a great army. The Catholics were forced to fly, and with them the R.F. Br. Edmund Mulligan, the oldest of the Cistercian monks in Ireland. When those who discovered him drew their swords to kill him, he cried out, "I am a priest". On hearing this they were roused to greater fury, and through hatred of his sacred office they slew him with many thrusts, and he was crowned with the palm of martyrdom in heaven, in the year of our Lord's Incarnation, 1645, in the month of July, in the seventy-second year of his age.
* Now the barony of Trough, Co. Monaghan.
** Three miles east of Clones.
Father Mulligan is number 131 on the Official List of Irish Martyrs whose causes were submitted to Rome for consideration.
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