Naomh Gobnait aka St Gobnet aka Abigail /Abby or Deborah is Ireland's patron saint of bees. Her feast day is celebrated on February 11.

She was born in County Clare in the fifth or sixth Century. Saint Abban (who helped her found a convent) is said to have been her brother)

Fleeing a family feud, she took refuge in Inisheer in the Aran Islands. Here an angel appeared and told her to look for a place where nine white deer were grazing (now known as St. Gobnet's Wood).

She started a religious order in the district of Múscraí (Muskerry). Using honey as a healing aid, she dedicated her days to helping the sick, and is credited with saving the people of Ballyvourney from the plague.

[The above image was created by stained-glass artist Harry Clarke in 1914 for the Hoban Chapel at UCC Cork].

Do you have an Irish Ancestor who was christened Abigail or Deborah? Chances are (especially if she came from and Irish-speaking district) that her given name was actually Gobnait.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 0499 (circa)


  • Saint Gobnait also established a nunnery in Kilgobnait townland near Lombardstown ,Kilshannig Parish in County Cork where she encountered whitedeer but not 9 of them.The place is now better known as Abbeyswell where an ancient graveyard and a holy well that is supposed to hold a cure for sore exist , An ancient church existed here also and she is reputed to have been here towards the end of the 500's AD. Her feast day on the 11th still commerated with pattern day prayers and rounds. There is  famous story concerning  this saint when she was approached by a local who informed her someone had stolen his cow and calf.She immediately cast a spell on the culprit who was fastened onto a large stone slab along with the cow and calf until the owner arrived . This stone was documented in the 1842 ordinance survey map as Lackabihoonig ,the thiefs flag,.

    Donie Sullivan

    Monday 13th December 2021 07:11PM

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