Mochulla was a religious monk who came to Tulla, County Clare in or about the year 620 AD. He was a noble and the son of Dichuille, the son of Fergus of Mogruth. Mochulla was supposed to have studied in Emly under the tutelage of Saint Ailbe.
Mochulla intended to preach the Gospel and he travelled with his tame hind (deer). He was noted as travelling through Flagmount and Lough Graney where he drew three fountains of water from the side of the mountain. These were the first of the holy wells in County Clare that continue to bear his name.
When Mochulla arrived in Tulla, he established his settlement on the top of the hill near Prince Forannan, a member of the Caisin tribe. The Prince did not bother him and Mochulla set himself on the hill, clearing away the scrub and brush himself. He built his church and his converts built a raised platform and enclosure around the hill. His preaching and success at gaining converts was noted and a monastic settlement was established there. He was held in high esteem and his name was noted on the landscape all over East Clare as far away as Truagh in south-east Clare and with over 15 wells all over the eastern part of Clare that bear his name today. Six of the wells were located in the parish of Tulla and the surrounding areas close by in the following townlands: Fortane, Kilgorey, Milltown, Cragg, Laharden and at the base of the hill of Tulla just by the Tulla Old Boys’ School.
There were various legends or stories associated with St. Mochulla. Several of the holy wells were noted as having cures for sore eyes. In addition, St Mochulla’s bull was noted as being able to frighten away robbers and raiders. Mochulla was also blessed to be able to tame animals as noted above with the deer that he brought with him to Tulla and his bull.
The famous story of the bull and the 5 robbers was a result of Mochulla’s hunger due to his long hours and days building his church. He didn’t have time to cook and he ordered his bull to go to a monastery in Ennis with bags to be filled with food and brought back to him. The bull set out to do so, and on his return, was met at Classagh Hill (near Carrahan in Clooney civil parish) by a band of men who attempted to rob him of the food. The bull roared so loudly that Mochulla heard it and cursed those who were harming the bull. The men were immediately turned into stone and to this day, the 5 pillars at Classagh Hill are known as Knocknafearbrioga.
Mochulla was consecrated Bishop due to his many miracles and works and Tulla became known as Tulach na nEaspog or “Hill of the Apostles”. He died at an unknown date after a long life.
His feast day was noted as being 11 January.
Other stories associated with St Mochulla and his miracles can be found in the Schools Collection at the above link.
Photo by clarevirtually.ie and used with permission.
#ChroniclesChallenge Information written and submitted by Jane Halloran Ryan, Tulla XO Volunteer