St. Laurence o’Toole
• Feast Day: November 14 th
• Place of Birth: Mullaghcreelan between Castledermot and
• Year of Birth: 1128
• Father: Murtagh O’Toole,chieftain of the
southern half of present Co.Kildare,an
area then called Hy Murray.
• Mother: Dervail O’Byrne ,daughter of a local
• Family: 8 children,1 daughter and 7 sons.
Laurence was youngest son.
• Famous Relation: Mor, his sister married Dermot Mac Murrough,
King of Leinster.
Dermot Mac Murrough
Dermot Mac Murrough was famous because he
invited the Normans such as Strongbow to Ireland in
Dermot was a large ,violent,cruel,war loving man
hated by strangers and feared by his own people.
Laurence’s Young Days
• Maurice O’ Toole was not on friendly
terms with Donagh O’Connor,chieftain of
• To ensure both families got on well
together,baby Laurence was sent to live
with Donagh O’Connor and his family.
• This was an old Irish custom.
• It was known as Fosterage.
Laurence as a Hostage
• Laurence was 10 in 1138.
• His father ,as only a local chieftain ,had to obey Dermot
Mac Murrough,King of Leinster.
• Dermot demanded a hostage from him.
• Maurice gave him his son Laurence as a hostage.
• For a time Laurence lived in Dermot’s castle,until the day
his father refused to obey an order from Dermot.
• Then Laurence was forced to live in a dilapidated,leaky
hut on only enough bread ,greens and water to keep him
alive for 2 years.
• Laurence was 12 in 1140.
• The Bishop of Glendalough helped Dermot and
Laurence’s father to come to an agreement.
• Dermot agreed to exchange Laurence for 12 of
his own soldiers who had been captured by
Laurence’s father Maurice O’Toole.
• The exchange took place in Glendalough
Monastery in Co. Wicklow.
• St. Kevin founded this monastery centuries
Laurence Abbot of Glendalough
• Maurice was so delighted to have Laurence back,he
agreed to send one of his sons there to be educated.
• Laurence agreed to go to school in Glendalough.
• He later became a monk there.
• In 1158 he was elected Abbot of Glendalough by the
• This means he was in charge of the monastery.
• During a famine in that part of Wicklow,he fed the hungry
who were starving.
• In the monastery,he had to run a school,orphanage and
Laurence Archbishop of Dublin
• In 1162 he was appointed Archbishop of Dublin.
• He oversaw the building of many churches,most
importantly Christ Church Cathedral,
• He never ate meat and fasted every Friday on
bread and water.
• Every day he fed 30 people at his table.
• Sometimes he had over 300 orphans to look
• He was a peacemaker,tried to arrange peace
between Irish,Vikings and Normans in Dublin.
• Remember Dermot Mc Murrough King of
Leinster had asked Henry the Second King of
England and Normandy (part of France) to send
Normans like Strongbow to Ireland.
• He wanted him to help him fight his great enemy
Rory O’Connor High King of Ireland.
• He promised Strongbow his daughter Aoife in
marriage and he would become King of Leinster
when he died,
The Normans attack
• In 1170 Dermot and Normans led by Strongbow
• Despite the presence nearby of the High King of
Ireland Rory O’Connor with an army of 30000
men ,Dublin is captured by the Normans.
• Laurence rallied the people in vain to resist the
• He pleaded with the Normans to have pity on the
people of Dublin.
• Despite his efforts,700 men,women and children
The Irish attempt to recapture
• Rory O’Connor High King of Ireland joins forces with
other Irish chieftains and attacks the Normans in Dublin.
• Laurence O’Toole is said to have organised this.
• The Normans in Dublin sent him to negotiate peace with
• Rory with his large army was in no mood to negotiate.
• Alas 600 Normans launched a surprise attack on the
Irish and drive his pooly armed soldiers into headlong
• Strongbow and the Normans keep control of Dublin.
• Rory O’Connor was the last Ard Ri na hEireann High
King of Ireland.
The Good of His People
• Laurence saw the Normans could not be
• When Henry the second came to Dublin in
1171 Laurence accepted him as his
• On Christmas Day 1171 Henry attended
mass in Christ Church Cathedral.
Visit to Cantebury in England
• In 1175 he went to Cantebury to meet Henry.
• As he was offering mass in Cantebury,a maniac ,who had heard of
his piety(holiness) ,wanted to make a martyr of St Laurence.
• He smashed him in the head with a heavy stick.
• Everyone present concluded he was dead.
• But he came to a short while later and he asked for a bowl of water
which he blessed and he asked that his wounds be washed with it.
• The blood stopped immediately and he got up and said mass.
• When he died 5 years later in France,the fracture was to be seen in
Visit to Rome
• In 1179 St. Laurence and 6 other Irish
bishops went to Rome.
• He met Pope Alexander the third.
• He gave the The Pope an account of the
state of affairs in Ireland.
• The Pope appointed him Papal Legate In
His Final Days
• In 1180 Laurence went to England to see Henry -----.
• Rory O’Conor the last High King of Ireland, asked him to settle a
dispute between him and Henry ---.
• Henry refused to meet him and took himself off to Normandy in
• For three weeks Laurence waited in England for Henry to return, but
• Laurance decided to follow him to France.
• In France he contracted faver.
• He kept travelling until he came to the Abbey of ----
• Here after three days, he died on Friday 14th Noverber.
• He was just 52.
• Laurance was buried at -----.
Celebrations in Castldermot 1980
• In 1980 we celebrated the 800th anniversary of
the death of Saint Laurance O’Toole.
• To commemorate the occasion a lecsture on
sdthe life of the saint and the history of the
parish was given by Father Kennedy, historian.
• A granite boulder has been erected at
Mullaghcreen and eight trees were planted
• A group of people from Eu visited Castldermot.
Reminders of Laurance in
• A panel in the rose window in the Church
of the Assumption, Castldermot
• A stained glass window in Kilkea Church
which also commorates the saint.
• Levitstown Church is dedicated to Saint
South Kildare (Hy-Murray) after
• Strongbow granted the territory of Hy-
Murray to Walter de Riddlesford, on of his
• Strongbow, perhaps, condidered he had a
right to this district.
• His wife Aoife was grand-daughter of
O’Toole, and niece of St. Laurence