St Canice was born in the townland of Drumramer near Limavady in 516AD. A friend and contemporary of St Columba, he is widely regarded as the patron saint of the Roe. The parish church of Faughanvale in Eglington village is named after him. The name Canice translates to Kenneth in Scotland.

 

It is believed he was baptised in the townland of Ballycrum by St. Laurach, he also studied for a time under St Finian at Clonard along with Columba.  He would later join St. Columba at Iona. Canice went to Wales to study at Llancarvan under St Cadoc where he was ordained.

 

After going to visit Rome he returned to the Roe Valley and founded Drumachose monastery in 550 AD which existed on the site of the 12th century ruin. He spent the next 15 years of his life working with fellow monks converting the inhabitants of the Roe Valley and founding the churches at Faughanvale and Enagh.

 

In about 565 AD he left Ireland and joined  Columba on Iona where he continued his work and established monasteries and churches on the islands of Coll, Tiree, Mull, South Uist and Kintyre as well as on the Scottish mainland.  It is highly likely that he returned to Ireland with Columba to attend the Convention of Drumceatt in 575AD.  Shortly after this he is credited with founding a monastery at Aghanloo not far from his first monastic settlement of Drumachose.

 

In 577 AD he founded the Abbey of Aghaboe where he spent the remainder of his life and where he died in 598, aged 84 years.  St Canice Cathedral in Kilkenny which is named after him is said to have been built on the site of an earlier monastic settlement that he founded. He was one of the twelve Apostles of Ireland.