parish and can therefore be justifiably proud of its long ecclesiastical tradition. An early nunnery associated with St Laiterian (Feast Day July 25th) is mentioned in Smith's History of Cork 1750. Gwynn and Hadcock (1988 p.379) also lists Cullen as an early medieval religious house. "The ruins near the church are said to have belonged to an ancient nunnery under the patronage of St Laiterian (Lasair Fhiona)". The O'Cuivs were erenaghs in later times. A comment is added that many monasteries of early times, of unknown or doubtful order, are mentioned in books, but no authentic records are found for most of these places.
Some commentators speak of three sisters, Lasair, Inion Bui and Laiterian and associate them with Celtic seasonal festivities viz. Lasair with Imbolc (Feb. 1st), Inion Bui with Bealtaine (May 1st) and Laiterian with Lughnasa (Aug. 1st). Despite the lack of authentic records there is a strong and vibrant tradition regarding St Laiterian. Her feast is celebrated each year on the Sunday nearest to July 25th, the feast of St James the former patron of the parish. Visits to her holy well, situated just outside the old cemetery, also takes place on or near that date.
Reference to Cullen in Papal letters of the 15th Century.
The parish is mentioned at least three times in Papal letters from the 2nd half of the 15th Century. The context for these is usually a petition from a priest of the diocese to the Pope, complaining about the present incumbent and asking that he be provided with the benefice instead,, i.e. the living, or revenue, from the pastoral office.
The complaints varied, some related to the neglect of duty, others to using parish funds for personal benefit, or to not having a valid appointment. The usual response was to nominate three clerics to investigate the complaint and to make provisions on the basis of the outcome. .
In 1468, Donal O'Curnuyo held the vicarage of Cullen and Nohoval for more than a year without being ordained and therefore had to vacate them. Maurice O'Sullivan was then collated to them by Bishop John of Ardfert.
On March 1st 1470, Pope Paul II mandated a canon at Ardfert and two others, to deal with a petition from Maurice O'Sullivan, a priest, v/hose contention was that on voidance of Cullynalla (Cullen) and Nochuayalla (Nohoval) by reason of the fact that Donal had held them more than a year without having himself ordained and without
dispensation, the ordinary collation of them had lapsed to the Holy See, according to the Lateran Statutes. In other words, the bishop did not have the authority to confer them. The Pope ordered the three to investigate; and assign them to Maurice himself (C.P.R. Vol. XII p.802).
On June 17th 1472, John O'Murchu, clerk, was deprived of the united vicarage of Cullen and Nohoval and provision was made to Rory O'Flynnia instead.
On June 2nd 1481, Pope Sixtus IV dispensed John O'Murchu of the impediment and ordered provision to be made to him of the perpetual vicarage of Cullynalla (Cullen) in the said diocese and because it was insufficient for his maintenance and could be more becomingly maintained if it were united to Nohoval for his lifetime (C.P.R. XIII p.731).
As we have seen in the Papal letters, Cullen and Nohoval were joined for some years, in the second half of the 15th Century, so as to provide a viable living for the priest.