St. Kevin and Crows

Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins

After learning all about Saint Benedict of Nursia and his affiliation with crows, I did some research on other saints and crows. I found St. Kevin, the Patron Saint of Crows! How cool is that? Who knew? Well, apparently some people. He was born in 498 and reportedly died 120 years later in 618. He is also the Patron Saint of Ireland, Dublin, Glendalough and crows to be exact. Saint Kevin of Glendalough. He is often depicted with crows and is said to have preferred the company of animals to humans. So strong was his preference for animals, songs with his story tell of him drowning a woman who tried to seduce him. Yet, he was said to have infinite patience and kindness? (( Even deemed the “gentle one”. Legend says he once allowed a crow to lay an egg in his palm and he held it safely until the egg hatched and the little bird flew away. It would seem those who thought him gentle were much more impressed by his skills with animals than his people skills.

Seamus Heaney wrote the following about St. Kevin, ((

“And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird.
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so

One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
and Lays in it and settles down to nest.”




3 thoughts on “St. Kevin and Crows

  • Hello – I just stumbled on my old Saint Kevin and Crows painting on your very nice crow-devoted site. Thank you for putting it there.

    For several years I placed work in the annual “Saints and Sinners” exhibitions at The Folk Tree in Pasadena, California, and so I was always looking for animals associated with particular saints — as I am an animal and equine artist (please visit my website).

    My husband is a crow fancier and so I also did a small round painting for him years ago, of a crow atop an amanita mushroom. If you are interested I will see if there is a decent image to send you – it’s not on the website, and I suspect it might not come out too well in a photo, sometimes a lot is lost in translation.

    I appreciate your crow collection. Thanks again, Linda

  • Linda,
    How exciting to hear from you! I would love to see the other crow painting atop an amanita mushroom! I will email you right now. Thanks for letting me sharing your lovely artwork. It is wonderful!

  • Hi Meg, I lost the email you sent a few months back, so would you please email me again so I have the address — I can now send you an image of the crow atop the amanita mushroom, but can’t attach it in this format. Thanks, Linda Jaques

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