St Tassach had a Roman name, Asicius; he probably came with St Patrick from Britain. He was a priest at Raholp in Co Down one mile south of Saul, and possibly a bishop. He is not to be confused with Bishop Assicus of Elphin. He also lived seven years as a hermit on the Island of Rathlin O’ Birne off the coast of Co Donegal in Sligo Bay. It is likely St Tassach took his ‘time out’ not by the difficult land route but by sailing from Strangford Lough round the northern coast to southwest Donegal. He is said to have given communion to St Patrick as he lay dying.
Rathlin O’Birne keeps its secrets. It is extremely difficult of access in that you need a perfectly calm sea to land. But where else will you find a monastic site going back to the 5C – including grave slabs? How long have those saints remained undisturbed! Rathlin O’Byrne is holy ground indeed.