Buite (d. 521) was the founder of the monastery of Mainistir Buite (Monasterboice, Co. Louth), and is a saint in the Irish tradition. The only biographical source is a late and imperfect Latin Life, according to which he was a a son of Brónach, a member of the Cianachta Breg of Louth. He allegedly went to ‘Italia’ (i.e. ‘Wallia’, Wales), where he studied under St Teilo at Llandaf; returning to Ireland with male and female disciples via Scotland, he brought Nechtan Morbet, king of the Picts (457–81), back to life. It is said that when he died he ascended to heaven on a golden ladder accompanied by angels. According to the Middle Irish Life of Colum Cille (§17), ‘at the hour of his death’ he foretold the birth of Colum Cille (qv); when Colum Cille became 30 years of age, Buite descended from heaven in a glass wheel to meet him – a tale also found in the Martyrology of Óengus (qv) (fl. c.830) (pp 258–9). In one text of the ‘Corpus Genealogiarum Sanctorum Hiberniae’ (§712.27) he is paired with Bede for sanctity and wisdom; his pedigree is given in §231. He appears in the Irish litany of pilgrim saints, which in its earliest form may date to the late seventh century. His feast-day is 7 December. Buite's foundation at Monasterboice is frequently mentioned in the Irish Annals between 759 and 1122. It subsequently became a very important early medieval monastic site, notable for its archaeological remains and high crosses. The names of twenty-two of its abbots are known.
Mart. Oeng.; Kenney, Sources, 372–3; K. Hughes, ‘On the Irish litany of pilgrim saints’, Anal. Bolland., lxxvii (1959), 305–31, esp. 321–2; Ó Riain, Corpus geneal. SS Hib. (1985), §§231, 429, 662.200, 712.27; M. Herbert, Iona, Kells and Derry (1988), 252, 281, et passim; ODNB (Meath, saints of)