Parallels.—As Ciaran gave up his monastery to Donnan, in like manner Munnu surrendered his settlement to the virgin Emer (CS, 495). The list of equipments delivered by Ciaran to Donnan introduces us to the “human beast of burden,” Mael-Odran, a servile functionary occasionally met with in Irish literature. A well-known incident of St. Adamnan introduces him travelling “with his mother on his back” (see Reeves, Vita Columbae, p. 179). As to the bell, it may be worth noting that my friend Mr. Walter Campbell, formerly of Athlone, has informed me that an ancient bronze ecclesiastical bell, found on the lake shore opposite Hare Island, was long preserved, and used as a domestic bell, in the cottage of a man named Quigley. The owner believed that it was the bell of St. Ciaran, possibly that mentioned in VG: this is not impossible, though hardly likely, as a bell of such antiquity would most probably be of iron, and rendered useless by corrosion. Unfortunately, the bell in question is no longer forthcoming: it disappeared one day from Quigley’s house, stolen, he believed, by a tourist who chanced to pass by.
Note Donnan’s relationship to Senan as set forth in VG. He was brother’s-son of Senan, but had the same mother as Senan. Clearly this indicates a menage such as that indicated by Caesar as existing among the wilder tribes of Britain; a polyandry in which the husbands were father and sons (De Bello Gallico, V, xiv). These people were probably pre-Celtic, and this strengthens the arguments already put forward for a pre-Celtic origin for the Protagonist of our narrative.
On the subject of the burial of the chieftains of Ui Neill and the Connachta at Clonmacnois, see Plummer, i, p. cx. Neill is the genitive of Niall.
Ard Manntain is now unknown.
The chronological indications contained in VG are sufficiently close to accuracy to show that they have been calculated, though the computor has made a miscount of a year. The eighth of the calends of February (25th January) in A.D. 548 was actually a Saturday, but it was two days before new moon. The same day in A.D. 549 was the tenth day of the moon, but it fell on a Monday.
Of the companions of Ciaran, Oengus (properly Oenna) succeeded him as abbot, dying in A.D. 569; Mac Nisse, who was an Ultonian, followed him, and died 13 June 584 (aliter 587). The others, however, do not appear to have found a place in the martyrologies. Mo-Beoc is a different person from the famous Mo-Beog of Loch Derg in Co. Donegal.