The Latin & Irish Lives of Ciaran eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 201 pages of information about The Latin & Irish Lives of Ciaran.
which is the medicine which I think to be most available to help you.’  The king having received the said instructions of Saint Colum, took his journey immediately to Clonmacnois; and finding Oenna maccu Laigsi, who was abbot of the place after Saint Ciaran, absent, he spoke to Lugaid, then parish priest of Clonmacnois, and told him of Saint Colum’s instructions unto him.  Whereupon priest Lugaid and king Diarmait fasted and watched that night in the Little Church where Saint Ciaran was buried, and the next morning the priest took the bell that he had, named then the White Bell,[28] and mingled part of the clay of Saint Ciaran therein with holy water, and put the same in the king’s ears, and immediately the king had as good hearing as any in the kingdom, and the whole sickness and troubles of his brains ceased at that instant, which made the king to say, Is feartach an ni do ni an clog orainn, which is as much as to say in English, ‘The bell did do us a miraculous turn.’  Which bell Saint Lugna conveyed with him to the church of Fore, where he remained afterwards.  King Diarmait bestowed great gifts of lands on Clonmacnois in honour of Saint Ciaran, for the recovery of his health.”

The bell, called the boban of Coemgen, reappears much later in history as a relic on which oaths were taken (Annals of Clonmacnois, anno 1139; Four Masters, anno 1143).  It was doubtless a relic preserved at Glendaloch, in which the people of Clonmacnois rightly or wrongly claimed a part-proprietorship.  The name is obscure:  it means, according to O’Davoren’s Glossary, a calf or little cow:  and Plummer (VSH, i, p. clxxvii) suggests that this name may be an allusion to its small size.  But why “calf”?  Is it an allusion to the original use of the type of bells used for ecclesiastical purposes in Ireland, as cow-bells?

Angels were seen by Saint Colman to fill the space between heaven and earth to receive the soul of Pope Gregory (VSH, i, 264).


This is perhaps an imitation of the tale of the Empress Helena, who, when returning after her discovery of the True Cross, was delivered from a storm by casting one of the Nails into the sea.  Colum Cille was saved from the whirlpool of Coire Bhreacain (Corrievreckan, between Jura and Scarba) on another (?) occasion, by reciting a hymn to Brigit (LL, 1706).

The Visit of Colum Cille to Clonmacnois.—­This took place during the rule of Ailithir, the fourth abbot of Clonmacnois (A.D. 589-595).  It is described in Adamnan’s Vita Columbae, where we read of the honour paid to the distinguished visitor, and how he was greeted with hymns and praises, while a canopy was borne over him on his way to the church, to protect him from inconvenient crowding.  A humble boy, a useless servitor in the monastery, came behind

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The Latin & Irish Lives of Ciaran from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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