Columcille sang, when Cormac came to him from his own country
MS Laud Misc 615

Cormac, offspring of Liathan, off aspect bright,
The champion of heaven and of earth,
Came out of his southern, warm country,
Upon a visit, upon a pilgrimage.
Two wild oxen of noble appearance
conveyed the devout cleric
From the south, from the broad rapid Lui,
To Cormacís cross at Caindruim.
Druim-cain was the first name of the height
Where Dairmagh stands, according to history:
Dairmagh, is its name now;
The country of Conall offspring of Fergus.
When the blooming sweet man had arrived
At Cormacís cross at the church,
Then rang the soft toned bell
Here at Catamaelís city.
That pleasant divine then celebrated service,
Cormac, son of the noble-faced Dimma.
And to meet him came together
Our devout, steadfast congregation.
Thou art welcome here, thy flee is pleasant,
O Cormac, since thou art devout:
Thy coming hither with speed
Was a long time since foretold.
Abide here, for thou art a perfect divine,
O Cormac, of character unbroken,
That thou mayest be the proper guardian,
That shall be in my devout city.


Cormac: How can I be here, said he,
Thou noble son of Fedhlim,
Among the powerful northern tribes,
In this border territory, O Colum?

Columcille: Restrain all subordinates, all rash ones,
All chieftains who require it;
And I will restrain all actual kings,
All those present and at a distance.
Let us therefore form our union,
As Christ has ordained, in the flesh;
Not to be dissolved till the judgement-day,
By us, O Cormac, offspring of Liathan.
Bind upon the thumbs of my handí,
O Cormac of many dignities,
The coils of our noble union,
As long as beautiful-coloured Dairmagh shall last.
Perversely hast thou attacked me,
If it be not willed by the King of heaven;
Thou hast taken off from me all my thumb,
O good saint, O good man.
Sharply hast thou attacked me, O Momonian,
O Cormac, of memorable sense;
Wolves shall eat thy body,
For this deed, without any mercy.

Cormac: Though many be the joints of my body,
Said Cormac the just, from Corcís Cashel,
There shall be a church for every one of them,
And they shall all be yours, O fair-famed Colum.

Columcille: I well know what will be the result
Of cutting me, of mutilating me:
Mine honour shall rest with my thumb in my church,
As long as pointed Erin shall exist.
Procure for me tribute from thy race,
O thou descendant of Oilill Olum,
That I may not visit vengeance
On the virtuous posterity of Liathan.

Cormac: Thou shalt receive a screball from every city.

Columcille Cecinit.
It were delightful, O Son of my God, with a moving train,
To glide over the waves of the deluge fountain, to the land of Erin;
Over Moy-nEolarg, past Ben-Eigny, over Loch Feval,
Where we should hear pleasing music from the swans
The hosts of gulls would made joyful, with eager singing,
Should it reach the port of stern rejoicers, the Dewy Redí.
I am filled with wealth, without Erin, did I think it sufficient,
In the unknown land of my sojourn, of sadness and distress.
Alas, the voyage, that was enjoined me, O King of secrets,
For having gone myself to the battle of Cuill.
How happy the son of Dimma, of the devout church,
When he hears in Durrow, the desire of his mind,
The sound of the wind against the elms, when it is played,
The blackbird's joyous note, when he claps his wings:
To listen at early dawn in Ros-Grencha, to the cattle;
The cooing of the cuckoo from the tree, on the brink of summer.
Three objects I have left, the dearest to me, on this peopled world,
Durrow, Derry, the noble angelic land, and Tir Luighdech.
I have loved Erinís land of cascades, all but its government.
My visit to Comgall, and feast with Cainnech, was indeed delightful.


Translator: Eugene OíCurry

Date of Translation: 1857

Edition: W. Reeves (ed.), Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy. Written by Adamnan, Ninth Abbot of that Monastery (Dublin, 1857)

This text scanned by: Jonathan M. Wooding (29/5/2002) Ė re-use permitted with acknowledgement

Web source:

As the Celtic Christian E-Library website is no longer active, I have taken them up on their fair-use permission and reposted the text here.--Mary.