The Celtic Church in Ireland

The Celtic Church in Ireland

St. Patrick’s mission to Ireland set sail from Gaul in 432, the same year in which St. Ninian died. That fact alone should remind us that St. Patrick went to a country already less pagan than the mountainous land St. Ninian evangelized north of Hadrian’s Wall. As we have already noticed, Irish Christians sent messengers to the Church in Gaul begging that a mission, such as that of Germanus to the British Church, might come to their assistance. To those “Scots believing in Christ” Germanus exerted himself to send from Auxerre his specially consecrated British disciple Patrick, to act as leader of a missionary band of Franks, Romans, and fellow Celts from Gaul and Britain. Their task was to weld the scattered converts into organized Christian communities and then to attempt the conversion of the vast mass of the population from the nature religion taught them by the druids, who, in Ireland, seems to have played chiefly the parts of prophet and magician, though on the Continent the Romans found them acting as poets, judges, and guardians of the law also. The story of how St. Patrick succeeded in converting all Ireland in the thirty years of life that remained to him, is one of the best documented and most exciting in the dramatic history of the Celtic Church.

In the north, Caranoc and other Britons from Candida Casa were already striving to bring together hostile Pictish and Scotic tribes under the banner of Christ, while trade with Britain and the Continent accounted for a large proportion of the converts St. Patrick found in the south. He himself, however, was an example of how the Irish slave trade introduced Christians into the country. For hundreds of years the Scots had raided the west coast of Britain, and these raids greatly increased when, at the beginning of the fifth century, Britain was deserted by her Roman protectors. Thousands of young citizens of the Empire, many of them the products of Roman culture, found themselves transported to a land Rome never reached.

In his Confession – one of the most touching spiritual biographies ever written – St. Patrick describes how his lonely life as the slave shepherd of an Irish chief drove him to his prayers. God and his angels came very close to the sixteen-year-old boy. Then, as he learnt the strange language, he grew to love the colour and poetry that were part of his forgotten Celtic heritage, and to teach the gospel to the children who befriended him. Unable to say their “Ps”, the young Scots called him Catrick, and so deep did the bond between him and his converts become during those seven years of slavery that even after he had reached Marseilles, about 412, with the crew of a smuggler’s boat, he continued to be haunted by their voices calling him back to Ireland.

Before leaving Ireland it is said that the British monk Caranoc baptized St. Patrick. If so, it would seem that they discussed his future, should he succeed in escaping. Certainly it was to a monastery in which Caranoc would have felt quite at home that St. Patrick went for training after first going on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Martin at Tours. Lerins had been founded by Honoratus on a little island off Cannes in 410, the year Rome fell. Already, in the chaotic state of the invaded Continent, it had become a widely known refuge of prayer and learning for educated Christians of all nations. The community was in constant touch with Egyptian monasteries and lived, like Egyptian monks, in separate cells; but the Lerins rule laid more stress on manual labour than did that of St. Anthony.

We do not know long St. Patrick studied at Lerins, nor when he paid the visit mentioned in his Confession to his people in Britain. But as two of the early biographers claim Germanus of Auxerre to be his chief teacher on the Continent, he probably stayed longer with him than at Lerins and it is possible that Germanus gave him the opportunity to see his home once more by taking him with him as a British helper when he went to Britain in 429 to preach against Pelagianism. To anyone less sure of God’s will than St. Patrick, the fact that his family begged him to stay with them would have been a sore temptation to abandon the life of an exile. Learning had never come easily to him and he had so slow a tongue that when Celestine, bishop of Rome, gave his blessing to the Irish enterprise even Germanus began by overlooking him, choosing Palladius as leader of the first missionary continent. But Palladius died within the year and St. Patrick led a second band of Christians to the rescue of Ireland.

No sooner had he settled his party at Downpatrick to the south-west of Strangford Lough, than, remembering he was still a slave, he hastened north to pay his old pagan master the ransom owing to him over so many years. From the first St. Patrick’s knowledge of Irish values proved helpful. Having freed himself legally, he knew he must next challenge the all powerful druids; and this he did, within six months a landing, at the great gathering of the tribes for the Spring Feast held annually by the High King at Tara. Whatever really happened at the contest of miracles, not only were the king and his druids put to shame by the tremendous power of St. Patrick’s faith, so that the king had to grant him permission to preach where he would, but, as has already been remarked, before the time had come to light the sacred Spring Fires on the 25th march, St. Patrick’s first native priest had broken an ancient spell by lighting a great Paschal beacon on Slane in honour of the risen Christ.

The High King Leary was never converted as were his daughter and his brother Conall. But chief after chief followed Conall’s example, thus speeding the conversion of their country. For, as the chiefs owned all the land, it was impossible to build a church without their support. Conall not only gave land, but himself built a church at Donoughpatrick at the cost of six cows. Sometimes Christian chiefs would give all they possessed, including their whole tribe, to Christ. Wherever a tribe allowed him to build a church, St. Patrick, himself a bishop, consecrated one of his disciples, whom he left in charge of the tribe armed with an A B C of Christian doctrine. Hundreds of these little books, known as the elements, and containing the creed and the rudiments of church law, were written in Latin by St. Patrick himself. He tells us that in some districts the people had already been baptized. Even in far-off Connaught he found a lonely grave surmounted by a cross. But the religion of the druids still held the people; though it is significant that this powerful body of prophets and magicians feared St. Patrick enough to make many attempts to kill him.

The church he founded did not so much oust the ancient religion as transform and complete it, and this it did largely through the help of women. Inspired by St. Patrick’s wonderful preaching many became nuns and though, until St. Brigid released them, they continued to live and work at home, slave-girls and princesses alike found time to serve God by teaching the children of the congregation and by helping the bishops (there seems to have been one in most of St. Patrick’s settlements) by nursing, cooking, cleaning, sewing and embroidering for their church.

The Scots of Ireland had always laid great stress on education for the ruling class. As we have already noted, druids, poets, judges, and guardians of the law handed on their ever increasing stocks of knowledge orally, and it seems that girls were often taught as well as boys. The quality of St. Patrick’s schools ensured his success among parents accustomed to part early with their children. He brought the fascinating invention of writing and he used the Latin alphabet to preserve in the native tongue the best of the native law, folklore and learning, as well as to teach in Latin the scriptures, theology and the classics.

This wise policy won him the allegiance of one of the most learned and powerful sections of the community – the poets. They were baptized in hundreds, among them Dubhthach, the chief bard; while at least one was made a bishop who extolled his spiritual father in verse which, through his studies, he could write down himself.

A large proportion of the twenty-nine years that St. Patrick gave to Ireland, he spent travelling up and down the country preaching to and converting chiefs and building and visiting the churches that ministered to their tribes. It was an uncomfortable and even dangerous procedure: uncomfortable because the roads were rough and often flooded and the chariots unsprung; and dangerous because the incessant feuds between tribes so often led to wild outbursts of fighting.

But the nature of St. Patrick’s bodyguard showed a shrewd grasp of the mentality of a chief. He himself was dressed as a monk and carried only his wooden staff. But he never travelled without a personal champion strong enough to protect him and to carry him across fords. In case of disputes he took his native judge with him, and three nuns were included in the party to teach women converts then care and embroidery of church linen. His bell-ringer carried his little tongueless, iron hand-bell which was hit like a gong, his chaplain carried his Bible, while in the rear there marched a goodly army of Christian blacksmiths, goldsmiths, carpenters and mason.

At first St. Patrick’s Church in Ireland remained an offshoot of the Church in Gaul, which to some extent staffed and financed it. It seems to have been his determination to carry the gospel to the remotest west that finally decided his colleagues from Gaul (who had, from the first, found his tireless zeal hard to emulate, and who were perhaps jealous of his extraordinary popularity) to ask their Church for his deposition. For a time they actually got their way, though only through the trumped-up charges of a treacherous friend of St. Patrick’s among them.

Ireland’s first bishop – the highest of the troop of noble saints of Erin, as an eighth-century martyrology calls him – spent the Lent of 440 in the west, alone on the bleak top of Croagh Patrick. It is not clear what steps he took when he came down strengthened, and resolved to carry on God’s work. But within a year he was reinstated as head of the missionary church from Auxerre, and three years later, in 444, Ireland had become, through his efforts, an independent ecclesiastical province responsible only to the bishop of Rome.

From then on Armagh, his See as Primate of Ireland, became his missionary base and the perfect home to return to tired from his labours. The place was alive with little boys who, in their own way, loved him as much as Bensen had done. Meeting the saint at the start of his adventures this child had flatly refused to be separated from him. After St. Patrick’s death at Downpatrick in 461, Benen, who perhaps knew better than anyone else the quality of his passion for God, was chosen as his successor at Armagh.

We know St. Patrick founded a few monasteries in Ireland, but, apart from Nendrum, the first of note is that of St. Brigid, who founded Kildare on the Liffey plain towards the end of the fifth century. As a child she had heard one of St. Patrick’s last sermons and it was largely owing to the important part women played in his church that she was later able t take the next step in their emancipation, with the full approval of its rulers, the bishops. St. Brigid’s father was a Leinster chief, but her mother was a Pictish Christian slave – one of those bits of human property for whom St. Patrick fought so hard. Only slaves, however, were to be pitied among the women of Ireland. Wives and daughters of chiefs were respected members of the tribe, attending all important assemblies, and as everything in the home had to be made they led useful and creative lives. St. Brigid, however, was a revolutionary and one of the most practical that ever lived. She rightly suspected that all over the country were Christian women who longed to give their whole lives to God. Living together in organized groups as dedicated members of Christian converts, she foresaw their enormous potentialities.

Bishop Mel, a disciple of St. Patrick’s, listened sympathetically to her plans and, having heard her final vows to remain poor, chaste and obedient, he gave her the veil. Just as St. Patrick could have made little headway without the chiefs, so St. Brigid would have been helpless without the all-powerful bishops. They had read, of course, of communities of women on the Nile. None the less their attitude of her innovation is almost as remarkable as St. Brigid’s own vision. From the first she treated bishops as friends and equals, and soon, far from attempting to modify her plans for an Ireland dotted all over with busy convents, it was they who wrote, sent messengers, or came in person to beg that she might found a settlement of her nuns in their special district. St. Brigid’s response – a reckless generosity was one of her most endearing traits – is written in the glens and rivers named after her, and in the innumerable Kilbrides and Kilbreedies which were once her cells or churches. Because she supervised the actual construction of all her settlements, St. Brigid must have travelled quite as much as St. Patrick. She and her white-clad sisters (at consecration Celtic nuns were given a white dress as well as a veil) had as bodyguard the people’s love for their schools, their rest-houses for travellers, and their havens for the sick and destitute.

After Kildare became St. Brigid’s base it grew to be her largest and most important monastery. Then it was that she had her second inspiration. She required a man to take charge of her many male farm-workers and she required a resident bishop to consecrate her nuns. She found both in the person of Conleath, who must have been the first bishop to live under the authority of an abbess. At her request he settled close by and, being already a skilled and gifted worker in metal, there gathered about him a school where his disciples produced a constant stream of lovely chalices, patens, book-rests, book-covers, and small, square, iron hand-bells for use in the churches of Ireland. All the men on the estate joined the women for worship in the convent church. But, lest the sisters be distracted, St. Brigid had a solid partition built down the middle of the centre aisle to separate the sexes. In this church, made beautiful by the art of monks and nuns alike. St. Brigid and her bishop were buried side by side c. 625. Two crowns, one gold and one silver, hung above their tombs as a fitting memorial to the first of the double monasteries that were to prove so popular a feature of the Celtic Church in Northumbria.

St. Ita, Foster-mother of the Saints of Ireland, must surely have met St, Brigid. In the west she supervised the teaching of future abbots , St, Brendan among them, in her convent school for small boys at Kileedy. Another interesting contemporary at work in the west was St. Enda. After his baptism he went to study at Candida Casa, and on his return he founded Kileany (Enda’s Cell or Church) and nine other monastic settlements on the largest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. Being of royal descent, his clan flocked to him, and among his pupils was St. Ciaran, who, like St. Brendan, later became one of St. Finnian’s Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

After the close of the fifth century, during which St. Patrick had converted Ireland with the help, for the most part, of his secular bishops, there began an incredibly swift expansion of monasticism. Nendrum, Kildare, Kileany, and Kileedy were experimental forerunners pointing to the change in the constitution of the Church which took place during the sixth century.

Like all Celtic converts the Scots of Ireland were whole-hearted in their devotion to Christ. Amazed and overjoyed at the revelation contained in the gospel they were ready to be martyrs. Instead they became monks, so numerous, so passionate and so tireless in their worship and service to the people that men called Ireland an Island of Saints.

Among the many influential sixth-century foundations, Clonard, Clonfert and Bangor stood out, if only for their size. Each is said to have contained some 3,000 monks, and Dom Gougaud is of the opinion that this number is not exaggerated. In a townless country these settlements were the first organized cities, self-supporting through owning and farming the surrounding land. All manual labour had hitherto been done by slaves, but now it was the princes and chiefs – indeed the flower of Irish youth – who tended and fed the monastery flocks, grew vegetables, ploughed the land, and sowed, reaped, threshed and ground the corn. Working with, instead of worshipping, nature led the monks to a great tenderness for the animal creation, and they received the same touching response from the birds and beasts concerned as was noted by Helen Waddell among those that served the Desert Fathers.

Within the ramparts the most important buildings, apart from the church, were the cells where the young Scots were taught in Latin. Because their whole outlook on life must have been changed by it, it is worth repeating that their reader was the psalter, and that often they had it all by heart before they grew up. Thus equipped, they read the classics and studied grammar, geometry and natural philosophy. The Western learning they enjoyed reached Irish monasteries from two sources: before the Teutonic invasion it came from the Continent direct, or from Candida Casa; and in the sixth century it came from Christian communities in Britain that continued to cherish their books when cut off, in the fifth century, from scholars abroad.

St. Finnian of Clonard, in Meath, had so famous a training school for monks that he was known as Master of the Saints of Ireland. Till his death in 549 he was, as we have seen, in constant touch with St. Cadoc and St. David. Through the influence of his visits to Wales he not only introduced the British liturgy but British austerity into Clonard; and through Clonard, into the monasteries founded by his Twelve Apostles of Ireland and all his lesser disciples. The service of Perpetual Praise was a British custom eagerly adopted by the Scots of Ireland. The work of the larger monasteries was so arranged that night and day there were always monks singing and praying in the church, round which all the buildings and cells were grouped. It is almost incredible to think that throughout every day for hundreds of years the whole psalter was sung or recited throughout the Celtic Church of Ireland. Prayer was on the same fanatical scale. Absorbed in worship, monks lay prostrate in the church or stood with arms outstretched by the hour, like Moses on his mountain. Again and again we read of saints plunging into cold streams or lochs the better to pray or to sing their psalms unhampered by their bodies. The sign of the cross was used to consecrate everything they did or thought, and the virtue supposed to lie in the number of genuflexions made in one day seems to have caused at times an unhealthy, if not unholy, competition.

In warm Egyptian monasteries monks fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. Their example was faithfully followed by monks in Ireland, though the meagre quantity of eggs, fish, vegetables, twice-baked bread and milk eaten by the monks in their refectories might be thought to constitute a fast in itself. They seasoned their food with salt, but there is no mention, as in Egypt, of a weekly ration of sweets.

Every monastic settlement contained a guest-house, where passing travellers were entertained and fugitives found refuge from their pursuers. In that land of feuds how deep an impression must have been made on strangers by the silent obedience of monks in response to the call of their abbot’s hand-bell; by the ordered division of the day into periods of manual work, learning and worship; and by the sound of Perpetual Praise from the church. One can imagine, to, the impression made on potential craftsmen by the workshops where monks prepared pens, ink, colour and vellum for the all-important scribes and illuminators; where sculptors worked on the High Crosses at which men still marvel; and where smiths worked so exquisitely in gold, silver and enamel to the glory of God.

The great St. Finnian, abbot of Clonard, was, like St. Patrick, a bishop. But in the age of monasteries, bishops who were not abbots had no authority and therefore hardly counted in the organization of the Church. Though each monastery had its bishop, chosen and greatly respected for his sanctity, and though only a bishop or an outstanding holy priest was counted worthy to celebrate the Offering alone, yet a bishop’s only necessary function was that of ordaining and consecrating the would-be priests among the monks. Therefore, like St. Brigid monastic bishop, many practised a craft. It was a sign of the changed outlook that all St. Finnian’s twelve apostles became abbots but remained presbyters. By the second half of the sixth century so marked was the monastic mentality of the Church in Ireland that Rome was thought of as a monastery – a haven of holiness and learning, like Irish monasteries, amidst continual wars – and her bishop as above all abbot of Rome. Christ Himself was the beloved Abbot of Heaven, and even hell is pictured as a monastery under the authority of the devil.

If St. Finnian excelled as a teacher, his pupil and apostle, St. Brendan, was the leading navigator of his age. Born close to the Atlantic, in County Kerry, where there are still coastal landmarks named after him, he was at home on the sea as on land. His astronomical studies at Clonard were first put to good use in 545 when he undertook his mission to the Scots settled in the Western Isles. Ten years later he founded Clonfert, on the Shannon, in the eastern most corner of County Galway. Despite the immense size of Clonfert, its abbot found a deputy and made at least three voyages to explore the unknown Atlantic. His goal was the Garden of Eden, which, despite the scepticism of his friends, he was convinced still existed in the form of those Blessed Isles in the far-off west so nearly visible to the Celtic eye.

St. Brendan’s faith and his excellent seamanship bore him to Iceland which he seems to have mistaken for an outpost of hell. It seems more than probable that he also reached the West Indies and even America. Satisfied that he had attained his goal he returned to Clonfert, where such saints as his friends Columba, Kenneth and Comgall were regaled by his extraordinary adventures. The stories were carried to Brittany, if not by St. Brendan himself, most probably in letters written to Gildas by St. David. By the tenth century all Europe knew versions of his marvellous voyages and had no more difficulty than had the Celts, in believing in the useful activities of St. Brendan’s tame whale. Apart from the immense size of his monastery, so little is known of it and of its abbot’s life while at the helm of Clonfert, his earth-bound ship, that even the date of his death is uncertain; but the popularity of his monastery alone shows how efficient a captain of souls was St. Bredan.

Like most of the great saints of Ireland, the Pict, St. Comgall, trained in several monasteries, St. Finnian’s among them, before he founded Bangor, about 558, not far from his native Pictish district. Perhaps he was so outstanding a commander of men because he was not only an expert farmer but an exceptional soldier. The rules in Irish monasteries varied – some of them were written out in rhyme that the monks might more easily memorize them – and though St. Comgall’s was known as “the good rule” it was one of the severest. The monks at Bangor in Ulster kept a perpetual fast; yet their leader had such power to “kindle in the hearts of men an unquenchable fire of the love of God” that Bangor swiftly became one of the largest monastic settlements in Ireland. Ideally placed for contacts across the water to the east, it is not surprising that with so inspiring a commander the place produced so many able missionaries for Scotland and the Continent. Of the latter, St. Columba and his disciples, St. Gall, are the best known.

By the seventh century this monastery, always renowned for its learning, had become the chief Irish centre for historical research. The monks of Bangor wrote their chronicles in Irish for a ruling class (to which they belonged) that delighted to read of its past achievements. An eighth-century document relates that an abbot of Bangor, conversing with “a certain Greek”, learnt from him the formula for the computation of Easter, which formula was straightway committed to writing by one of the scholars among his monks. Nor were Latin and Greek the only foreign languages with which Irish monks were acquainted. At Colnmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran (yet another of St. Finnian’s disciples) ,we can still see the remains of a forest of grave-stones, among which are several inscribed by Celtic monks in Hebrew.

No chapter on the Celtic Church in Ireland, however brief, would be complete without paying tribute to St. Columba, who, because we know most about him, seems to us the most fascinating abbot of them all. He spent the first forty years of his life in Ireland, leaving his native Donegal at nineteen to train under the British-trained scholar, St. Finbar of Moville in Ulster. Then, after mastering the wealth of learning brought over from Candida Casa, and after eagerly studying St. Jerome’s Latin in St. Finbar’s jealously guarded copy of the Vulgate known as St. Martin’s Gospel, he went with his abbot’s blessing, to study the literature and music f his country under an ancient bard of Leinster,

In both his Latin and Irish poems St. Columba speaks from his soul – simply, intensely, and with a personal emotion that strikes a new note in the poetry of the Far West. This spontaneity marks even the fragments written in the margins of the books they copied, by other and later Irish monks equally alive to the colour and warmth of nature, and equally aware of the meaning underlying their monastic lives. By one of them the reason for the search after the good life is summed up thus:

“ ‘Tis frenzy blind;

Tis witlessness, ‘tis madness wild

-Since still to deathwards all life ends-

To be estranged from Mary’s child.”

The same urgency, combined with an almost Miltonic vision of the grandeur of the universe, marks St. Columba’s religious poems in Latin, the Altus Prosator. The Christian revelation profoundly moved Celtic imaginations and may well have released in other contemporary lovers of nature strains to equal those of St. Columba in beauty, pathos and power. So very little survives of what was once a widespread culture. But St. Columba expressed for all time the passionate love of the Celt for the sight and sound of the sea.

Of his three chief monasteries in Ireland only Derry on Lough Foyle is near the sea; Kells and Durrow are both well inland. But it is significant that of the three, Derry, founded in 545 while the Yellow Plague was rife in Ireland, was St. Columba’s favourite. To leave it for Iona was anguish and it is good to know that on the last of his three visits to Ireland St. Columba’s was able to revisit Derry, and that he was in constant touch with Bangor and more distant Irish monasteries during his exile.

He first returned to Ireland in 576, when he and his King Aedhan of Dalriada crossed the Irish Channel to attend an important council of chiefs and clergy at Drumciatt, a hill in County Londonderry. Here Aedhan was acknowledged as the king of an independent nation which owed tribute, from then on, to no one but himself and his descendant. St. Columba’s royal blood, combined with his matchless oratory, also persuaded the High King not to abolish the order of bards whose increasing numbers and demands made them too great a burden on the country. Instead St. Columba arranged that their number should be reduced; but that the residue should continue, as always, to act as the nation’s historians by keeping the past alive for the people with their songs and their chronicles. Twelve hundred of the bards are said to have chanted a song of gratitude to their champion.

Leinster and Munster produced most of the bards, just as Ulster came to specialize in historical research. In monasteries in the south the bulk of the theological literature was written, including the penitentials that were later adopted by the Roman Church. Through one of its ablest scholars the monastic Church of Southern Ireland acknowledged Rome to be the centre of unity and direction less than fifty years after St. Columba’s death. But the north clung to old traditions till 692, when, as a result of a visit of Adamnan of Iona, the monasteries adopted the coronal tonsure and Roman computation of Easter.

From the seventh century onwards the number of hermits among the monks increased so much that they came to be called the Third Order of Saints in Ireland. The First Order, the bishops whose head had been St. Patrick, give place to the Second Order of presbyter-abbot saints when monasticism became the ruling force of the Church. It is interesting that in Ireland hermits should be the outcome of a monasticism closely modelled on that of St. Anthony, who preferred above all things to be alone with God, but was forced by his disciples to become the father of monasticism.

Complete conformity with the Roman system of hierarchy was not reached till the twelfth century, and then only through the tireless zeal of St. Malachy, the Wilfred of the Celtic Church in Ireland. After expanding steadily from the beginning of the sixth to the middle of the ninth centuries the Church was cut off in its prime by the Norse invasion. Because of its vulnerable position Bangor was soon attacked. It was destroyed in 824, only thirty years after the monasteries all over the length and breadth of Ireland, while swarms of smaller settlements flourished on coastal islands. So thorough were the Norsemen that they visited every one. It is therefore surprising that a Church in the twelfth century yet remained for St. Malachy to reform. It is true that after the overwhelming disaster a general lowering of moral standards set in, but St. Malachy himself is a proof that the Church never died.

To Irish monks exile was a form of martyrdom to be practised for love of God. Abbots had often to console homesick monk, though scarcely one Irish monastery was placed in the founder’s native district. Full of men who had denied themselves all earthly ties, the monasteries produced splendid evangelists to serve the people of Ireland. In the second half of the sixth century Continental conditions made it possible to widen the mission field. Irish Monks left their beloved country to plant life-giving monasteries among the heathen abroad. Long before the Norsemen arrived in Ireland these were flourishing all over the Continent. During the invasion, what had once been a place of exile became instead a welcome refuge to thousands of saints and scholars whose Irish monasteries had gone up in flames. They and their precious books lived on abroad and contributed largely to the Carolingian Renaissance.

 

Sources

St. Patrick’s Confession and Epistle against Coroticus. Ed. Gogarty.

Book of Armagh, containing Memories of St. Patrick, Tirechan;

Life of St. Patrick, Muirchu Maccu Mactheni. Ed. Gwynne.

Breviarum of Tirechan.

Tripartite Life.

Dicta Patriccii.

Ecclesiastical History of England. Bede. Ed. J.A. Giles.

St. Patrick, His Life and Mission. Helena Concannnon.

Irish Moanasticism. Ryan.

Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae, containing Cogitosus’ Life of St. Brigid, and five other Lives. 1647. Ed. Plummer.

St. Brigid of Ireland. Alice Curtayne.

The Story of Iona, contaiing translation of St. Columba’s Altus Prosator. E.C. Trenholme.

The Historical St. Columba. W. Douglas Simpson.

The Book of Kells. Described by Sir Edward Sullivan. Pub. Studio.

Christianity in Celtic Lands. Gougaud.

Liturgy and Ritaul of the Celtic Church. Warren.

The Irish Tradition. Robin Flower.   Oxford, 1947.

The Independence of the Celtic Church in Ireland. W.S. Kerr.

The Story of Irish Orientalism. M. Mansoor.

Bredan the Navigator. Little.

The Voygge of St. Brendan. Published by Wynkyn de Worde, 1527. Ed. Thomas Wright, 1834.