Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Life of St. Declan of Ardmore (Author: Patrick Power)

chapter 42

On another occasion there approached a foreign fleet towards Declan's city and this was their design—to destroy and to plunder it


of persons and of cattle, because they (the foreigners) were people hostile to the faith. Many members of the community ran with great haste to tell Declan of the fleet which threatened the town and to request him to beg the assistance of God against the invaders. Declan knew the man amongst his own disciples who was holiest and most abounding in grace, scil., Ultan, already mentioned, and him he ordered to pray to God against the fleet. Ultan had pity on the Christian people and he went instantly, at the command of Declan, in front of the fleet and he held his left hand against it, and, on the spot, the sea swallowed them like sacks full of lead, and the drowned sailors were changed into large rocks which stand not far from the mouth of the haven where they are visible (standing) high out of the sea from that time till now. All Christians who witnessed this rejoiced and were glad and they gave great praise and glory to God and to Declan their own patron who caused the working of this miracle and of many other miracles besides. Next there arose a contention between Ultan and Declan concerning this miracle, for Ultan attributed it to Declan and Declan credited it to Ultan; and it has become a proverb since in Ireland when people hear of danger or jeopardy:—‘The left hand of Ultan against you (the danger).’ Ultan became, after the death of Declan, a miracle-working abbot of many other holy monks.