Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Bethada Náem nÉrenn (Author: [unknown])

Life 17

Life of Ruadan

{folio 193a} This is the Life of Ruadan of the seed of Dui.455 He was of456 noble race, namely of the blood of the kings of Munster, to wit, Ruadan the Fair Son of Fergus Bern (Gap), son of Dera Dub (i.e. the Black), son of Daire Cerb (slash), son of Ailill Flannbec (i. e. little blood, or little-red) son of Fiacha Thick-neck, son of Eogan the Great, son of Ailill Crop-ear.

God chose this Ruadan in his mother's womb, and from the sucking of the breast, for he was full of the grace of the Holy Spirit from the day of his birth to the day of his death. Ruadan loved the Lord greatly in his childhood.

When he reached the age of learning, the mighty Lord instructed him to go and learn the457 scriptures, and the catholic faith,458 and other divine459 knowledge generally. After this Ruadan went to the Úi Néill of the South, to Finden, bishop of Clonard, and spent {folio 193b} his time with him, till he was perfect in the scripture.460 Then his tutor gave him leave to depart. He took a blessing from him, and left a blessing with him.

After this Ruadan went to Muscraighe (settling) in Ara mac ua Neitt, and erected461 a place of abode there. Afterwards the Lord sent an angel to Ruadan, who said to him: ‘The Lord does not grant to thee that thy resurrection should be in this place.’.

Thereupon Ruadan went to Lothra in Ormond, where his monastery is to-day. Saint Ruadan saw a dreadful wild boar before him in the hollow of a tree, for that was its lair. Ruadan was afraid at the sight of the boar. When the boar saw Ruadan he quitted the place in which he was as (a mark of) obedience to the Lord and to Ruadan. Ruadan built a venerable church462 to the Lord there at the angel's bidding, which is the origin of Lothra in Munster to-day.

At the same time Brendan mac ui Alta463 chose for himself a place of residence a little distance from Ruadan in Tulach Brendain (Brendan's Hill). Brendan built an oratory there, in a place where they could hear one another's bells on this side and on that. Brendan said [to his household]464: ‘Let us leave this district to Ruadan, for we


do not gain anything (by remaining) in the same district with him, because of his repute and honour’465.

Brendan went after this to Clonfert Brendan, where stands his monastery to-day; and he became the patron saint466 there. Ruadan blessed Brendan because of467 his submissiveness to himself, and said: ‘My monastery,’ said he, ‘shall not be stronger468 than his monastery for ever.’

Ruadan went after this to the district of Cinel Cairpre Moir, to Snam Luthair. The king of this district died at this time, {folio 194a} and was being carried to his burial as Ruadan arrived, and the people were in great lamentation and mourning.469 St. Ruadan was moved to pity for them, and he entreated the Lord on their behalf, so that God raised up the king afterwards in honour of Ruadan. The king then offered his city, and his district, and himself, and his race as well, to God and to Ruadan for ever470 . And the name of God and of Ruadan was magnified in consequence.

Ruadan went one day to Ros Eirnine in the district of the Oriors. He sees before him a great multitude there making471 entreaty, with heavy grief, and great lamentation. Ruadan asked the cause of the outcry.472 ‘We have good reason for it,’ said they, ‘a time of great pestilence befell here, and the chests of the city were left and hidden under the ground, and we do not know in473 what secret place they are.’

After this Ruadan went through the city continually sounding his bell, so that he damaged it, meanwhile entreating the Lord on their behalf. When the Lord heard Ruadan's earnest intercession to Him, He opened the ground above474 them, so that the chests were evident to every one. And out of them (the chests) they gave their garments afterwards in honour of St. Ruadan. And the nobles offered their city, and their race, and themselves475 to God and to Ruadan. The name of God, &c.

One day Ruadan's cook went to carry milk to the monastery seven days running. Every time, however, that he came to the door of the monastery, the milk vessel would be smashed, and its contents spilt. After this Ruadan went to the door of the monastery to find out who476 it was that inflicted this total loss on the cook.

Ruadan saw before him two demons, one on the right-hand


post {folio 194b} (of the door), and the other on the left-hand post, and an iron hammer in the hand of each of them. ‘Why have ye come here?’ said Ruadan. ‘Soon told’477 said they: ‘to smash the milk-vessel, and to spill the milk.’ ‘Why so?’ said Ruadan. ‘The reason is,’ said they, ‘because of the disrepect shown478 by the cook to the guests and to the poor as well.’ Ruadan bound it upon the demons afterwards to depart into the depth of the great sea, and to remain there perpetually, and that they should not come to destroy anything in the same place, or in any other place for ever. The demons did as Ruadan told them.

A certain man of Arad Cliach came to Ruadan to beg him to make a leech of him. Ruadan blessed his hands and his eyes; and all the sciences of healing were revealed to him thereafter, so that he was perfect in them.

The queen of Cualann was seized with479 a serious and dangerous illness. There were fifty leeches attending her for a long time, but 480 they could not cure her. Afterwards481 the Lord came to Ruadan in the form of an angel, and said to him: ‘It is to thee that the Lord has granted to heal the queen.’

Ruadan shook off his slumber. [There was revealed to the queen through a vision in sleep the same Ruadan] in bright array and in great glory. And it seemed to her that he said to her: ‘I will send a young man to thee on a day like this (lit. the namesake of the day that I have come here). His appearance will be like mine, and he will heal thee’482. Thereafter the queen commended herself into the hands of God and Ruadan, and told the leeches to retire483 as they could not heal her.

Then Ruadan sent the aforesaid leech to her; and a brazen vessel which they had was brought to Ruadan full of water. Ruadan sained {folio 195a} the water; he also spat in it. And he gave the leech a drink from it, and said to him afterwards: ‘Go to the queen, and take this vessel with thee. Spit in it thyself, and give the queen a drink from it, and she will be whole thereafter; that is to say, a stone of blood which is in her womb will depart from her as a dead foetus. And take no fee from the king of Cualann except the cloth which he has, called Leuia.’484

The leech then went to the queen, and did as Ruadan said, and485 healed the queen. The king offered486 many gifts to the leech in return for the healing of the queen. ‘No,’ said the leech, ‘these


shall not be accepted from thee, but only the leiuia to take to Ruadan.’ ‘Thou shalt have it,’ said the king of Cualann; and the king then gave to him the linen cloth; and it remained on the altar of Ruadan for a long time afterwards. And the name of God, &c.

One day Brendan's ship was on the deep sea of Luimnech; and the sea sucked down the ship and sank it; and there was in the lower part of the ship a young lad, a son of a king of the Britons, who was a pupil of Brendan. Brendan said: ‘It is to Ruadan of Lothra that the Lord has granted to bring back this ship again, and to raise the little boy.’487

Then Brendan sent messengers to Ruadan to beg him to come to the place where he was, that he might help488 this disaster. Ruadan then went to Brendan, and besought the Lord for him; and God heard the intercession of Ruadan, and brought the ship back, and the son of the king of the Britons in it alive. And the little lad said: ‘It was the cowl of Ruadan that was with me under the sea, and did not allow the water to attack me, so that I {folio 195b} returned back again.’ The name of God, &c.

The (monastic) family of Ruadan consisted of three fifties continually; and they received their livelihood without any human exertion on their part, save only prayer and intercession of the Creator, and the daily performance of divine psalmody, in praising the Lord continually for the manner in which they received their sustenance. Ruadan had a wonderful tree in the monastery; an angelic sap would distil from it continually, which had the scent of wine, and every one who tasted it but a single time was satiated.489 Great envy possessed the saints of Erin at this, and they were jealous of Ruadan.

And the saints of Erin went to Finnian, bishop of Clonard, for he was tutor in law and doctrine to many of the saints of Erin, and some authorities say that he was (tutor) to [all] the saints of Erin. And the saints made490 a grievous complaint to Finnian, and said that no servants would remain to their monks in their churches, but that either openly or secretly they would go off to Ruadan to seek the sacred sustenance. Then Finnian and the saints of Erin went together to Ruadan to Lothra. When Finnian entered the monastery there he saw the wonder-working tree; and Finnian sained the tree.491 They remained there then till the hour of refection arrived.

The hospitaller arose (and went) to Ruadan and said to him: ‘There has not dropped from the tree to-day more than enough for


our own monks and household; and what are our guests to eat?’ St. Ruadan said: ‘Bring us water of the fountain hither, and the Lord will turn it into wine hereafter.’ The cook thereupon arose (and went) to the fountain, and filled his vessel with the water. Then a salmon leaped {folio 196a} towards him through the stone that was under the fountain. Its size was wonderful and unspeakable in their eyes (as may be judged), for the print of it still remains on the stone. The hospitaller then went to Ruadan with the water and the big salmon. Ruadan blessed the water, and the Lord then turned it into wine in honour of Ruadan.

Ruadan satisfied492 the saints of Erin and his other guests that night with wine and fish, so that they were happy and cheerful thereafter. The saints entreated Ruadan with earnest prayer that he would come into conformity with themselves and with their monks in (ordinary) human life, that they might not be jealous of him. Ruadan agreed to this request in humility and patience. Finnian thereupon blessed Ruadan as a reward for his humility, and blessed the monastery and the ground which should yield its fruits to him.

Finnian said to Ruadan afterwards: ‘I declare to thee, that the land which shall be ploughed by thee shall produce abundant crops continually, and will not require manuring as in the case of other men.’ Ruadan accepted this of St. Finnian. Finnian and the saints of Erin returned severally from Ruadan in lasting peace; and Finnian gave his blessing to Ruadan.

Diarmait son of Fergus Cerrbel (i.e. Wrymouth), whom some call Diarmait son of Cerball, was king of Erin in the time of Ruadan. This king sent stewards and servitors throughout Erin to levy his tributes and rents, that his power might be manifested to the men of Erin generally.

There was a certain vile and outrageous person who was his steward, named Baclam (i. e. Crooked arm). Satan dwelt in him before and afterwards (i.e. continuously). He was never {folio 196b} on his guard against the devil, but493 they were ever in agreement together to do despite to God. At the instigation of the devil, this foul creature494 Baclam set out with a great495 spear which he himself called the spear of the high king which he would carry athwart into the496 forts and fair cities of kings and other great men, in order that this might be an497 increase of strength to the high king.

In this way Baclam started for Connaught, to speak precisely.


He proceeded to the fort of Aed Guaire, the king of Úi Maine. When498 he reached it they all499 said to him: ‘Enter this city with us with honour and reverence.’ He said that he would not enter in that way, but would carry in the spear of the king held athwart, as he did in the case of the forts of every other king. When the household of Aed heard this, they made a breach in the city, and admitted Baclam, after breaching the city, with his spear athwart.

When Aed Guaire heard of this deed,500 he was furious, and revolted violently; he went to the place where the steward was and inflicted501 a violent death upon him, and killed him forthwith. But though Aed Guaire had done this, he felt that he could not successfully resist the oppression of the high king. Thereupon he went502 to Muscraige, to bishop Senach; and went under his protection because of the kinship that was between them, for their two mothers were sisters.

Then bishop Senach took Aed Guaire with him to Ruadan for fear of the king, [because of his kinship with him,] for two sisters of Ruadan, named Gael and Ruanat, had fostered the noble bishop Senach [and Ruadan]. But though Ruadan accepted {folio 197a} the (duty of) protection, he was afraid that the king would503 not listen to him. In order therefore to protect his refugee he took Aed Guaire to Britain for fear of king Diarmait. He left him in Britain, and returned himself.

As to the king Diarmait, when he heard this, he thereupon sent messengers to the king of Britain, and to the chief men of the district504 as well, threatening505 slaughter, unless they sent back Aed Guaire. When the Britons heard this they sent back Aed Guaire.

Aed Guaire went to Poll Ruadain (the Pit of Ruadan), for it was there that506 he found St. Ruadan to be. Ruadan then made507 a place and dwelling in the ground for Aed Guaire in the oratory in which he himself was serving the Lord, in order to protect his refugee against the arrogant king. And he did not admit any one to the subterranean chamber where he was with St. Ruadan, except a single servant when actually ministering to him.

Diarmait heard that Aed Guaire had gone to Ruadan for protection against him. He went thereupon to Poll Ruadain, and sent his charioteer to the oratory in which Ruadan was serving God, to fetch Aed away from Ruadan. When the charioteer reached the oratory the Lord closed the doors of his sight, so that he was blind,


and could not make use of them (his eyes). The charioteer, however, repented earnestly of the deed which he had attempted, and committed himself to the judgement of God and Ruadan therein.

The king, thinking that the charioteer had been gone a long time, went himself to the oratory there, to question Ruadan where Aed Guaire was; {folio 197b} for he was convinced that Ruadan would not tell him a fiction. ‘I know not,’ said Ruadan, ‘unless he be under thy feet.’ Diarmait turned back from the oratory, for he did not understand the word that Ruadan had spoken to him. (But) afterwards508 he wondered in his mind whether what Ruadan had said might be true; viz. that it might be possible509 to have put some one under the ground where his foot had rested in the oratory, and that it was to avoid falsehood that Ruadan had said the above cited word.

Moreover the king, looking back at the oratory, saw a servant of Ruadan's household going into the subterranean chamber in which Aed Guaire was, carrying a lighted510 torch to minister to Aed there, as he was accustomed to do. This was seen by Diarmait, and he called a servant of his household named Donnan, and told him to go to the oratory, and dig up the ground to find Aed Guaire, and bring him out of the pit there to himself in despite of Ruadan. Donnan went to the oratory with his iron tools.511 And when he was minded to dig up the ground to get at Aed Guaire, his hand dried up on him, so that he could not use it at all. 512

Donnan repented earnestly of the outrageous deed which he had attempted against Ruadan, and offered himself to the judgement of God and Ruadan. Now the charioteer of the king whom the Lord had blinded in the oratory in honour of Ruadan, and Donnan himself, were made monks by Ruadan, and were sainted (afterwards), and they are counted in the number of the saints of Erin at Poll Ruadain to-day. When513 Diarmait, however, saw that his messengers did not return, he went himself to the oratory, {folio 198a} and carried off Aed Guaire in despite of God and Ruadan. And they went afterwards to Tara and Aed with him.

Ruadan was very angry at this, and assembled his monks, and they went to Brendan of Birr. Brendan went with him and with their respective monks to Tara. Ruadan demanded his refugee of the king Diarmait. Diarmait flatly refused St. Ruadan. The refusal was heard by Ruadan and Brendan and their monks. They proceeded to ring their bells, both large and small, against Diarmait (so violently) that they damaged514 the bells in ringing them. They also


sang psalms of cursing and vengeance against him; but they could not obtain their will of the king, but he treated them with great contempt.

Ruadan and Brendan remained at Tara that night. There were twelve kings with Diarmait, (and) their twelve sons who were with them died that night, and were found dead on the morrow. A great outcry was raised on high515 in Tara on account of them, when516 this was heard. The kings went to the high-king, Diarmait, and said to him: ‘It is through the psalm-singing of the clerks and of this St. Ruadan, who is here demanding (the settlement of) his business from thee, it is through this that our sons have died.’ The foster-fathers517 of the dead youths went to Ruadan afterwards,518 and entreated him with great lamentation to raise their (foster)-sons for them. Then Ruadan and Brendan with their monks prostrated themselves in 'cross-vigil' and made earnest prayer to the Lord for the raising up of the dead boys; and the Lord brought them back to life again in honour of Ruadan.

{folio 198b}The next night Ruadan was in Tara demanding519 his refugee; that night a [dreadful] vision appeared to the king. He saw a mighty tree; and it seemed to him that the top of the tree was among the rafters520 of heaven, and its roots in the earth. He saw further thrice fifty men approach it. A broad-bladed axe was in the hand of every one of them, and they began to521 hack and hew the tree with them, till they brought522 it to the ground with them, and the noise of the tree falling roused the king from his troubled523 and restless sleep. And this is what remained in the windows of his hearing, the sound of the psalmody of Ruadan with his monks, and the ringing of their bells together as they cursed him, so that these sounds continued to fill his ears.

The king went out of the city at the rising of the sun, for it was tabu to the rulers of Tara that sunrise should overtake them within the seven ramparts of Tara. The king proceeded to the place where the holy clerk Ruadan was with his monks. When the king arrived the monks ceased their chanting,524 and kept silence to listen to the king.

Then spoke Diarmait: ‘It is a good work that I am engaged on, striving to uphold order and justice, to maintain right, and enforce respect for525 law.526 And I had the certainty of attaining it,’ said he, ‘were only peace maintained. But as for you,’ said he, ‘ill is your


work in attempting to uphold wickedness, overturning right and sovereign rule, bringing law into contempt, and protecting criminals. The vengeance of the Lord will rain upon you therefor,’ said he.

And Diarmait continued: ‘Thy church, O Ruadan, will be the church527 the pre-eminence of which over the chief churches of Erin will be the first to fail.’ Ruadan retorted: {folio 199a} ‘Thy528 sovereignty shall fail yet sooner,’ said he, ‘and none of thy seed shall inhabit Tara in thy train.’ Diarmait replied: ‘Thy place529 shall be desert, said he, a herd of swine shall range it, and root it up with their snouts.’ Ruadan answered him: ‘Tara shall be desert for many centuries ere that,’ said he, ‘and no one shall inhabit it thenceforth till doom.’

Diarmait answered him: ‘Disgrace will come on thy body, for there will be destruction530 of one of thy members, to wit of thine eye, so that with that (eye) thine eyesight will never be clear, so long as thou livest.’531 Ruadan replied: ‘Thou shalt perish by the swords of enemies by an ignoble death on thee, and thy members shall be divided, and suddenly and hideously dispersed, so that they shall not be got together for burial.’ Diarmait answered: ‘Thy tomb — a wild boar shall assail it, and root it up,’ said he. Ruadan answered him: ‘I promise thee, said he, that the532 thigh which thou didst not lift (lit. open) in Tara in my honour, shall one day not be found with thy (other) members for burial; and as to the house in which thou shalt die,’ said St. Ruadan, ‘when that house is cleared out after the sheep, it will be on the rubbish-shovel that thou wilt be lifted from the bosom of a dung-heap.’

Then said Diarmait: ‘Cease now,’ said he, ‘ye have taken away my sovereignty, and are become protectors of criminals. I know that ye have greater favour with the Lord than I.’ ‘Begone,’ said Diarmait, ‘and take the man with you in return for (the payment of) his redemption money to me.’ They remained there awhile, and saw thirty blue horses, {folio 199b} unlike any other horses [for beauty], rising out of the great sea to the south of Poll Ruadain, and coming to Ruadan. Ruadan made them race against the horses of Tara, and they beat them. And Ruadan gave the horses as redemption money for Aed Guaire. The king gave them to the nobles of his household. A little while afterwards the horses returned to the same neighbouring533 sea, without a particle of profit to534 their warriors. Ruadan then departed from Tara in peace with the king, and Aed Guaire with him.

Ruadan sees some lepers following him. The lepers


asked an alms of him. ‘I have no means here,’ said he, ‘except the horses under the chariot; and you shall have them for the love of the Lord.’ The lepers retired, taking the horses with them. Ruadan afterwards saw two stags coming towards him from the neighbouring wood. They put their heads into the harness535 of the chariot, and bore him with great honour to his own monastery. The stags return by themselves to their wooded536 glens.

Once during Lent Ruadan stood and said to his monks: ‘There is a company of saints coming to visit you; set meat before them, and eat of the meat yourselves when it happens that you cannot provide enough for them of other food.’ When the saints had arrived, the monks brought the meat. Ruadan sained the meat, though he was abashed before them. The Lord Jesus Christ turned the meat into bread in honour of Ruadan.

When537, however, the saints set themselves at table, a novice who had come with them to the place, refused {folio 200a} to eat the bread, through doubt and indevotion,538 because he had seen that the bread had been made out of meat only a little while before. A sufficiency of other bread was found for him. And while the novice was eating the bread, it appeared to the clerks, and to all besides, that bright red blood was dripping from his lips, and that it was flesh539 that he was eating. It was evident to him that every one was gazing at him thus. The novice repented earnestly of what he had done. When Ruadan saw the repentance of the novice, he sained his portion; and the Lord turned it into natural bread in honour of Ruadan afterwards. The name of God, &c.

One summer time Ruadan was standing, and saw twelve540 lepers coming towards him, who asked an alms of the saint. He said to them: ‘It is in the Lord's power to give you an alms, ye hapless ones.’ St. Ruadan planted his staff in the ground, and in doing so broke up the ground. There arose a burst of water through the earth541 thereupon, which became a notable fountain called Piscina, because there is abundance of fish in it. It is now popularly called Ruadan's fount. As to the twelve lepers, they washed in the water of the fountain, and were completely whole.542 The name of God, &c.

543 It was to St. Ruadan that his Lord Jesus Christ sent the doe from the wood towards evening at the time of {folio 200b} vespers. The doe would stay with Ruadan to be milked. It ran quickly and lightly,


and afterwards it departed and came to Colman Ela, and then was milked for Colman a little after the rise of dawn.

Once at the very beginning of spring Ruadan was minded to reside at Doire Eidnech. Mac Dairine of Doire Mor heard that he was there; and the young man set off to go to him, with a large basket of butter as a present for Ruadan. Mac Dairine placed the vessel on two unbroken oxen.

The oxen set their faces towards the monastery from Doire Mor, a path not used before or afterwards. The Lord prepared an excellent road before them through the bog, which was never found before this time or afterwards, and the road was hard and practicable for the oxen at every step till it reached Ruadan at Doire Eidnech. Ruadan divided the (contents of the) vessel into a hundred and fifty parts, and distributed them to the same number of men. The vessel, however, was found full on the following Whitsunday, as it was when it came to Ruadan.

Once upon a time Ruadan chanced to be in Ara [Cliach]. He sees a woman coming towards him with wet cheeks, and (signs of) heavy grief, and great entreaty. And she besought Ruadan humbly and patiently to raise her son from the dead for her. When Ruadan besought the mighty Lord on behalf of the dead, the dead arose thereafter.544

{folio 201a}Another youth St. Ruadan raised. When his head was put under Ruadan's cowl, he arose from the dead.

A third man Ruadan raised from the dead in Cuillenn in the territory of Eile. The place in which he wrought this miracle was given to him. To this day it is called Tulach Ruadain (R.'s Hill).

There was a certain cursed fellow in the district of Úi Néill called (per antiphrasin) Aed the guiltless.545 Many were his bad doings, for he was fierce and a counsellor of evil. Now this man offered his land to Aed son of Brec. Aed promised him the kingdom of God in return.

Afterwards the man died. A vast pitiless host of demons fought against him. The holy bishop fought against them in the air on his behalf. When they wanted to overpower the bishop and carry off the man to his own place and abode, viz. to hell, bishop Aed promptly besought Ruadan546 and Columcille to come to help him. The two saints arose (and went) to him, and both fought (on his side) against them, and bore the man with them to the kingdom of God, after defeating the demon.


Ruadan and Columcille, however, after this each of them said that owing to this they had forgotten (that it was time for) their bell-ringing, (and they hurried off) after taking leave of one another. Now Columcille had a gold manual [writing tablets] which he used for his pupils' writing. Through forgetfulness he left it with Ruadan one day.

Baithin came into Columcille's presence, and said {folio 201b} to him: ‘Where,’ said he, ‘is the manual which you had with you the day of the decision?’ ‘I declare, O Baithin, said Columcille, that I left it behind with Ruadan the day of the decision. And I say to thee, go thyself to Ruadan and bring the manual with you to me.’

Baithin set out to go to Ruadan. Ruadan, however, had the manual with him in readiness for Baithin, for it had been revealed to him long before he came, that Baithin would come to fetch the manual. Baithin bade farewell to Ruadan, and came back to Columcille, bringing the book.

Now Ruadan was twelve feet high, and perfect in form, and it was evident that he was well proportioned inwardly, for he was comely both within and without, but more comely within. He was noble in the sight of men, but nobler still in the sight of God. He was great in body, but greater still in grace. He was great before God and men; great in the present age, greater in the age which never passes away.

He was great in love and obedience, great in patience and compassion, great in manifold good, (and in) the frequency and number of his worthy deeds in this world, whereof he has reaped manifold good in the other world from the Son of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ our Lord. For this, too, he has received the exceeding great reward, and the ineffable honour, and the glory which can never be extinguished in the heavenly country, in the presence of the High King, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the mighty Trinity, one God, the Lord Almighty, our only High King, with Whom is peace unending, and fullness of every good.

This life of Ruadan was extracted from the book of Echraid O'Sheil of Fercall in the convent of the brethren of Athlone, on Feb. 30 (sic!), 1628 A. D. And it was (re)copied by the same scribe in the convent of the brethren of Donegal on March 2, 1629. I am the poor friar Michael O'Clery.

Appendix 1

547{folio 160b} Once when Ruadan was on a clerical tour to the king of Eoganacht Caisil, Eochaid son of Maelugra, a certain druid of the


men of Alba came on a guesting tour to the men of Erin with his burdensome company, resolved to carry off the honour of Erin, or to get everything he should ask of the men of Erin.

Loban was the name of the druid. He came to the place where Eochaid was; and he would accept no other boon of him, except that the one eye which he had in his head should be given to him; otherwise he would carry off with him to Alba his honour, and the honour of the men of Erin. When the king heard this he said that his honour would remain for ever, but his eye would not so remain. Thereupon he put his finger under his eye, and threw the eye into the druid's bosom.

When St. Ruadan perceived the unlawful demand made by the druid, he fell on his knees and prostrated himself in cross-vigil, and prayed earnestly to God that the two eyes of the druid might go into the head of the king Eochaid, to serve him in the place of his own eye. And this was fulfilled through Ruadan's intercession.

The two eyes of the druid started out of his head through the intercession of St. Ruadan, and through the power of God, and went into the face and countenance of Eochaid, and served him, as if they had been his own eyes from his birth, so that all who saw him said: ‘It is Loban's eye (Suil Lobain) that he has;’ and so the name of Suiblebain (Sullivan) stuck to him. When Eochaid saw this miracle he offered himself and his seed and descendants {folio 161a} in perpetual possession to God and to Ruadan. And the name of God, &c.