Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Life of Mac Creiche (Author: [unknown])

chapter 8


Then the clerks went westward to Cluain Dirair, to the town of Baethbronach (i.e. the foolishly sorrowful), who was king of Corcumruad at that time, a man who had never smiled or laughed at any time. ‘Are you content that I should come with you?’ said Mainchin. ‘I am content,’ said Mac Creiche. ‘Would it be unbecoming for us to make a request?’ said Mainchin. ‘What is the request?’ said Mac Creiche. ‘Why this,’ said he, ‘for a ridge of corn for your provision.’ ‘I am willing,’ said Mac Creiche. Mac Creiche sat down on the edge of the lawn; and Mainchin went into Baethbronach's fort, to ask him for a ridge of corn as provision for Mac Creiche and Ailbe on their return from Aran. ‘Thou shalt have a ridge of me,’ said Baethbronach.


Baethbronach's reapers were at that time reaping a field of corn in front of the fort. Mainchin begins to reap his ridge, while Mac Creiche sat at the end of the ridge. A great storm of wind and wet came upon them, and all Baethbronach's wheat was carried into the sea owing to the force of the tempest. All the reapers retired to the fort except the clerks. Mainchin continued to reap his ridge, while the clerks sat and watched him; and not a spot of their raiment or of their persons was wetted, but the fairest and most brilliant sunshine poured down upon them; as appears from the following stave from the poem on Mac Creiche :


    1. There was a shower without shame
      On Baethbronach's reapers;
      It carried half his corn
      Into the seal-haunted sea.
    2. There was sun unsullied in contests given,
      It is not concealed,
      Brilliant and wondrous
      On the corn of Mac Creiche.


Then Baethbronach offered himself and his children and his fort and his land to Mac Creiche and to Ailbe, and promised) that none of his children or descendants should be carried to any other church for burial) for ever; as the stave runs:

    1. Baethbronach offered
      An offering not concealed,
      Cluain Dirair, a strong foundation,
      To Mac Creiche for ever.
And the church now stands on the site of the fort, and the cemetery is on the spot where the clerks sat, and the ridge is the place on which the great cross stands between the church and the sea and Ailbe's Strand.


Then Mac Creiche granted Sliab Gainim, from Fothribe Senain on the west to Fertas Muine Muirbigi on the east, between the church and the sea, that the sea should never come over the land till doom; and that no one who should dwell therein should have fear or dread of the sea for ever. It was from this place that Ailbe went to the Land of Promise, to meet the seven of his (monastic) household whom he had sent westwards into the ocean. And Mac Creiche and Ailbe were sitting from one day to another at Ailbe's Seat waiting for the wave; and the wave never passed the place where they were, nor will it pass it till doom. Then Ailbe left (as a bequest) that the church in that fort should never be overwhelmed by the sea till doom.


Then Ailbe left promises and bequests to the successor of Mac Creiche: that no successor of Mac Creiche should die a violent death, while Ailbe is in heaven. ‘Alas then,’ said Mac Creiche to Ailbe, ‘it is sad that we should part on earth. As I spent my youth in thy company, so would I spend my old


age.’ ‘Thou shalt have a reward for thy company,’ said Ailbe, ‘and as we are united on earth, so shall we be united in heaven. Let thy request reach me before we part; what dost thou wish?’ ‘I wish’, said Mac Creiche, ‘that as I am old and aged myself, long life may be granted to all my successors after me who do according to my will.’ ‘I will entreat my Lord,’ said Ailbe, ‘and if I obtain it, it shall be to thee.’ Then Ailbe entreated his Lord, and obtained his request. And Ailbe said to Mac Creiche: ‘I have obtained the request from my Lord; and thou shalt have it from me.’ Then Mac Creiche entreated Ailbe that he would grant long life to his successors; then Ailbe bequeathed to Mac Creiche's successors heaven and long life.


Then Ailbe left as a further bequest that every true prayer which anyone offers in that place on Ailbe's Strand, provided it be offered at Ailbe's monument, or at that of Mac Creiche, shall be granted him. From thence also will go seven of the (monastic) family of Ailbe and Mac Creiche to the Land of Promise. Thence too will Ailbe go with his monks to the Land of Promise on the Day of Doom. Great then is the splendour and the wonder-working power of the seat on that strand. Then Ailbe blessed the new cell and temple of that spot; for he was high-bishop of Munster at that time, and Mac Creiche likewise was a bishop.