Cathach Cholm Cille - Pádraig Mac Meanman


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Transcript

Tuairim le trí chéad bliain ó shoin, díbríodh Gaeil agus Caitligigh Chúige Uladh[1] isteach go Connachta le hordú rialtas Shasanaí. Agus tháinig buinne mór acu isteach anuas go Condae Mhaigh Eo. Lean siad lorg na gcnoc gur dibríodh isteach iad go Gleann Dhúchaill, gleann coilleadh a bhí ann (...) agus chaith siad trí blianaí ansin. Bhí siad ag tabhairt creachannaí as Acaill agus as Baile Chruaich, ag tíocht suas ar bheithígh is ar chaoirigh na tíre go ceann thrí mblian. Scab siad síos ar fud pharáiste Bhaile Chruaich ansin. Agus an mhuintir a scab, bhí Cú Choigrí[2] Ó Cléirigh orthu. Is aige a bhí seilbh leabhra Cholm Cille. Agus bhí deartháir dhó ann, Cairbre. Bhí an bheirt acu ina gcónaí i mBaile Chruaich. Ach fuaigh Chú Choigrí, Cú Choigrí go Cill Dhoinn. Chónaigh sé ansin. Thóg sé teach. Thóg sé garraí, feilm, agus tá an áit le feiceál go fóill ag fear ar bith. Tá a gharraí ansin mar an gcéanna a dtugthar[3] Garraí Chú Choigrí air. Agus tá an tobar uisce, fíoruisce, ann a dtugthar Tobar Chú Choigrí air. D'fhan Cairbre i mbaile a dtugthar (Bealach an Mhianaigh) air.

Le linn an ama, d'fhág Cú Choigrí Cill Dhoinn agus d'fhan roinn dá, fear dá chlainn ann [4] agus d'fhág sé na leabhraí aige. Agus an uair a bhí an mac ag fáil réidh leis na leabhra, ní tháinig le fear ar bith seilbh na, an leabhair seo a bheith aige, Cathach Cholm Cille, ach fear a mbeadh trí nó ceathair dho theangthacha aige agus é in ann an leabhar a léamha. Thiocfadh mí-ádh nó mí-rath eicínt air féin nó ar a mhuintir ná ar a áit mur, mur mbíodh sé saor ó pheacadh agus mur mbíodh sé ábalta an leabhar a léamha mar ba ceart.

Nuair a bhí sé ag fáil réidh leis an leabhar thug sé dho dh'fhear[5] dho mhuintir Fhithchille í lena choiméad. Agus choinnigh an fear sin í nó go rabh a am féin caití léithi agus ní rabh aon nduine dhá mhuintir féin in ann a coinneál ná a (...) (tráth) fada. Agus thug sé dho Mhánus Ó Dhónaill é, an fear a scríobh Beatha Cholm Cille, fear as Tír Chonaill mar an gcéanna. Agus an uair a bhí an fear sin ag fágáil Bhaile Chruaich, thug sé dho dh'fhear arbh ainm dhó Séamas Ó Catháin bhí ina chónaí ar an Bhun Mhór. Bhí sé ina bháillí ag Síol nDálaigh Bhaile Uí Fhiacháin agus a fhad agus bhí an leabhar i seilbh an fhir sin tháinig strainséaraí fir isteach go Baile Chruaich nach rabh ariamh roimhe ann. Ach bhí sé ina mhórscólaire i nGaeilic agus i mBéarla agus i dteangthachaí eile. Agus badh é ainm a bhí air Dónall Cam Ó Gallchóir. Bhí sé ina mháistir scoile agus chualaidh sé go rabh Cathach Cholm Cille ag an gCathánach. Agus fuaigh sé go dtí é go bhfuair sé cead uadh[6] an leabhar a fhoscailt agus dearcadh inti agus bhí sé in ann roinn daoithe a léamha ar aon nós. Agus an uair a d'fhoscail sé an leabhar agus a léigh sé roinn daoithe, cébí páirt daoithe a léigh sé, ach tháinig mí-ádh lena linn ar Shíol nDálaigh Bhaile Uí Fhiacháin agus fuair fear acu bás.

Translation

Around three hundred years ago, the Gaels and Catholics of Ulster were banished to Connacht by order of the government of England. And a great wave of them came down into County Mayo. They went along the hills until they were banished into Dooghill valley, it was wooded glen then (?), and they spent three years there. They raided Achill and Ballycroy, and lived off the cattle and sheep of the land for three years. Then they spread down all over the parish of Ballycroy. And among the people who spread down there was Cú Choigrí Ó Cléirigh. He was the one who had Colum Cille's books in his possession. And a brother of his, Cairbre, was there. The two of them were living in Ballycroy. But Cú Choigrí went to Cill Dhoinn. He settled down to live there. He built a house. He built a garden, a farm, and the place is still there for anyone to see. His garden, called Cú Choigrí's Garden, is still there too. And the well, the spring well, called Cú Choigrí's Well is there. Cairbre stayed in a village called Bealach an Mhianaigh (?).

In that time, Cú Choigrí left Cill Dhoinn and one of his sons stayed there and he left him his books. And when the son was finished with the books, no man could own the books, this book, the Cathach of Colum Cille, but a man who had three or four languages and who was able to read the book. He or his family or the place where he lived would have some sort of bad luck or misfortune, if he wasn't free of sin and if he wasn't able to read the book properly.

When he was giving the book away he gave it to a man who was a Fehilly to keep. And that man kept it until his time was up and none of his own people were able to keep it or (...). And he gave it to Maghnus Ó Domhnaill, the man who wrote the Life of Colum Cille, a man from Tyrconnell as well. And when that man was leaving Baile Chruaich, he gave it to a man who was called Séamas Ó Catháin who was living in Bunmore. He was a bailiff with the O'Donnells of Newport and while the book was in that man's possession a stranger came to Ballycroy who had never been there before then. And he was a great scholar of Irish and English and other languages. And his name was Dónall Cam ('crooked') Ó Gallchóir. He was a schoolmaster and he heard that Ó Catháin had the Cathach of Colum Cille. And he went to him and got permission from him to open the book and look inside and he was able to read some of it at any rate. And when he opened the book and read some of it, which ever part of it he read, the O'Donnells of Newport had great misfortune at that time and one man amongst them died.

Footnotes

For stress in this word cf. Éamonn Mhac an Fhailigh, The Irish of Erris, county Mayo (Dublin, 1968; repr. 1980), § 266. (Back)
= Cú Choigríche. (Back)
= dtugtar. Cf. Ruairí Ó hUiginn, 'Gaeilge Chonnacht', in Kim McCone et al., Stair na Gaeilge (Maigh Nuad, 1994), 539-609: 582. (Back)
Leg. ionn? Cf. Ruairí Ó hUiginn, op. cit., 599; Éamonn Mhac an Fhailigh, op. cit., § 37. (Back)
= d’fhear. Ruairí Ó hUiginn, op. cit., 599. (Back)
= uaidh. (Back)

Commentary

This account can be considered an example of folk history, providing an account of the various owners or possessors of the famous manuscript known as the Cathach of Colum Cille (St. Columba). Several persons are mentioned in the narrative, although little from this account accords well with the known history of the Cathach. Maghnus Ó Domhnaill is said to have possessed it, and it is clear from the text that he is considered to be the same Maghnus Ó Domhnaill who wrote the Life of St Colum Cille in 1533. See Anraí Mac Giolla Chomhaill, Sleachta as Betha Colaim Chille a thiomsaigh Mánas Ó Dónaill (Dublin, 1981). The storyteller speaks of families who held the manuscript in their possession, in effect describing the role of the comharba, or hereditary keeper of relics, an institution that stretches back to the early medieval period. Associated with this position in the past were the O'Donnells and the O'Roartys of county Donegal. The manuscript itself was enclosed in a shrine in the eleventh century, the manufacture of which was commissioned by Cathbharr Ó Domhnaill, chief of the O'Donnells and Domhnall Mag Robhartaigh, the abbot of Kells. The book was taken from Ireland to the continent in the seventeenth century, where it was further encased, this time in silver, by Daniel O'Donnell in Paris in 1723. See M. Joynt, 'The Cathach of St. Columba', The Irish Church Quarterly 10:39 (1917), 186-204: 187. It was eventually repatriated in the eighteenth century, where it remained in the possession of the O'Donnell family until it was donated to the Royal Irish Academy. See Michael Herity, 'The return of the Cathach to Ireland: conflicting accounts of the repatriation of the Cathach from the continent' in Alfred P. Smyth (eag.), Seanchas: studies in early and medieval Irish archaeology, history and literature in honour of Francis J. Byrne (Dublin, 2000), 454-64. According to tradition it was considered inappropriate to open the shrine and read the book. See Martin McNamara, The psalms in the early Irish church (Sheffield, 2000), 29. Despite misgivings, it was opened by a scholar, the Ulster King at Arms, Sir William Betham, in 1810. See William Betham, Irish antiquarian researches (Dublin, 1826), 110. The idea of bad luck associated with opening the shrine and reading the book may account for the episode in the given story, where ill fortune attends the O'Donnell family for allowing a scholar to read from the Cathach.

Title in English: Saint Columba's 'Battler'
Digital version published by: Doegen Records Web Project, Royal Irish Academy

Description of the Recording:

Speaker: Pádraig Mac Meanman from Co. Mayo
Person who made the recording: Karl Tempel
Organizer and administrator of the recording scheme: The Royal Irish Academy
In collaboration with: Lautabteilung, Preußische Staatsbibliothek (now Lautarchiv, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Recorded on 11-09-1930 at 12:10:00 in University College, Galway. Recorded on 11-09-1930 at 12:10:00 in University College, Galway.
Archive recording (ID LA_1127d1, from a shellac disk stored at the Royal Irish Academy) is 03:54 minutes long. Archive recording (ID LA_1127d1, from a shellac disk stored at the Royal Irish Academy) is 03:54 minutes long.
User recording (ID LA_1127d1, from a shellac disk stored at the Royal Irish Academy) is 03:51 minutes long. User recording (ID LA_1127d1, from a shellac disk stored at the Royal Irish Academy) is 03:51 minutes long.

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