St. Eithne 
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Colm Cille's Lineage.

Niall, of the Nine Hostages,
(Famous warrior King of Ireland).
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Father of
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Conal Gulban
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Father of
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Fergus
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Father of
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Fedlimdh m Eithne
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Father of
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Colmcille

bige ithne, the Noble, called also Dearkfionna was allied to the blood-royal of Ireland; she belonged to a Leinster royal sept.


                                              Artist:- Theresa Mc Laughlin

St Eithne and Fedlimidh   (Felim)  were the parents of St Colm Cille (St. Columba).

Before the birth of St Colm Cille St Eithne had a wonderful vision. An angel stood before her, displaying to her astonished gaze a cloak of perfect colouring, and covered with the most beautiful flowers. She longed to take it in her hands, but the cloak rose into the air, and spreading out, floated over land and sea ‘till it seemed to rest upon the hills of a distant land.

       
Puzzled by this vision,  she described  it to some who were versed in these matters, and they explained  it as foretelling  that her little son was to travel over the seas, and there  win great distinction  and honour. 

St. Eithne gave birth to St. Colum Cille on 7 December 521 AD in Gartan, Tyrconnell.

At Gartan where St Colm Cille was born, there lies a stone called Leac na Cumba (the flagstone of loneliness), and it has always been regarded as having the miraculous power of easing the lonely effects of homesickness. 

It is near this place that Gartan clay is to be found and this is kept in homes in order to prevent fire or untimely death. It is said whoever carries Gartan clay is never burned or drowned, nor shall he die without a priest. However, it must be one of the natives of Gartan that digs the clay for distribution.

              Some twenty miles east  of Iona, on the  edge of the mouth of the Firth of Lorne, you will find on  the map a Cluster  of tiny islands. One was known as HINBA and it had a very  special role within the Columban story. It was the place where Colm Cille’s  mother, Eithne, is said to have lived for a while and the place where she  died. Here is the place where they made her grave. "On the peak of Hinba"
                

Colum Cille had been exiled from Doire (Derry) to the island of Iona . He had caused the deaths of thousands of his fellow countrymen.

Eithne had come to Hinba and remained there. Not to Iona, although close enough to be within sight of it. Near, very very near indeed and yet so far……..

Here was the mother so driven by love and longing, for a wayward son, as to follow on his heels, when he set out for exile in disgrace and shame - for remember, this is the way it was when Colm Cille left Ireland in 563.

Her grave, marked by a standing stone some eighteen inches high, roughly inscribed with a little cross, right up on the highest point of land, over-looking the rocky landing place, hidden from all.

              

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Eithne's Lineage.

Cathair Mor 
(King of Leinster)
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Father of
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Oliol the great
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Father of
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Cairbre the Sapient
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Father of
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Navi
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Father of
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Deema
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Father of
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Eithne


 

 

 

Birth Of Colm Cille.

Eithne was in a place that is called Gartan and it was the night before Colmcille was born. Again an angel appeared and told her that, "she would bring forth on the morrow the son that was promised her to bear". He told her to go south to Lough Akibbon where she would find a "broad flagstone" and it was to, "be brought to a certain place called RathCno and that thereon should God will the child be brought forth of her". Asking how she would recognise the flagstone, Eithne was told that it would be floating on the "bosom of the lake".

 

 

 

Birth Of Colm Cille. (Continued)

The following day Eithne got help from her kinfolk and, "found the flagstone" as instructed. "Her folk brought it away with them without labour certain it is that it were a task for thirty men to bring it from the lake to the place where it today". At a time when there were no roads, the easiest way back to Rath Cno in Gartan with the flagstone would have been through Altahoorey Glen or Armour’s Glen as it is now known.

  
    

Gartan Clay.

Many Irish families keep a little bit of Gartan clay. It is said to have miraculous powers. 
 " The sickness of childbirth came upon Eithne" here "in a lonely valley hard by a little stream. and she sat down in a certain spot there and in that place she left some of the blood that is wont to come before the child". With the birth of the baby now imminent one of the kinsmen who was helping with the carrying of the flagstone covered the bloodstained spot with bracken and leaves. Aware of the holy significance which this man placed on the spot, Eithne assured him that his efforts were unnecessary as nobody except himself and his descendants would ever find that spot again.

 

          

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