Colm Cille's Lineage.
Niall, of the Nine Hostages,
St Eithne and Fedlimidh (Felim) were the parents of St Colm Cille (St. Columba).
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.
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.
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.
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.