980 YEARS AGO1034

1034: St Columba’s liturgical fan, a revered relic, was lost and the Lector of Kells drowned along with 30 other men whilst travelling back to Ireland from Scotland. The tragedy occurred late in 1034, according to the Annals of Ulster. The history records: “Maicnia ua hUchtáin, lector of Cenannas, was drowned coming from Scotland, and Colum Cille’s fan and three relics of Patrick and thirty men were lost as well.” The foundation of the Abbey of Kells was inspired by St Columba in the sixth century. Maicnia would have proclaimed the Scripture at Kells and would likely have used St Columba’s fan in the execution of this function. According to tradition the fan was originally a leaf from an other-worldly tree. The spelling of the fan’s (cuilebad) name within a writing wheel in the Book of Ballymote suggests the relic symbolised the symbolic system of wheel-writing with native ogam symbols as well as it’s liturgical function.

Saturday, 30th August 2014, 10:48 am