Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
79. Clonmacnoise
By T. W. Rolleston (Translated)
IN a quiet water’d land, a land of roses,
  Stands Saint Kieran’s city fair;
And the warriors of Erin in their famous generations
  Slumber there.
There beneath the dewy hillside sleep the noblest        5
  Of the clan of Conn,
Each below his stone with name in branching Ogham
  And the sacred knot thereon.
There they laid to rest the seven Kings of Tara,
  There the sons of Cairbre sleep—        10
Battle-banners of the Gael that in Kieran’s plain of crosses
  Now their final hosting keep.
And in Clonmacnoise they laid the men of Teffia,
  And right many a lord of Breagh;
Deep the sod above Clan Creide and Clan Conaill,        15
  Kind in hall and fierce in fray.
Many and many a son of Conn the Hundred-fighter
  In the red earth lies at rest;
Many a blue eye of Clan Colman the turf covers,
  Many a swan-white breast.        20
The monastery and school of Clonmacnoise was founded by St. Kieran, the carpenter’s son, about the year 544. It grew to be the greatest of the Irish universities. “Some of the most distinguished scholars of Ireland, if not of Europe, were educated at Clonmacnoise, including Alcuin, the most learned man at the French court, who remembered his Alma Mater so affectionately that he extracted from King Charles of France a gift of fifty shekels of silver, to which he added fifty more of his own, and sent them to the brotherhood of Clonmacnois as a gift.” (Douglas Hyde, “A Literary History of Ireland.”) Clonmacnoise contains a famous sculptured cross and many sculptured stones. It was sacked at different times during the invasions.


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