Noble, in sooth, was the kin of Colombcille as regards the world, to wit, of the kin of Conall son of Niall, is he. He had in right of kin, a choice of the sovereignty of Ireland, and it would have been given to him had he himself not put it from him for the sake of God.
It is manifest, moreover, that he was a chosen son of God, because Ireland’s elders had been prophesying of him before his birth.
Firstly, the eldest of the priests of Ireland, namely, old Mochtai of Louth, foretold Colombcille an hundred years before his birth; for once upon a time Mochta’s cook (Macrith was his name) came to him with a mess of nuts in his hand for him, whereupon Mochta said to him: ‘To me belongeth not the land whence those nuts have been brought. Keep them until he whose land it is shall come.’ ‘When will he come?’ saith the cook. ‘At the end of a hundred years,’ saith Mochta.
Mochta, again, was wont to turn his face to the north when praying. His household would ak him why he did so, and he said to them,—
- A manchild will be born in the north
At the uprising of the …
Ireland grows fruitful, (a splendid flame)
And Scotland … his.
The father of baptism and teaching of the Gael, namely Patrick, when he was blessing Conall at Sith Aeda, then he placed his two hands on Conall and on his son Fergus son of Conall, to wit, his right hand on the head of Fergus and his left on the head of Conall. Conall wondered thereat, and he asked him why he placed his hands in that wise, so Patrick sang this stave:—
- A manchild shall be born of his family,
He will be a sage, a prophet and a poet, etc.
He will be a sage, and he will be pious,
He will be an abbot with the King of the royal ramparts,
He will be steadfast and he will be ever good,
He will be in the eternal kingdom for his consolation.
Brigit foretold him and said:—
- Manchild of longsided Ethne,
He is bright, he is a blossoming,
Colombcille, clear with blemish,
It was not over soon to perceive him.
Bishop Eogan of Ardstraw foretold him, when he said,—
- A son will be born unto Fedlimith,
he will be a diadem over every train.
Fedlimith son of Fergus,
son of Conall, son of Niall.
At the hour of his death, Bóite son of Bronach foretold Colombcille, when he said to his household: ‘There hath been born this very night a son, splendid, venerable before God and men, and he will come here in thirty years from to-night. Twelve men, moreover, will be his company, and it is he that will make manifest my grave and mark out my cemetery, and in heaven and on earth our union shall abide.’
– On the Life of St. Columba, Anonymous.