Even as Colombcille’s birth was foretold by Ireland’s elders so was it figured in visions and dreams. Even so it was figured in the vision which appeared to his mother, namely, her-seemed that a great cloak was given her which reached from the Isles of Mod to Caer nam-Brocc, and of hues there was not a hue that was not therein. And a youth perceived the radiant vesture and took away from her the cloak into the air, and Ethne was sorrowful thereat, and her-seemed that the same youth came again unto her and said unto her: ‘O good woman,’ said the youth, ‘thou hast no need to grieve, but meeter for thee were joyance and delight, for what this cloak portendeth is that thou wilt bear a son, and Ireland and Scotland will be full of his teaching.’
In like wise the woman saw a vision, namely, the birds of the air and of the land, as her-seemed, bore Ethne’s bowels throughout the borders of Ireland and Scotland. Ethne herself gave judgement on this vision, and thus said she then: ‘I shall bear a son,’ she saith, ‘and his teaching shall reach throughout the borders of Ireland and Scotland.’
As was foretold by Ireland’s elders, and as was seen in visions, so was Colombcille born. Now Gortán is the name of the place wherein he was born. On the seventh of the ides of December, as regards the day of the solar month, he was born. On Thursday, of the days of the week.
Wonderful, in sooth, was the son that was born there,—a son of the King of heaven and earth, to wit, Colombcille, son of Fedlimith, son of Fergus, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall, of the Nine Hostages. His mother was of the Corprige of Leinster, to wit, Ethne the Great, daughter of Dimma mac Noe.
– On the Life of St. Columba, Anonymous.