info@drumcliffe.ie

Home » HISTORY

HISTORY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ST.COLMCILLE

St.Colmcille (Columba) founded a monastery in Drumcliffe ca.575 A.D.  The village of Drumcliffe (also known as Drumcliff) is famous for its Irish high cross dating to the 9th-10th Century that stands in the grounds of the former monastery. In addition, across the road from the church and high cross is the stump of a round tower.The Drumcliffe area is where, according to legend, the first legal copyright decision was fought out. The story is as follows: St Colmcille’s monks borrowed a valuable Psalter manuscript from St Finian’s foundation. When the manuscript was eventually returned, St Finnian — some say this was St. Finnian of Moville, while others say it was lesser-known St. Finnian of Dromin — discovered that it had been copied without his permission. An appeal to the High King of Ireland brought the following judgement: “To every cow it’s calf; to every book it’s copy.” Feelings being upset, a great battle — the Battle of Cooldruman — took place two miles north of Drumcliffe on the slopes of Benbulben Mountain and many — some say 3000 — were killed. After gaining victory in battle, Colmcille was filled with remorse. Sent into exile by his confessor (St. Molaise) on Innismurray island, he vowed to leave Ireland to see as many souls converted to Christianity as had died in the bloody battle. Travelling across what is currently Northern Ireland, he went to the Scottish island of Iona and there built a new monastery from where Ireland could not be seen. From there his monks Christianised the Picts (the people of Scotland) and thereby began the great Celtic monastic movement that was to spread across all of Europe.