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St. Colum Cille, one of the three patrons of Ireland, founded many monasteries, including those of Derry and Durrow (Co. Offaly). His most famous foundation was that of Iona off the coast of Scotland. The Viking raids on Iona around the year 800 AD led to the foundation of Kells in 807 as a refuge for monks from Iona. The first historical mention of Skreen occurs in the year 974. The name Skreen derives from the fuller Irish Scrín Coluim Chille (“The shrine of St. Colum Cille”). The early Irish poem Amrae Coluimb Chille (or 'Eulogy of Saint Colum Cille') is traditionally considered to be one of the earliest complete literary texts composed in the Irish language, being usually dated to the years immediately following Colum Cille's death in AD 597. However, if one analyses carefully the language and the rich manuscript transmission of this important text, it appears that things may be much more complex than the straightforward account outlined above. In this lecture, a series of new hypotheses will be presented in regard to the date, process of composition, and transmission of the Amrae (especially between the ninth and the eleventh century).
Jacopo Bisagni studied Classics, Celtic linguistics and Indo-European linguistics at the University of Pisa, Italy, where he graduated in 2004. At NUI, Galway he was awarded a PhD in 2008 for his thesis entitled “Amrae Coluimb Chille: a Critical Edition”, which he is currently revising for publication in book form. He has taught widely in early Irish, Latin language, and historical linguistics; his research area ranges from Celtic and Indo-European linguistics to the study of Medieval Irish literature (both Gaelic and Hiberno-Latin). More specific interests concern the question of Latin/Old Irish bilingualism, and the reception of Classical and Late Antique Latin literature in Early Medieval Ireland.