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The Imrum Snedhghusa ocus Mic Ríagla ("The Voyage of Snédgus & Mac Ríagla") recounts the journey of two disciples of St. Colombcille or Columba. The translation used is that of Whitley Stokes, which appeared in Volume 9 of Revue Celtique [pp.14-25], published in Paris in 1888.
The tale is extant in prose & poetic versions. That below is the prose version. You can access the poetic Snédgus & Mac Ríagla here.


Then Snédgus and Mac Ríagla turn back to go to Iona, to Colombcille.

As they were in their coracle they bethought them of wending with their own consent into the outer ocean on a pilgrimage, even as the sixty couples had gone, though these were not with their own consent.


So they turn right-hand-wise; and wind wafts them for a while north-westwards into the outer ocean.

After a space of three days a longing of great thirst seizes them, insomuch that they could not endure it.


It was then that Christ took pity on them, and brings them to a stream well-tasting like new milk, and therewith they are satisfied.

They render thanks to God and say: "Let us leave our voyage to God, and let us put our oars into our boat."

And thereafter their voyage was left alone, and their oars were put into their boat; and after they arrived, then said the poet: -

Snédgus and Mac Ríagla
Of Colombcille's community,



Then they are sent to another island, with a fence of silver over the midst thereof, and a fish-weir therein; and that weir was a [...] plank of silver, and against the weir huge salmon were leaping. Bigger than a bull-calf was each of these salmon, and thereof they were satisfied.


Thereafter they voyaged to another island, and in that island they found many warriors with heads of cats upon them.

One Gaelic champion was therein, and he came down to the strand and made them welcome, and said to them: "Of the men of the Gael am I" he said. "We came here a boat's crew, and thereof remaineth none save me alone. They were martyrised by the outlanders who inhabit this island."

And he puts food for them (the clerics) into the boat, and they leave a blessing and take a blessing.


Thereafter the wind wafts them to an island wherein was a great tree with beautiful birds (on its branches). Atop of it was a great bird with a head of gold and with wings of silver; and he tells them tales of the beginning of the world, and tells them of Christ's birth from Mary Virgin, and of His Baptism and His Passion and His Resurrection. And he tells tidings of Doom; and then all the birds used to beat their sides with their wings, so that showers of blood dropt out of their sides for dread of the signs of Doom. "Communion and Creature" was that blood. And the bird bestows on the clerics a leaf of the leaves of that tree, and the size of the hide of a large ox was that leaf. And the bird told the clerics to take that leaf and place it on Colombcille's altar. So that is Colombcille's flabellum to-day. In Kells it is.

Melodious was the music of those birds singing psalms and canticles, praising the Lord. For they were the birds of the Plain of Heaven, and neither trunk nor leaf of that tree decays.


Thereafter the clerics bade farewell to the birds, and they voyage to a fearful land, wherein dwelt men with heads of hounds, with manes of cattle upon them. By God's command, a cleric came to them out of the island to succour them, for they were in danger there, without food; and he gives them fish and wine and wheat.


Thereafter they voyage till they reached a land wherein dwelt men with heads of swine upon them; and they [...] and they had great bands of reapers reaping the corn in the midst of the summer.


Afterwards they went thence in their boat, and sing their psalms, and pray to God, till they reached a land wherein dwelt a multitude of men of the Gael; and the women of the island straightway sang a sianan to them, and the clerics deemed it melodious.

"Sing you still," saith the cleric, he said: "here is the sianan of Ireland!"

"Let us go, O clerics!" say the women, "to the house of the King of the island, for therein we [leg. ye] shall have welcome and refreshment."

The women and the clerics enter the house; and the king made the clerics welcome, and they put away their weariness there, and he asked them: "What is your race, O clerics?"

"Of the men of Ireland are we," say the clerics, "and of Colombcille's community."

"How fares it in Ireland?" he said, "and how many sons of Domnall are alive?" saith the King.

The cleric answered: "Three sons of Domnall's are alive; and Fiacha son of Domnall fell by the Men of Ross, and for that deed sixty couples of them were set on the sea."

"That tale is true for you, O clerics! It is I that killed the son of the King of Tara, and we it is that were set on the sea. And well for us was that, for we shall abide here till the Judgment shall come; for good are we without sin, without wickedlness, without [...] of our crime. Good is the island wherein we are, for in it are Elijah and Enoch, and noble is the dwelling wherein is Elijah."

And he made the clerics very welcome, and said: "There are in this land two lakes, a lake of water and a lake of fire, and they would have come long ago over Ireland had not Martin and Patrick been praying for them (the Irish)."

"We would fain see Enoch," say the clerics.

"He is in a secret place until we shall all go to the battle, on the Day of Judgement."


Thereafter they voyage from that land, and were in the roaring waves of the sea for a long time, until great relief came to them from God, for they were weary. And they beheld a great lofty island, and all therein was delightful and hallowed.

Good was the King that abode in the island, and he was holy and righteous; and great was his host, and noble was the dwelling of that King, for there were a hundred doors in that house, and an altar at every door, and a priest at every altar offering Christ's Body.

So the clerics entered that house, and each of them (host and guests) blessed the other; and thereafter the whole of the great host, both woman and man, went to communion at the Mass.

Then wine is dealt out to them, and the king saith to the clerics: "Tell the men of Ireland," he said, "that a great vengeance is about to fall on you. Foreigners will come over sea and inhabit half the island; and they will lay siege to you. And this is what brings that vengeance upon them (the Irish), the great neglect they shew to God's Testament and to His teaching. A month and a year you shall be at sea, and you shall arrive safely; and (then) tell all your tidings to the men of Ireland."

Sir Graham