Colmcille Folklore with Gearóidín Breathnach
Colmcille has a special place in the folklore of Ireland and Scotland. For this reason, Foras na Gaeilge asked the renowned storyteller Gearóidín Breathnach and LIGID TV Productions to make a series of short videos, Seanchas Cholmcille, as part of Colmcille 1500. In each video, Gearóidín Breathnach visits a location in Donegal associated with the saint, and she tells a story and local traditions about him:
- The birth of Colmcille
- Eithne’s Well, Termon and the birthplace of Colmcille
- How Colmcille got this name
- Ray Cross and the Great Cross.
- Colmcille’s Turas and Well in Gartán
- How the Leannan River got its name
Subtitles for the videos are available in Irish and Scottish Gaelic and in English, and it is possible to view them without subtitles.
Gearóidín is from a well-known family of storytellers from Rann na Feirste in West Donegal. She has twice won Corn Uí Riada at Oireachtas na Gaeilge, the most important competition for traditional singing in Irish, along with the main prize for story telling. This last prize is named after her father, Neidí Frainc Mac Grianna, who first inspired her love of storytelling. Gearóidín has spent many years promoting storytelling and traditional singing among young people, and has an important place in the traditional singing and storytelling of Donegal.
The signature tune for the series is a piece of the song Ainnir Dheas na gCiabhfholt Donn, sung by Aodh Mac Ruairí, another singer from Rann na Feirste. The verse tells of advice from Colmcille, and it can be heard in its entirety at the beginning of the first video:
Is é ‘dúirt Colm Cille linn go hIfreann nach dtéid fial
Lucht an tsaibhris go gceileann siad a bpáirt mhór le Dia
’S nach mór an tubaiste d’aon duine a ndearnadh riamh
‘Oiread a chruinniú is a choinneodh as Parthas é.
Colmcille said that the generous do not go to Hell.
The rich deny their affinity with God
What a catastrophe for any one ever made
To gather as much as would keep him from Paradise.