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The Battle of the Book

St Colmcille is remembered too for his part in the ’ Battle of the Book’: Colmcille copied a book while a guest of St. Finian’s. Finian claimed the copy as well as the book, but Colmcille refused. The dispute was brought to the High King of Ireland whose edict was: ’To every cow its calf and to every book its copy’.


Battle of Books picture


In consequence, in 561 AD, the High King and Colmcille engaged in battle on the slopes of Benbulben. Aided by an angel, Colmcille won. Thousands of men were slain and the King forced to concede the copy of the psalter to Colmcille.

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