Donnán of Eigg

Introduction

Donnán of Eigg is known principally because of his martyrdom on the island in 617. Various stories account for the slaughter of Donnán and his monk, most showing little idea of the whereabouts of Eigg (Mart. O notes) That Donnán's cult was well established by at least the early 10th century is suggested a) by the long entry in Mart. T in which his 52 companions are named, and b) by his inclusion in the poem attributed, incorrectly thinks Clancy (Clancy and Márkus 1995,166), to Adomnán, A maccucain (Ó Riain 1985 no. 714) in which his kneecap is named as a relic. Donnán may have been viewed as Ireland and Scotland's ‘proto-martyr’ which may explain his popularity (Hennig 1946, 62); he may also have been popular also among the Norse (Rekdal 2004, 265-269). The vagueness shown by the Irish scribes from the 12th century onwards about the whereabouts of Eigg, and the lack of a genealogy suggest that his cult was of little note in Ireland by that time. The Dunkeld Litany has Donnate under martyrs, which might be Donnán of Eigg. There is a Donan also under monks and confessors.

Associated places

Eigg, Outer Hebrides

Obituary

AU 617.1 Combustio martirum Ega (plus addition by H2 glossator: combustio Donnain Ega hi .xu. kl. Mai cum .cl. martiribus). Clon. group includes ref. to ‘Donnán of Eigg on the 17th April’

Related Saints

Belongs to the group Donnán (ns)

Related Personal Names

Name

Donnán (certain)

Feast days

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

Martyrology of Gorman

Source code

Mart. G

Source title

Martyrology of Gorman

Editors

Stokes, Whitley

Year

1895

Notes

Full title is Félire Húi Gormáin, The Martyrology of Gorman edited from a manuscript in the Royal library, Brussels, with a preface, translation, notes and indices. It is published by the Henry Bradshaw Society.

Quote from source

Donnan mor 'sa manaig 'Great Donnan and his monks' gloss: adó for caeccait lion a coimhtionóil, co tangatar pioraiti na fairgi don oilen ina rabatar coro marbait uile. Ego ainm in oilein isin. 'Two and fifty was the full number of their congregation, and the pirates of the sea came to the island wherein they dwelt, and they were all killed. Eig is the name of that island.'

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

The Martyrology of Donegal

Source code

Mart. Do.

Source title

The Martyrology of Donegal

Editors

Todd, J. H.

Year

1864

Notes

Other author to be specified.

Quote from source

Donnán Eaga, abb... Donnán, of Ega, Abbot. Ega is the name of an island in which he was, after his coming from Erin. And there came robbers of the sea (dibergaig na fairge) on a certain time to the island when he was celebrating mass. He requested of them not to kill him until he should have the mass said, and they gave him this respite; and he was afterwards beheaded and fifty-two of his monks along with him. And all their names are in a certain old book of the books of Erin, AD 616.

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

Martyrology of Tallaght

Source code

Mart.T

Source title

Martyrology of Tallaght

Editors

Best, R. I. and Lawlor, H. J.

Year

1931

Notes

From the Book of Lesinter and MS 5100-4 in the Royal Library, Brussels.

Quote from source

Donnani Ega cum suis id est lii. [They are named].

Notes

Note in margin of Mart. T for 17 April says 'Zephan & Lurint & Geurgii & na naidin i mBethil & Petar decoin & Donnan Ego co n-ulib martirib in domuin hoc die commemorantur'.

Day of Year

April 20

Calendar

Martyrology of Tallaght

Source code

Mart.T

Source title

Martyrology of Tallaght

Editors

Best, R. I. and Lawlor, H. J.

Year

1931

Notes

From the Book of Lesinter and MS 5100-4 in the Royal Library, Brussels.

Quote from source

et familiae Ego eliuatio.

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee

Source code

Mart. O

Source title

Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee

Editors

Stokes, Whitley

Year

1905

Notes

Full title is Félire Óengusso Céli Dé, The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, critically edited from Ten Manuscripts, with a Preface, Translation, Notes and Indices.

Quote from source

La féil Petair deochain debraing martrai mbúade: cona cléir, cain dine, Donnán Eca húarae. 'At the feast of Peter the deacon, who advanced to victorious martyrdom, with his followers, a fair assembly, Donnán of chilly Eig.'

Notes

Some confusion is evident as to where (or what) Eigg is: a well in Caithness, a river, an island, a fountain. There is a story in RB512 about Colum Cille refusing to be Donnán's soul-friend because of his fate as a red martyr. He went to 'Gallgaidelu' where he and his followers were killed at the command of the queen of that place.

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

The Calendar of Fearn: text and additions, 1471-1667

Source code

Calendar of Fearn

Author

Adam, R. J.

Source title

The Calendar of Fearn: text and additions, 1471-1667

Series

Scottish Historical Society

Year

1991

Quote from source

Donnani sociorumque eius

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

Kalendarium Breviarii Aberdonensis

Source code

K. Brev. Ab.

Source title

Kalendarium Breviarii Aberdonensis

Editors

Forbes, A. P.

Secondary Title

Kalendar of Scottish Saints

Pages

111-124

Year

1872

Notes

Kal. Brev. Ab. Kalendarium Breviarii Aberdonensis, in Forbes 1872, 111-124

Quote from source

Donani ab

Notes

There are no special lessons for Donnán in the main text of the Brev. Ab.

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

‘Dean Brown’s Book of Hours’

Source code

K. Dean Brown

Author

McRoberts, D

Source title

‘Dean Brown’s Book of Hours’

Journal

Innes Review vol xix, 2

Volume

xix

Year

1968

Notes

This was written for James Brown, Dean of Aberdeen in the last decade of the fifteenth century. D. McRoberts, D., ‘Dean Brown’s Book of Hours’ in Innes Review vol. xix, 2, 1968.

Quote from source

Donani abbatis

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

Calendar of Adam King

Source code

Adam King

Author

Adam King

Source title

Calendar of Adam King

Editors

A.P.Forbes

Secondary Title

Kalendar of Scottish Saints

Pages

141-171

Year

1872

Quote from source

S. Donane Abot and confess. in scotland vnder king Machabeda

Day of Year

April 17

Calendar

Calendar of Saints by Thomas Dempster

Source code

K. Dempster

Source title

Calendar of Saints by Thomas Dempster

Editors

Forbes, A. P.

Secondary Title

Kalendar of Scottish Saints

Pages

177-229

Year

1872

Quote from source

Donani abbatis patroni in Achterles, cujus baculus cuilibet langori medebatur.

Day of Year

April 18

Calendar

Calendar of Saints by Thomas Dempster

Source code

K. Dempster

Source title

Calendar of Saints by Thomas Dempster

Editors

Forbes, A. P.

Secondary Title

Kalendar of Scottish Saints

Pages

177-229

Year

1872

Quote from source

In Buchania Donani ejusdem abbatis elevatio. K. B. [K = Adam King. B. = Ab. Brev.]