>Can any of the celticists on the list supply more information
>about this miracle of Ultans - or its source? for that matter,
>any good modern studies of norse:irish relations during the
>viking period would be appreciated.
> > * Ultan, bishop (657)
> > - while feeding children with his right hand, he put Nordic
> > invaders to flight with his left hand; an early Irish writer said of
> > him: 'Had it been the right hand that noble Ultan raised against them,
> > no foreigner would ever have come into the land of Erin'
I think the identification of the invaders as Nordic would have to be
late, as Ultán died in the mid-7th-century. The commentary to the
Félire Óengusso provides the fullest account of this heroic feat
(London, 1905: 200-1), in which the saint himself says if he had
raised his right hand no foreigner (gall) would ever invade Ireland.
Ultán was a major player in the early Irish church and is said to
have collected much lore about both Brigid and Patrick. Kim McCone,
in a refinement of the work of Mario Esposito, has persuasively
argued that Ultán's lost account was one of the sources used by the
anonymous author of Brigid's Vita Prima. Tírechán, one of Patrick's
earliest biographers, was Ultán's student and may have acquired much
of his information from him.
You might be interested in the essay by Alfred P. Smyth, "The effect
of Scandinavian raiders on the English and Irish churches: a
preliminary reassessment," in Brendan Smith, ed. Britain and Ireland,
900-1300 (Cambridge, 1999): 1-38. He's arguing against several
scholars who have treated the subject, so it should provide a useful
bibliography, though you might not care for his characterization of
> > * Ida of Herzfeld, widow (825)
> > - to remind herself of her all-too-human destiny, she had a stone
> > coffin made for herself, which she would fill daily with food before
> > distributing it to the poor
>How usual or unusual would a STONE coffin be at this time (either
>Idas own time, or that of the hagiographer - if he is known)
A legend told about Darerca/Moninne describes the bed "made from
stone in the style of a sepulcher" which the saint used on the rare
occasions that she succumbed to sleep and which she left as a relic
for one of her monasteries in Ireland; it was then used to test the
virginity of the women who wished to enter her community. According
to Esposito, this legend was written in a 13th-century English court
hand; this tale is not told in her extant Lives.