"St. Colman was retired into the wilderness for the benefit of his devotion. He had no living creature about him except a rooster, a mouse, and a fly. The use of the rooster was to give him notice of the time of night by his crowing, that he might know when to apply himself to his prayers. The mouse had a proper office, which was to prevent the Saint from sleeping above five hours within the space of twenty-four; for, when the business of his devotion, which he exercised with great reverence and regularity upon his knees, had so fatigued his spirits that they required a longer refreshment, the mouse would come to his ears and scratch him with his feet till he was perfectly awake. The fly always attended on him when he was reading. It had the sense to walk along the lines of the book; and when the Saint had tired his eyes, and was willing to desist, the fly would stay upon the first letter of the next sentence, and by that means direct him where he was to begin."
St. Colman was a Clare Man - like Christy Ring* and Muhammad Ali. Colman lived in the 6th Century, a time known as the Dark Ages, when Ireland was the depository of Western Civilization and Greek Thought as one barbarian horde after another extinguished civilized life in the West.
Colman built a monastery with a 110 foot Round Tower - Round Towers were used to hide and preserve treasure, books, and ideas from savages.
St. Colman Mac Duagh thus began a great and holy work that was destined to endure for all time. It was a work which would inscribe his name on the hearts of a grateful Irish people, who would transmit it, with the memory of his virtues, from generation to generation. King Guaire, with his characteristic generosity, not only granted the site for the cathedral and monastery, but also granted large endowments for its future maintenance. His benignity did not stop there. The King through his influence was able to secure the assistance of St. Gobban Saer the eminent architect who flourished early in the seventh century. St. Gobban Saer was an illiterate monk in the monastery of St. Madoc of Ferns. An excerpt from the life of this saint (St. Gobban) provided by an ancient Irish chronicler says,
"A church was to be erected, but no builder could be found to guide the religious brethren in the work. Wherefore, full of confidence in God, St. Aidan (Madoc) blessed the hands of the untutored man named Gobban. From that moment he became most skilled in the intricacies of the art, and was able in a most perfect manner to complete the church of the monastery."
Would that a Colman might appear today and preserve some thought from our contemporary savages . . . and ourselves.
* A Man or Lad of Spirit was identified by the Salt Water Irish on the south side of Chicago as being 'as Game as Christy Ring!'
'As long as young men will match their hurling skills against each other on Ireland's green fields, as long as young boys swing their camáns(hurling bat) for the sheer thrill of the feel and the tingle in their fingers of the impact of ash on leather, as long as hurling is played the story of Christy Ring will be told. And that will be forever.'