Irish exports to the far side of Switzerland from the 7th Century

I recall some years ago now working for a day in the Kantonsschule at Heerbrugg in St Gallen, and being bowled over by the demi hero status I rapidly acquired amongst the staff there when I inadvertently revealed I’d been brought up and had lived so close to Bangor. I admit to having been completely confused. As it turns out the whole Swiss Canton is named after Gall, an Irish monk who travelled with Columbanus from Bangor to the shores of Lake Constance where he became a Hermit. Later when a monastic community was set up there, they took the name of the old Irish saint whose relics had been taken inside the church. Mairtin has news on the cultural links between Bangor and St Gallen which adhere to this day:

The Irish manuscripts at St Gallen are the oldest in the world and among the most beautiful depicting in stylish script and with great ornamentation the story of the Gospels. The Irish monks, who worked under a vow of silence did write small poems and notes in the glosses. One, said Frau Hufenus, wrote “rough parchment, thin ink”, giving out about the quality of his tools while another, correcting a poorly finished page, wrote: “too much beer”.

Which may explain why the locals became so endeared to those few old Irish monks…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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