Saint Dallan Forghaill
Born c. 530 Magh Slécht, County Cavan, Ireland
Died 598 monastery of Inniskeel, Donegal
Feast day: January 29
Dallan Forgaill (6th.cent.) A kinsman of St. Edan of Fer
ns, born in Connaught and a great scholar who, through his application to study, became blind. He wrote a poem in honour of St. Columba, called Ambra Choluim Kille which was only published after St. Columba?s death. The legend averring that on its publication Dallan?s sight was restored to him is found in several authors. St. Dallan was murdered at Triscoel by pirates (AD 598) and his head thrown into the sea. It was recovered and miraculously reunited to his body.
Dallán Forgaill's given name was Eochaid, and his mother was called Forchella. He was the son of Colla, a descendant of the legendary High King Colla Uais. His nickname, Dallán ("little blind one"), was earned after he lost his sight,, reputedly as a result of studying intensively.
He was born in Maigen (now Ballyconnell), at the eastern edge of the territory of the Masraige of Magh Slécht in modern County Cavan. He was not a member of the Masraige but belonged to a branch of the Airgíalla called the Fir Lurg, who were in the process of spreading southwards into Fermanagh and Cavan. (The barony of Lurg in County Fermanagh was named after them) His was a first cousin of Saint Mogue and was a fourth cousin of Saint Tigernach of Clones.
He died in 598 when pirates broke into the island monastery of Inniskeel, County Donegal, where he is buried. He was reportedly beheaded, and it is also said that God reattached his head to his body after he was martyred. He was acclaimed a saint in the early 11th century, during the reign of the High King Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill.A medieval poem entitled "On the breaking up of a School" composed by Tadhg Og O Huiginn, c.1400, refers to the death of Dallán which caused his school to break up and the to students disperse as they would accept no other master.In a list of ancient Irish authors contained in the Book of Ballymote, Dallán is called “grandson of testimony”