Thomas Leigh wrote, quoting John Cowan: > > I have not been able to nail down the oldest Irish writings in Latin > > script (as marginal notes in Latin manuscripts, typically), but > > certainly no later than the 6th century. > > In university we were told that the earliest such piece dated to 597, > and was a lament on the death of Columcille (St. Columba), and could > likely have been composed in Iona. This is off-topic, but I recognise the name "St Colmcille" only because I have a book (and accompanying cassette) tape of Irish poetry from the sixth century until modern times. The very first poem in the anthology is a translation of one that St Colmcille wrote in the sixth century. I have no idea what the symbolism means, and it's rather baffling therefore, but it runs: There's a sea-blue eye That stares at Ireland drawing away. It will never look again On the women of Ireland or its men. Just in case it's a topic that interests anyone. Adrian.