Posted in Posts and podcasts

Three wishes – 1928

Nenagh Guardian 15th September, 1928 p.5

Dun Guaire Photo; Norma Scheibe
Dun Guaire
Photo; Norma Scheibe

The Three Wishes

In Iniscaltra’s holy fane,
Once in the long ago,
In pious converse sat, their hearts
With love of God aglow,

Kevin, the abbot of the Isle,
From penance worn outright,
And he whom still Confert reveres,
Cumain the erudite;

And, with them, Guaire, Connaught’s King,
To Eire’s utmost bound.
For his beneficence to all
Who sought his aid, renowned.

“And now, O Guaire,” Kevin said,
“Did Heaven grant you your will,
With what, as most desired, would you
This house of prayer fill?”

With gold I’d fill it to the roof,
Nor then be satisfied,
Wishing it held as much again,”
The King to him replied.

“With gold,” said Kevin in surprise
“Guaire, can this be true?”
“With gold,” he answered, “for the good
That I, with it, would do.”

“Part to the churches; part I’d give
The saints, for me to plead;
And alms to all who’d ask me grant,
And no one leave in need.”

“Guaire,” said Kevin, “as to all
You’re helpful in their need,
God, in return, yourself will help,
And Heaven shall be your need.”

“Well be thankful,” Guaire said; “and now
Cumain, had you your will,
With what instead of gold, would you
This house of prayer fill?”

“I’d fill it all with books,” he said,
“For studious men to read,
And with the doctrine in them stored
Christ’s hungry flock to feed.”

“And now, O’Kevin”, said they both,
“With what, had you your will,
“Instead of books or gold, would you
This house of prayer fill?”

“I’d fill it,” Kevin to them said,
“With all the ills that be;
All human sorrows, ailments, pains,
And wish them all on me.”

Each had his wish.  To Guaire gold
was in abundance given;
With books unnumbered Cumain gained
Unnumbered souls for Heaven.

And Kevin suffered. With disease
His flesh dissolved; with pain
His frame was racked till scarce a bone
Did in its place remain.

By Charity and doctrine true,
And, for our sins, by pain
Should God ordain it so – may we,
Like them, to Heaven attain.

P.S. Iniscaltra, now called Holy Island, is situated in Lough Derg, a few miles above Killaloe.  The
“Great Church” there, destroyed by the English, was erected by St. Kevin
the Abbot of the island.



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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