St Columbanus is a man of firsts in Irish history. The first Irish writer to leave a literary corpus, he is the first Irishman in the surviving literature to describe himself as Irish and to give an account of Irish identity...Considering his achievements and the example of sanctity that is his legacy, it is not surprising that Jonas of Bobbio's Life of St Columbanus should have appeared less than a generation after the saint's death. This is another first: Columbanus is the first Irishman to be the subject of a biography.
Damian Bracken, Introduction, in Tómas Ó Fiach, ed, and trans., Columbanus in his Own Words, (2nd edition, Dublin, 2012), 5-6.
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