The Irish temperament—individualistic, poetic, and deeply loyal to family—produced great and learned saints and a unique monastic literature before the Norman Invasion. the isolation of the island allowed the development of traditions different from those of either Britain or the continent. These graceful translations of Irish monastic rules and spiritual maxims, along with samples of Irish litanies and poetry from the early Celtic monastic world, convey the spirituality of the Isle of Saints from the sixth to eighth centuries.
Uinseann Ó Maidin (1932-2020) served as archivist in the monastic community of Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Born into an Irish-speaking family in Limerick in 1932, he entered the Cistercian Order after completing his education with the Irish Christian Brothers. Solemnly professed in 1954, he was ordained to the priesthood four years later. Among many other assignments, he served from 1981-1986 as English language secretary at the Curia Generalis of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance in Rome.