The "fiery Columbanus" (ca. 540-615), whom Stephen thinks of in Nestor and again in Proteus, was an Irish monk who carried Christianity to continental Europe during the Dark Ages, founding monasteries in the feudal kingdoms of what are now France and northern Italy. According to Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints, he left his mother in Ireland "grievously against her will," and in Nestor Stephen thinks of him striding across his forlorn mother's "prostrate body" in his "holy zeal" to spread the gospel.

JH 2012

Columbanus embarking, by an unknown artist who reduced his twelve companions to three. Source:

An oversimplified map of Columbanus' journeys, from Bangor in Ulster, to Cornwall in the SW tip of Britain, to St. Malo in Brittany, to Luxeuil in Burgundy, to Bobbio in Emilia-Romagna. Source: