His profession was initially that of poetry and history. He was so expert in it that he arose to be the head of his profession in his region if not of all Ireland. He was a master scholar in Latin but also a spiritual man. It was only 100 years before his birth that Patrick brought the Gospel to Ireland which brought about such a spiritual revival that the nation turned from Paganism to Christianity in one generation. The fires of this revival were still burning amongst his people throughout his youth and in his latter days. This was all before the first Catholic missionaries reached England from Rome about 600.
Dallán Forgaill's given name was Eochaid. His nickname, Dallán, meaning ‘little blind one’, was earned after he lost his sight, as a result of too much intense study. His was a first cousin Mogue otherwise known as Aiden who planted 30 churches and some training centres, (monasteries), for preachers and missionaries. Dallán eventually went into ministry as a preacher and expounder of the Word of God. He wrote poems in support of Columba (521-597) the powerful missionary who went forth to evangelise Scotland. In his later days he was head of a monastery on the island of Inniskeel in Donegal where pirates raided in 598 and killed him by beheading him. His students scattered back to their homes as they refused to be taught by any other man.
The words of this hymn reveal much about the passion, fire and dedication that was lived out by the Irish church of the 6th century.
Be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
Be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
Be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
Be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my whole armour, be thou my true might;
Be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Be thou mine inheritance now and always;
Be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of Heaven, thou Heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won!;
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.