Gleann Cholm Cille
Gleann Cholm Cille is a beautiful valley in the west of Donegal. This Irish-speaking area has a strong traditional link with Colmcille - the glen is named after him - and the saint is still commemorated during the annual turas or pilgrimage which takes place here.
In Gleann Cholm Cille, the Slí Cholmcille follows the route of the Turas Cholmcille. The turas - translated as the journey - is part of a strong Christian pilgrimage tradition in Ireland.
The turas links a number of ancient stones some of which date back to 3000BC. The standing stones which form the core of the turas probably date from 500-700AD.
The link between Colmcille and Gleann Cholm Cille dates back to the 'Life of Colum Cille' commissioned by Manus O’Donnell, a leading political figure in the north-west of Ireland in the 16th century. Completed in 1532, the book draws together accounts of the saint’s life and traditions associated with him. Local tradition says that Colmcille lived here for two years before he left Ireland to found his monastery in Iona.
The Turas Cholmcille is performed between the eve of 9th June - the saint’s feast day - and 15th August – feast of the Assumption, a major festival in Irish folklife. Many people perform the turas on more than one occasion - some following it two or three times in the first 24 hours.
Gleann Cholm Cille is in west Donegal. From Donegal Town, follow the N56 west towards Killybegs. At Killybegs take the R263 towards Gleann Cholm Cille. The Slí Cholmcille starts at the Church of Ireland which sits in the middle of the valley.