Developing Slighe Chaluim Chille

June 1st 2015

According to tradition, Kintyre is where St Columba or Calum Cille, first set foot in what is now Scotland. On the 27th and 28th of June, a special two day conference will explore the heritage of the Saint Columba in Kintyre and Argyll, and discuss how best to develop the St Columba Trail to encourage heritage and cultural tourism in Argyllshire, to promote stronger links between communities in the west of Ireland and Scotland. The conference will be in the Ardshiel Hotel, Campbeltown, Argyll, and is organised by the Islands Book Trust, along with Colmcille, a partnership programme between Foras na Gaeilge in Ireland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig in Scotland. A special sailing of the Kintyre Express will bring visitors from Ballycastle. Those attending will be coming together to listen to St Columba experts from both sides of the Irish Sea. This is an inclusive event open to everyone, whatever their backgrounds. It will be a great opportunity to learn about the huge influence Columba had over the region and the enduring cultural and linguistic links between Scotland and Ireland. Speakers will include Brian Morton writer and journalist, Rachel Butter and Alasdair Whyte from the University of Glasgow and Colm O Cuaig of NUI Galway to name a few. Some talks will be in Gaelic or Irish, with simultaneous translation into English. There will also be a ceilidh, book launch, and visit to local sites associated with Columba.

People can attend for the whole event, half days, or individual sessions, and prices have been kept low to encourage as many as possible to come along, including from the local community. Conference organisers are particularly keen to encourage engagement from both Ireland and Scotland and as such have organised a special sailing of the Kintyre Express from Ballycastle to Campeltown on the morning of Saturday 27th June and returning again that evening at no extra cost to delegates (places available on a first come first served basis).

In addition to this a limited number of scholarships are available to cover the costs of travel to the conference for delegates from Ireland and Scotland (outside of mainland Argyll). The programme of the conference is here