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Author: James Parrott

St Columba’s Day on the Isle of Canna

The Isle of Canna off the west coast of Scotland is rich in early Christian archaeology. It has an ancient ringed high cross. It also has a well-preserved site of what appears to be an early Christian nunnery at Sgorr nam Ban- Naomha.

The rich archaeology, and the geography of the island, suggest to some that this may be Hinba, the Columban monastery estabished by Colmcille.

A conference Ceangal Chaluim Chille will convene on the island on the 9th June to examine the rich archaeology, and the case that Canna may indeed be Hinba where Columba established an important monastery closely connected to the mother house at Iona, and mentioned in St Adhamhna

Cross-disciplinary collaboration is re-writing early Scottish history, and it is likely that the island of Canna may yet have much to tell about the family of Columban monasteries on the west coast of Scotland, or at least about the early church links between Ireland and Scotland. Professors Hugh Cheape of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Rob Dunbar of the University of Edinburgh will take part alongside Scottish archaeologists working for the National Trust Scotland, who own the island, and for and Scottish Heritage. Gaelic singer and broadcaster Mary Anne Kennedy will look at the musicial connections between Ireland and Scotland.

The conference is being organised by Fiona MacKenzie, the archivist at Canna House, which holds archive and library of John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw, who made a major contribution to folklore, literary studies and song collecting in the mid 20th century. They also left the island to the National Trust for Scotland.

The Feast day of Colmcille in Gleann

June 4th 2018

The ancient turas in Gleann Cholm Cille will take place on the 9th June 2018 the feastday of St Columba: It will take place at the traditional time of midnight on the 8th June, and again at mid-day on the 9th June

Each pilgrimage will begin at at St Columba’s Church of Ireland, where parking is available.

The pilgrimage is done barefoot if possible. The event takes about 3 hours, and people can bring a lunch to eat at St.Columba’s Well.

The turas can also be done every Sunday until the 15th August.

There will be a garden fête on the land of the Church of Ireland on the afternoon of Sunday the 10th June. This is being organised jointly by the Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes.

Church of Ireland commemorates Columba in Gartán

June 4th 2018

In June each year, the Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe commemorates St Columba with an open-air service in Gartan in Donegal, where the saint was born.
The service will take place at 3pm on the 10th June 2018 at the medieval church in Churchtown in Gartan.

All are welcome. A brass band will take part in the service, and there will be refreshments after the service.

Developing Slighe Chaluim Chille

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

Re-enactment of Medieval Pilgrimage

An ancient pilgrimage will be re-enacted in Derry on St Columba’s Day the 9th June. In 2013 the pilgrimage took place for the first time in over 400 years. There is an account of the pilgrimage in Manus O’Donnell’s Life of Colmcille which was written in 1532. On Tuesday the 9th June everybody is welcome to join the musicians and costumed monks on their walk.

5.30 p.m. The pilgrim walk will begin will start from the back of the Guild Hall. This was Port na Long (‘The Port of the Ships’). The pilgrims will walk the pilgrim way, banners flying, singing, and led by pipers.

5.45 First Stop: St Augustine’s Church. It is believed that Colmcille founded his first abbey here. When the pilgrims arrive, there will be a celebration of Church music in the Gaelic tradition with Jim O’Hagan, and David Gamble (pipers) Nollaig Ní Bhrollaigh and friends (harpers), Cór an Ghrianáin and readers Mary Murphy and Risteard Mac Gabhann.

6.45 p.m. Last Stop Áras Cholmcille, and the Long Tower Church, site of An Teampall Mór (the Great Church). Music from Cór an Ghrianáin.

7.00 p.m. End of pilgrimage.

Nhún na nGall
Derry City
Oideas Gael
Museum Nan Eilean
Comunn Eachdraidh Nis
Argyll Bute
colmcille 1500

Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Great Glen House
Leachkin Road
Scotland, IV3 8NW

(+44) 01463 225454


Foras na Gaeilge, 2-6 Queen Street
Northern Ireland

(+44) 028 9089 0970


Foras na Gaeilge, An Chrannóg
Na Doirí Beaga
Gaoth Dobhair
Donegal, Ireland. F92 EYT3

(+353) 074 9560113