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4.2 St Augustine’s Church

St Augustine’s is a beautiful quiet space on the city walls, and from Easter to the end of September parishioners open the church during the day to welcome visitors. Modern research suggest that St Augustine’s is at or near the site of the earliest monastery church, the dúreigléas or ‘black church’.

According to the 12th and 16th centuries Lives of Colum Cille, the king of his homeland, Aodh Mac Ainmhire, granted Colmcille land at Daire Calgach (Derry) where he could found a monastery.

To cleanse the land of ‘the works of worldly men’ in preparation for his monastery, Colmcille lit a fire. The fire spread and almost destroyed a grove of oak trees so, to protect them, Colmcille prayed and the trees were saved.

The 12th Century Life of Colmcille written in the abbey includes this poem:

Is aire charaim Doire
Ar a réide, ar a gloine
Ar is lomlán aingel finn
Ón chinn co n-ice ar-oile

This is why I love Derry
It is so calm and bright
For it is full of white angels
From one end to the other.

The name of St Augustine’s goes back to when the monks of the Columban abbey became part of the Augustinian order in Ireland in the 12th or 13th centuries. The present church dates back to the early 17th century but has been rebuilt in the eighteenth and 19th centuries.

  • 4.1 Port na Long (Guild Hall Square)

    In the medieval city, Guild Hall Square was Port na Long - ‘the port of the ships’ on the banks of the Foyle. This is was a main approach to medieval city. It was also the starting point of a medieval pilgrimage described by Manus O’Donnell in 1532, and is the start...

  • 4.2 St Augustine’s Church

    St Augustine’s is a beautiful quiet space on the city walls, and from Easter to the end of September parishioners open the church during the day to welcome visitors. Modern research suggest that St Augustine’s is at or near the site of the earliest monastery church, the dúreigléas or ‘black...

  • 4.3 Áras Cholmcille

    Áras Cholmcille – the St Columba Heritage Centre – is in the grounds of the Long Tower church. It is an ideal place to get an overview of the stories of Colmcille, patron of the city. It has interactive and audio-visual displays and artefacts, and a range of facilities for...

  • 4.4 Long Tower Church

    The Long Tower Church, like St Augustine’s and Áras Cholmcille, almost certainly stands within the enclosure of the monastic settlement of medieval Derry. It gets its name from a round tower which stood here up to the 17th century. The round tower stood beside the Teampall Mór, Great Church, which was...

  • 4.5 St Columb’s Well

    This holy well is the focus for a celebration on 9 June - Colmcille’s feast day. A procession comes down the hill from the Long Tower Church and the well is blessed - the priest asking for protection for the followers of St Columba who ‘walk where he walked, and...

  • 4.6 St Columb’s Cathedral

    It was the first Anglican cathedral built in these islands since the Reformation. The dedication stone for the building of the cathedral is inside the west door and commemorates the Londoners who paid for it, If stones could speake
    Then Londons prayse should sounde
    Who built this church and cittie


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Colmcille

Foras na Gaeilge, 2-6 Queen Street
Belfast
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BT1 6ED

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Colmcille

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

(+353) 074 9560113
colmcille@forasnagaeilge.ie