The Turas Colmcille committee in Donegal and Derry is seeking to develop Slí Cholmcille as a network of walking trails linking the main Columban Heritage sites across the two counties. The Camino-style walk across Donegal and Derry will take twelve to fourteen days. There has already been significant community engagement. A ‘proof of concept’ walk to destination in 2020. The committee seeks tenders for a Development Marketing and Business Plan. The deadline for tenders is the 24th May 2021 and the details can be found here.
There is much to learn from Colmcille and the legacy of his communities, and there are also materials to draw on:
Learning materials and competition from Donegal:
Maureen Curran of Loretto Community School, Milford, Donegal, has developed cross-curricular educational materials. It is linked to sites associated with Colmcille or Columba, and provides a model which can be adapted for use in many places. A competition based on the materials is being organised by Maureen with the Diocese of Raphoe, in conjunction with Claire Murray at the Church of Ireland National School in Gartan, birthplace of St Columba. The deadline for submissions has now been extended to the 15th October 2021.
Range of resources on padlet
Maureen and Claire have been part of a working group along with Gabrielle Fitzsimons and Gráinne Duggan who teaches at Rathdonnell National School near Gartan. Gráinne has compiled a range of other educational and heritage resources from a range of institutions and organisations which can be accessed online here.
Donegal County Council has developed a range of materials for other commemorative events, including the Flight of the Earls and 1916. The Council is preparing an educational pack and colouring book which will be available in the spring 2021.
In Northern Ireland CCEA has a range of materials in Irish and English:
Scripture Union NI has produced material entitled “The Way of the Peacemaker” for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in NI which explore “the life of Colmcille and the Biblical principles of peace.” It consists of videoas available here , and worksheets which are available from Rachel Millar.
Áras Cholmcille in Derry has learning materials available here .
Crossways 2021, a major festival of writing from Ireland and Scotland, will take place online over the weekend of the 12th to 14th February 2021. Crossways is organised by the publisher Irish Pages and its editor Chris Agee. This year, in spite of the challenges of COVID, the festival has grown. Seán Ó Coinn, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge said, “We are delighted to provided funding to Crossways 2021 as part of Colmcille 1500, celebrating 1500 years since the birth of St Columba, a saint who unites Ireland and Scotland and is recognised as a poet and patron of poets.” Crossways 2021 is funded by the Foras na Gaeilge Colmcille programme, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
This year the majority of readings will be in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Poet Simon Ó Faoláin is the Irish language curator, and poet Prof Meg Bateman is the Scottish Gaelic curator.
The festival normally takes place in Glasgow, but for the 2021 online festival Winnie Brooke Young, a Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Skye, travelled throughout Ireland and Scotland during breaks in lockdown to record high quality videos of poets reading from their work. The videos will go live on the 12th February at www.crosswaysfefestival.org. There will be a pair of writers in each session, for example Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Aonghus Dubh Mac Neacail, or Paula Meehan and Kathleen Jamie.
Irish Pages published Other Tongues, an introduction to writing in Irish and Scots Gaelic and Scots and Crann na Teanga/The Language Tree, a major collection of the poetry of Cathal Ó Searcaigh. Crossways 2021 contributes greatly on the fellowship between Irish language and Scottish Gaelic writers, building on the heritage of Turas na bhFilí and An Leabhar Mòr – The Great Book of Gaelic.
Bannaght Columb Killey as yeearreeyn share voish Mannin
The blessing of Columb Killey and best wishes from Mann. By Phil Gawne [English version of Manx below]
Choud’s ta recortyssyn soilshey dooin ta feailley ny margey er ve goll er cummal ayns Skeerey Cairbre jannoo ard-eailley jeh Columb Killey er dyn 1733. Ayns e chooinaghtyn, screeu Dr Juan y Clague, eshyn ren recortys beeal-arrish as arraneyn as carryn tradishoonagh as hooar baase ayns 1908, “ta cooinaght aym pene er ollan, snaie olley, eggaghyn dy eaddagh, eeast chirmit, eeast sailjey as lhiare goll er creck er’n nah laa as feed Mean Souree er Laa Columb Killey” as “ta mee er nakin wheesh as feed bwaagyn ayn ry hoi creck lhune eddyr yn daa ghroghad.”
Hie yn margey magh ass ayns ayrn s’jerree y nuyoo keead jeig agh v’eh aavioghit ayns 1912 ec yn Ard-jaghin Kewley as ta laa seyr ny skeerey er ve ayn er dyn shen, lesh spoyrtyn, taishbynys troar as ellynyn, as kiaull as rinkaghyn. Hig keeadyn dy leih dagh blein dy chur shilley er ny goaill ayrn ayn as she laa mie inshit foast ayns blein heshoil ny Manninee
Records show that there has been a festival, or fair, held in Arbory Parish celebrating Columb Killey since at least 1733. In his recollection of the fair, folklorist and song collector Dr John Clague who died in 1908 says “I remember myself wool, wooden thread, webs of cloth, dried fish, salt herrings and leather, sold on the twenty second day of the middle month of the summer, on St Columba’s Day” and “I have seen as many as twenty tents for the selling of ale between the two bridges.”
The fair appeared to have died out in the latter part of the nineteenth century but it was revived in 1912 by Archdeacon Kewley and there has been a parish holiday with sports, arts and produce show and music and dancing ever since. The fair attracts hundreds of visitors and participants every year and continues to be a highlight of the Manx social calendar.
It can be a challenge for teenagers to come together and use Gaelic, but an odyssey by bus and boat is helping a group in County Derry to meet that challenge.
For a number of years, a 50 seater bus from the Donegal Gaeltacht has been travelling to County Derry and onwards to the Isle of Lewis. The bus is full of teenagers and those helping them, and their face is set on Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich, the youth festival in Lewis, and on young people of their own age who speak Scottish Gaelic.
speakers of many languages: Scottish and Irish Gaelic, Pictish, Latin, Welsh and the Anglo-Saxon of Northumbria. St Columba left a spiritual heritage. The heritage in speaking and writing in Gaelic, in the arts and in learning spread in these regions and countries, and on the continent of Europe. Colmcille 1500 provides an opportunity to explore and the heritage of Colmcille, and to build on it, including including the Gaelic of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. However you choose to celebrate the legacy of Colmcille we hope that you will share your story with the world through various social media channels, on this website and through the use of the Colmcille 1500 logo (see below).
The journey is organised by a youth group, Club Óige Luraigh, one of a network of Irish language organisations which has developed in a rural area of County Derry. The club works in partnership with the Fèis in Lewis, and with Muintearas, a Gaeltacht youth organisation in Ireland: there are teenagers from the Donegal and Conamara Gaeltachts on the bus as well as from Derry.
The young people from Ireland take part in music activities and iomáin (hurling/shinty) in Lewis as well as language classes, and drama workshops help them to use Scottish Gaelic.
Joe Ó Dochartaigh, a youth worker at Club Óige Luraigh, says that the annual odyssey transforms the work of the youth club. Even though they have had Irish-medium primary education, those teenagers who do not speak Irish at home can succumb to pressure to speak English among themselves. But the annual odyssey to Lewis has its own effect: as the young people put effort into the feis and the long journey there and back, they choose to speak Irish among themselves, a choice they maintain on their return home to County Derry.
New friendships are another result of the odyssey; friendships between people in Lewis and County Derry, between teenagers in County Derry and in the Gaeltacht in Ireland. Young musicians from Ireland have been invited to play at the big Lewis musical festival, the Hebcelt; families from Lewis have come to visit families in County Derry. One young man who has been on the journey, Dubhaltach Mac Conmidhe is studying for a degree in Scottish Gaelic in Glasgow.