Starting in December 2020, there will be a year-long commemoration marking the birth 1500 years ago of the 6th-century saint Colmcille or Columba. The saint and his rich legacy have shaped the language, culture and history of Ireland, Scotland and the north of England. The legacy continues to transcend borders and to inspire cooperation, not least in the Gaelic traditions of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
The 7th of December is the traditional birthday of Colmcille and the year-long celebrations will last from the 7th December 2020 to the 7th December 2021. The friendships and partnerships developed over the year will, hopefully, continue to grow as a positive legacy of this celebration.
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).
We encourage you to engage with the Gaelic languages in these celebrations, as Gaelic was the language spoken by Columba and his followers and an important legacy of his significant influence on the peoples of these islands.
Here are some themes which we hope will inspire you to organise projects and events to celebrate Colmcille 1500 over the year (7 December 2020 – 7 December 2021).
Colmcille of the Gaels
We celebrate Gaelic language communities in Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia, Isle of Man and Gaelic speakers across the globe.
– Organise a Gaelic cultural event for your local festival or arts centre.
– Host a literary event with readings from celebrated and up and coming writers.
– Arrange a Gaelic language school exchange or twining.
Colmcille: The Saint
We recognise and celebrate the major influence Columba and his followers have had on religious and spiritual life in Ireland, Scotland and further afield over generations.
– Go on a spiritual journey tracing the footsteps of Colmcille. (Visit the Columba Trail website for more details.
– Hold a service commemorating Columba and his enduring legacy.
Colmcille: Our Shared Heritage
Explore the rich built heritage as well as the life and legends surrounding this enduring figure.
– Host a conference, summer school, seminar on the legacy of Columba
– Explore the artwork made by Columba’s followers including the Book of Kells.
– Run history talks near key sites
– Organise a school trip to visit a Columban heritage site.
– Help improve signage and interpretation of Columban heritage sites.
Colmcille: The Inspiration
We celebrate the legacy of Columba through artistic response to his work and legacy
– Have concerts at major festivals with new works commissioned.
– Organise opportunities for artists from various countries to collaborate and share ideas.
– Host a competition with a Columba theme (artwork, writing, music, dance, etc)
Colmcille: Our Environment
Like Columba and his followers, we seek to work in harmony with the land and sea to encourage sustainable long-term use and enjoyment.
– Plan an event where you can plant indigenous trees.
– Connect with the environment by helping maintain and build a path network.
– Organise a beach/coast/river community clean-up.