The heritage of Colmcille or Columba was celebrated at a special event in the Music Room in Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday 8 June, the eve of the Feast of Colmcille. 2020-21 will be the 1500th anniversary of Colmcille’s birth, and the night gave a taste in Irish and in English of that heritage internationally and in Dublin itself.
Colmcille is a partnership programme between Foras na Gaeilge and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which promotes the use of Irish and Scottish Gaelic in Ireland and in Scotland and between the two countries. Foras na Gaeilge organised the event in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Donegal County Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and Oideas Gael, and as part of the Colmcille partnership programme between Foras na Gaeilge and Bòrd na Gaeilge in Scotland.
Foras na Gaeilge chief executive, Seán Ó Coinn, said, “Tonight, the 8 June, is the eve of the Feast of Saint Colmcille or Columba. He died in Iona in Scotland on 9 June. Ever since people have been commemorating Colmcille. At midnight tonight people will be walking and praying on the Colmcille pilgrimage in Gleann Cholm Cille and in Gartan. There will be celebration in many places in Donegal and in Colmcille’s beloved Derry. There no figure in history that better reveals the links between the Irish language community in Ireland and the Scottish Gaelic community in Scotland, as well as our shared heritage.
This event tonight is being organised by Foras na Gaeilge, conjunction with Bòrd na Gaeilge in Scotland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Donegal County Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and Oideas Gael. I would like to thank all these, and their representatives here tonight. I would especially like to thank the dean and board of Christ Church Cathedral for providing us this historic venue which has a link to Colmcille, and Canon Gary Hastings for kindly welcoming us. I would like to particularly thank Dr Brian Lacey who has done so much to bring to light the history and legacy of Saint Colmcille for much more than twenty years, Gearóidín Bhreathnach, the storyteller and singer from Rann na Feirste, and Dr Ann Buckley from Trinity College and the singers from Amra Schola who we will hear tonight.”