Foras na Gaeilge celebrates Colmcille 1500

The 9th June is the feast day of St Colm Cille, or Columba, whose life and whose abbey at Iona came to change the history of Ireland, Scotland and the north of England. This year’s festival is part of Colmcille 1500, the commemoration of 1500 years since the birth of the saint in Gartan, Co. Donegal.

Slí Cholmcille (The St Columba Way) is an initiative linking sites associated with St Colm Cille and his followers. The month of June will see the launch of a redesigned Slí Cholmcille website  The trilingual site provides interactive maps, innovative video content and information on trails through Irish, Scottish Gaelic and English. 

Colmcille commissioned Sonia Nic Giolla Easpaig’s Ligid Productions to produce video content which will also be premiered during the month of June. It will feature storytelling by Gearóidín Breathnach and an overview of the life and legacy of St Colmcille featuring footage Columban sites in Ireland and Scotland and interviews with historian Brian Lacey.

A number of events were held as part of Colmcille 1500 in June which includes:

  • The 2021 American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) which was held on 2-5 June 2021, from Ulster University’s Magee campus. Among the events broadcast live to the public are a keynote address Of Heritage, Home and Healing by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland who addressed the significance of St Colmcille and his heritage.
  • A discussion on An Cathach, Ireland’s oldest manuscript, reputedly written by Colmcille was held on 2nd June. Panel participants included Professor Padraig Ó Macháin, UCC, Dr Ann Marie O’Brien Dublin Institute of Advance Studies and Professor Ruairí Ó hUiginn, Maynooth.
  • Adomnán, Adhamhnán, Eunan: Life and afterlife of a Donegal Saint” by Dr Brian Lacey was launched on Friday, 4 June. St Adhamhnán was a successor to Columba as Abbot of Iona and a major figure in the medieval church in Europe. The launch featured discussion from a distinguished panel including Professor Nollaig Ó Muraíle and Professor Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha.
  • Raphoe Diocese Colmcille 1500 presented Colmcille: A Lasting Legacy, a virtual series on the life and legacy of Colmcille/Columba, via YouTube. The series includes contributions from Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ and Rev. David Houlton, Rector of Gartan as well as historians, academics and other Columban experts.
  • A Columba Pageant at St Augustine’s Church of Ireland entitled Columba: a Triptych was among the events in Derry. In three parts, it told the stories of his mother's dream, the battle his kinsmen began on his behalf and his eventual remorse.

The following are among the wide range of events planned for the rest of 2021:

Join us on social media through the #Colmcille1500 and #Colmcille hashtags and connect with the diverse Colmcille community online. Follow us on Instagram @Colmcille and like @Colmcille1500 on Facebook to keep updated on all our latest news.

Events across Scotland and Ireland can be found at

Find out more about the Colmcille partnership and Colmcille 1500 at

Further information:

Anna Davitt, Programme Manager: Communications, Marketing & Awareness, Foras na Gaeilge

Tel: 0035387 673 6175     Email: