June 9th is the feast day of St. Columba, one of the greatest of Celtic saints, and the Causeway Coast has an important place his story, including sites such as the Giant’s Sconce, Camus on the River Bann, and Coleraine itself.
To mark this, Coleraine Library (Queen Street) will host an exhibition on Slí Cholmcille (the St. Columba Trail) and a lecture by writer Màiri MacArthur on Wednesday 13th June from 6.30pm - 7.30pm, entitled ‘Traditions of Colmcille among the people of Iona’.
The St. Columba Trail can be seen online at www.colmcille.org and will be available to view on a touch-screen panel in Coleraine Library from Thursday 7th June until the end of June.
Slí Cholmcille, the St. Columba Trail, is the first visitor trail between Scotland and Ireland and is named after St. Colmcille or Columba who left Ireland as a pilgrim for Christ in 563. Columba founded the Abbey of Iona, and his mission bridged the different peoples of Scotland and Ireland, and the churches he founded shaped both countries for many centuries.
Late in his life Columba came to Drum Ceat mound in the Roe Valley Country Park to mediate between Scottish and Irish Kings there. On his return journey, and with peace being made between the various kingdoms, he was welcomed by various kings and churches on his return journey to Iona. Sites mentioned on this journey include Dún Ceithirn, a great hill fort at the Giant’s Sconce overlooking the Bann Estuary. They include Camus, which was a monastery of the great St. Comgall of Bangor, who came to meet Columba, and the Church at Coleraine in the territory of Dalriada, which saw a great gathering to welcome the saint. These sites are all part of the trail and information can be found at www.colmcille.org/sperrins
Coleraine Borough Council is organising also organising a walk to the Giant’s Sconce / Springwell Forest with guides Dr Steve McCartney from Coleraine Borough Council, and Tom McErlean from the University of Ulster on Thursday 7th June at 6.45pm. Further information is available through Coleraine Borough Council, telephone no: 028 7034 7034.
Admission to the exhibition and talk ‘Traditions of Colmcille among the people of Iona’ in Coleraine Library, on Wednesday 13th June at 6.30pm, is free and everyone is welcome to come along to what promises to be an informative and enjoyable event.