Derry’s St Columba Centre runner-up in National Lottery awards

Centre Manager Mairead Fox and Alex Mullan from Aras Cholmcille.

Centre Manager Mairead Fox and Alex Mullan from Aras Cholmcille.

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The St Columba Heritage Centre, dedicated to Derry’s founding father, has been named a runner-up in this year’s National Lottery Awards.

Áras Cholmcille was shortlisted for the prestigious title of Best Heritage Project ahead of hundreds of other organisations but lost out in a public vote to the Royal Air Force Museum’s First World War in the Air exhibition.

The St Columba Heritage Centre promotes the shared history of Derry and its founding father, Columba, preserving his legacy for future generations.

They received almost 2,500 votes in the final of the National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the most popular Lottery-funded projects.

Mairead Fox, manager of Áras Cholmcille, said: “I would like to thank everyone who voted for us in the National Lottery Awards. National Lottery funding has enabled us to restore and transform the B2-listed derelict ‘Wee Nuns’ school building into a visitor centre with an exhibition space dedicated to the story of Columba and the foundation of our ancient city.

“The centre provides opportunities for everyone to learn and enjoy the history and heritage of the remarkable story of St Columba. Taking part in the National Lottery Awards has allowed us to showcase our work and raise our profile even further as we continue to tell his story for generations to come.”

Congratulating the St Columba Heritage Centre on their efforts, Jackie O’Sullivan, from the National Lottery Awards, added: “Regardless of the outcome, everyone at Áras Cholmcille, the St Columba Heritage Centre, should be extremely proud of their campaign.

“People voted for the project in their thousands proving what a popular attraction and educational resource the centre has become. National Lottery players can be proud to have contributed to the success of the centre which is clearly treasured both by local people and visitors from across the globe.”