Scottish Academic to deliver annual Colmcille lecture

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Renowned Scottish-based Academic Dr E. Mairi MacArthur will deliver this year’s Annual Colmcille Lecture at the Tower Museum.

Organised by Derry City Council’s Heritage & Museum Service the lecture celebrates ‘Colmcille Day’ on Tuesday, June 12, and takes place at 7pm.

In her lecture titled, ’Traditions of Colmcille among the People of Iona’, Dr E. Mairi MacArthur will explore how the people of Iona, through the ages have honoured the legacy of Colmcille through their Gaelic language, their customs, their worship and their roots in the same landscape worked by the monks.

A 7th century poet wrote of Colmcille that ‘his name glistened like the sun.’ Iona, or I Chaluim Chille, the island where his monastery flourished, is also seen as a place of light and colour, a tiny patchwork of turf and sand set amid the vivid blue seas of the Scottish Hebrides.

Mayor of the city, Alderman Maurice Devenney said: “This provides a great occasion to celebrate the history of Colmcille and the close links that Derry-Londonderry has with the story dating back to the 6th Century. It is vitally important for the city that we nurture this heritage and incorporate it into the new story for the city as we move towards 2013 and in promoting our cultural relevance to a global audience.”

Looking towards the celebrations in 2013 of the 1450th anniversary of Colmcille’s landing on Iona, the talk will reflect on one of the enduring glories of his age - the carved stones and illuminated manuscripts which have served as direct inspiration for Iona craftsmen and women to this day.

Bernadette Walsh, Archivist at Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service, in welcoming the writer to the city today commented, “The lecture series is a celebration of the life and traditions of Saint Colmcille and an opportunity to highlight the longstanding connections between Ireland and Scotland. Guest lecturers in the past have explored and discussed our distinctive history, heritage and languages, focusing on place names, language historiography, the Annals and the legends of Colmcille. The Annual Colmcille Lecture has been running for a considerable number of years and we are delighted to continue with the traditional of exceptional speakers again this year.”

The lecture will take place at the Tower Museum at 7pm on 12 June 2012. Admission is free and everyone is welcome, refreshments will be served following the lecture.

For further information please contact Bernadette Walsh at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum on 028 7136 5151 extension 8251; or bernadette.walsh@derrycity.gov.uk