St Columba’s Day Mass times

Retired Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly, will be the chief celebrant at the St Columba’s Day Mass at St Columba’s Church, Long Tower, on Thursday.

The celebrations for the feast of the patron saint of Derry will begin tonight with a Mass in the Long Tower at 7.30pm.

A vigil Mass will also take place on Wednesday night at 7.30pm.

On the feast day itself, there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day from 10am to 7pm in the Long Tower church.

The Rosary will be said in Irish at the Calvary in the church grounds at 7pm (weather permitting).

The main feast day Mass will begin at 7.30pm with Dr Daly as the chief celebrant and it will be followed by the annual blessing of the well at St Columb’s Wells immediately afterwards.

Traditionally, many people in Derry wear an oak leaf on their lapels on St Columba’s Day.

The patron saint of Derry was born in Gartan in Donegal in 521 into a powerful family. His great grandfather was said to be the fifth century king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.

St Columba established his first monastery in Derry at the site where the Long Tower church now stands. He also founded monastic sites in Durrow and on the Scottish island of Iona. Monks from Iona later spread Christianity throughout Scotland.

He exiled himself from Ireland in 563 following his involvement in a huge battle and only returned once, to Drum Ceitt near Limavady, to settle a dispute among poets.

As well as being the patron saint of Derry, St Columba is also the patron of bookbinders, poets, and floods.

Clay from the area of his birthplace in Gartan is said to protect homes from fire.