Plans in place to mark St. Columba milestone

St Columba statue at the foot of the Cross outside St Columba's Church, Long Tower, Derry.
St Columba statue at the foot of the Cross outside St Columba's Church, Long Tower, Derry.

Plans are being put in place to mark the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St. Columba.

Members of Derry City &Strabane District Council’s Environment & Regeneration Committee have provisionally approved £3,000 in funding towards a cross-border project to properly mark the Derry patron’s milestone birthday in three years’ time.

The cash will be jointly provided by the Council’s E&R and Business and Culture directorates to help fund an audit of Columban heritage in the North West. The £3,000 contribution is part of a €22,500 cocktail from the Donegal County Council, the Heritage Council of Ireland and Foras na Gaeilge.

Recommending the committee approve the funding, Director of Environment and Regeneration, Karen McPhillips, stated: “This audit presents an important opportunity for DCSDC and DCC and their partners to plan for commemorations in 2021. It will identify and map heritage sites, objects and archives associated with St. Colmcille and his life.”

UUP Alderman Derek Hussey said the initiaitive was welcome and suggested all of the “historic ecclestiastical links across the district needed to be recognised.”

He said there may also be scope to promote Derry’s other patron St. Eugene who has strong associations with the Derg valley, notably Ardstraw. The feast of the patron of the Catholic See of Derry and its cathedral on August 23 this year will mark the 1,400th anniversary of his death.