Turas Columbanus is a new exciting pilgrims trail that follows in the footsteps of St. Columbanus from his Leinster birthplace to Bangor via Cleenish Island in Fermanagh. It makes its way through both historic and monastic scenery for 270 miles/ 433 kilometers.
It is broken up into 4 clusters and is designed for walkers, cyclists, motor motorists and drivers. Like many of the European pilgrims walks such as The Camino de Santiago, it is not designed to be completed in one journey but to be take in stages over several trips.
The route is hopefully to be extended throughout Europe with its final destination of Bobbio in northern Italy as the culmination of a fantastic faith journey in the footsteps of St. Columbanus.
The arrival from Italy of La Campala (the bell) at the Port of Cork on the 29th December 2015 on its way to Bangor via Myshall, Co. Carlow. Bro. Michael Keogh Deputy PGK and Bro. Seamus Casey Provincial Secretary, Area 5 were on hand to receive La Campala from the Captain and crew. Bro Seamus is pictured with his wife Ann outside Ringaskiddy Oratory.
The Knights of St Columbanus have supported the development of the project through the mapping process and the defining of a route, as well as the promotion of the pilgrim walks and financial accountability.
Described as “a creative and inspirational project”, it invites peoples of all walks of life to rediscover some aspect of their faith and live it to the full in an Ireland and Europe in the 21st Century.
St. Columbanus travelled more than 3,000kms across Ireland and Europe. According to his biographer, Jonas, he was born in the shadow of Mount Leinster on the Wexford/Carlow border in the year 543AD.
He joined the monastic settlement in Bangor, Co Down and was under the direction of Abbot St. Comgall for more than 20 years before he set off across the Irish Sea and began the start of his many years of travel with twelve companions, among them St. Gall from whom the city of St. Gallen in Switzerland takes its name.
St. Columbanus founded monasteries in Annegray, Fontaine and Luxeuil-les-Bains in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, in Eastern France; he founded a monastery in the town of Bregenz in Austria on the banks of Lake Constance, and finally in the year 613 a monastery in Bobbio in Northern Italy, some 120km south of Milan.
St. Columbanus’ pilgrim journey forms the basis of the 21st Century pilgrim route called The Columban Way or Turas Columbanus. The pilgrim route begins in Bunclody, Co Wexford, crosses Mount Leinster to Myshall, Co Carlow and on through the midlands, to Cleenish Island in Co Fermanagh, finishing the Irish route in the town of Bangor, Co Down.
It marks the first phase of the European Columban Way which has its final destination, Bobbio, the resting place of St Columbanus. This pilgrim route connects and crosses many ancient pilgrim sites across Europe and enables communities from different heritages, cultures and languages to link up with one another, learn from one another and forge links for a better appreciation of our European identity.
It is a north-south pilgrim trail across the whole island of Ireland that brings communities of different faiths and cultural traditions together. Columbanus himself was the first to coin the phrase “totius Europa” (the whole of Europe) in an effort to bring communities together at a time of turmoil and conflict.
The Columban Way/Turas Columbanus is much more than just walking a pilgrim path.
Based on the writing and legacy of St. Columbanus, it is not the geographical destination that is the all-important goal but rather the journey itself, the engagement with communities, the building up of a community spirit along the route, the interaction among peoples through educational and cultural projects, the caring for the environment and the coming together of likeminded people to explore the relevance of Columbanus for the Europe of the 21st century.