First Official Walk of the Columban Way in Ireland

Apr 18, 2024

The AGM of the Turas Columbanus Association at Dalgan Park unveiled plans for the first official walk of the full length of the Columban Way route from Myshall in Co Carlow to Bangor in Co Down this autumn.

According to Niamh Byrne, who was elected at the AGM to the Turas Columbanus committee, the walk will begin on 17th August, the first day of National Heritage Week, in Myshall and it will conclude on the 21st September, International Day of Peace, in Bangor.

Delegates from both sides of the border who attended the AGM spoke about the importance of transforming the route from paper into “boots on the ground”.

The Columban Way trail was launched officially on 19th February 2022. It is part of a Europe-wide route that links a network of historic sites across the island of Ireland, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein to St Columban’s resting place in Bobbio, south of Milan in northern Italy.

Niamh Byrne of Turas Columbanus

Turas Columbanus brings together the Friends of Saint Columbanus from all over the island of Ireland. One of its main missions is the promotion and development of the Colomban Way on both sides of the border, as well as promoting an understanding of the legacy and contribution of St Columban.

Walking the route will enable participants to engage with the natural beauty surrounding them, as well as engaging with St Columbanus, while fostering well-being and focusing on peace in Europe and peace on the shared island of Ireland.

“A core group will walk the entire route but we will also be trying to involve local groups along the way, such as church groups and the GAA. We are urging them to get involved,” Niamh Byrne told

“We are undertaking this to see what the route looks like when it is walked in its present format and also to promote it.”

Turas Columbanus AGM in Dalgan April 2024.

The retired teacher explained that the autumn walk will be open to members of the public who wish to participate. Turas Columbanus is “looking for as many people as possible” to take part and to promote it, in order to make it financially viable to book transport to ferry pilgrims to their accommodation.

“It is a very big undertaking and there is plenty of work to be done on it,” she said.

It is the first time the whole trail will have been officially walked as it was only quite recently that the route was officially mapped.

Niamh Byrne believes that those undertaking the Columban Way from St Columbanus’ birth place in the shadow of Mount Leinster on the Carlow-Wexford border to Bangor will walk approximately 20 kms a day, similar to the Camino.

Another member of the Turas Columbanus Committee, Tomás Ó hOistín told that “Turas Columbanus, the Irish leg of St Columbanus’ camino, will reflect the Saint’s Irish formation – 70% of his life – before he embarked on his European project.”

“Primary sources abound relating the essence of the core Christian witness of St Columbanus, quite unique among the pantheon of Irish saints. Fifty years of his life were spent on the island of Ireland, from his youth in Myshall at the foot of Mt Leinster, to his studies under the tutelage of guru St Sinell on Cleenish Island, to overseer of education in Bangor.”

“Some of this rich heritage will take centre stage next August. A group of pilgrims will walk the entire journey, appreciating the beauty of God’s creation as they go – the cumulation of ten years work coming to fruition, Deo Volente.”

“We would dearly hope that our pilgrims will be buoyed by others who wish to walk some of the route for the dual themes of well-being and peace in these troubled times. Let our walk be our prayer,” Tomás Ó hOistín said.

“We would also expect that in future years many others will keep St Columbán’s legacy alive, by completing Ireland’s leg of his productive, saintly, trans-European journey…Tús maith leath na hoibre.”

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