During the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is not possible for many people to walk some of the Turas Columbanus/Columban Way route from Mt Leinster on the Wexford/Carlow border to Bangor, Co Down.
However, the Association Friends of St Columbanus has put together a Nine Step Turas Columbanus/Columban Way Pilgrim/Heritage Walk that focuses on the central themes and quotations from the letters and writings of St Columbanus.
This guide offers an opportunity for the walker to go on a trail in his or her local area while at the same time connecting with the spirit of St Columbanus and the path he travelled through the island of Ireland.
Turas Columbanus/The Columban Way marks the first stage of what is known as the Via Columbani that continues from Bangor, Co Down across the Irish Sea and takes in eight other countries (Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Italy) ending in Bobbio, Northern Italy, the resting place of St Columban.
During these summer weeks, especially during National Heritage Week (15th-23rd August) the Nine Step Turas Columbanus/Columban Way Pilgrim/Heritage Walk can be undertaken by individuals or small groups of two to three people respecting the social distancing guidelines issued by the HSE.
They can even start from their own front door and join the many people across Ireland taking part in this event. It is an opportunity to stay connected during these months of social distancing and protecting ourselves from the spread of the virus.
The theme of this year’s Heritage Week, ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our heritage’ invites local communities to focus on our shared heritage in Ireland and across Europe.
It invites us to explore the connection between heritage and education, what we learn from the past, what it can tell us about our present and how it can provide fresh ideas for a sustainable future.
St Columbanus, as patron for all who aspire to a united Europe, is a key figure to engage us with our medieval past, for we can learn from his legacy and he provides us with a road map for our present living.
Each of the nine steps of this pilgrim/heritage walk focuses on some of the key life experiences that contribute to ensuring we have a sustainable future
Turas Columbanus/The Columban Way is much more than just walking a pilgrim path.
Based on the writing and legacy of 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 like-minded people to explore the relevance of Columbanus for the Europe of the 21st century.
Much of this we can do from home and the Nine Step Turas Columbanus/Columban Way Pilgrim/Heritage Walk is just one of many opportunities to get involved.
We would like to hear from you when you do the walk. Why not send us a photo of the location you decide to walk or post a short video of your experience. This will give us an opportunity to share and create a networking between the many communities around the country who are involved in the Turas Columbanus/The Columban Way.
All communication can be sent to: [email protected]