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16 Aug 2022

Churches Trust celebrate Columba Journey Finale

Churches Trust celebrate Columba Journey Finale

Seated, front from left, Deirdre Harte, Fiona Fagan and Marlene Skuce; back, from left, Elaine Devenney, Mary Doherty, Briwn Downey, Anne McGowan and Helena Downey.

Dinner and a viewing of the Columba 1500 anniversary Film were celebrated at the Bishop’s Gate Hotel in Derry to mark the close of ‘The Columba Journey, community education and inter-Church programme that brought together participants from various faith traditions and none.

These were drawn from within the Derry City Strabane District Council (DCSDC) area, Donegal District Council (DCC) area, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) area, Leitrim and other areas together. Together, the group explored the Columba story taking part on a series of workshops and study visits.

Participants also had the pleasure of visiting Gartan, Columba’s birth place as well as Inishowen’s Moville and Shroove,  from where Columba is alleged to have departed for his trip to Iona.

There were also excursions to Kells and Dublin as part of the celebrations.

‘The Columba Journey’ programme was supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and delivered by the Churches Trust.

Speaking at the event in Derry, Fiona Fagan, chief executive, Churches Trust, thanked the funders for supporting the project, as well as the Churches Trust staff team for organising and delivering such a comprehensive and enriching programme.
She also thanked the participants for their enthusiastic engagement throughout the project.

Fiona Fagan, chief executive, Churches Trust, addressing the attendance.

She said: “Tonight’s event is a culmination of a wonderful year packed full of events and enjoyed by all. Indeed, the feedback from all our participants was over- whelmingly positive and I can assure everyone that there is great potential for building on the work achieved throughout the project and that we, at the Churches Trust will be unveiling further community education projects as part of their interfaith/inter Church programme for 2022 – 2025.”

Endorsing those sentiments, guest speaker at the event, Deirdre Harte, Colmcille 1500 project manager, Donegal County Council, said she was also delighted to attend the finale dinner and reminded all that over 150 events in all were delivered by local, regional and national partners throughout a busy year.

Ms. Harte added: “Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council were happy to co-ordinate the joint programme for the year, with funding from the North West Development Fund, and we were ably supported by a ‘Colmcille-Columba 1500’ cross-border steering group.

“The Churches Trust was a significant partner in driving the steering group and their Columba Journey Project brought together people from across the North West to celebrate Colmcille on a cross-community, cross-border basis.”

Throughout Colmcille 1500, Colmcille’s legacy was brought to life through music, spirituality, heritage, literature, language, drama and art – celebrating his significance, not only for Donegal and Derry but across the world.

Group pictured at the Churches Trust Columba Journey Grand Finale Dinner at the Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry. Front, from left, Kathleen Doherty, Mervyn Finlay and Eileen Parker. Back, from left, Ruby Finlay, Ann O’Doherty and Caroline O’Doherty. Photos Jim McCafferty Photography

Resources created include short films, animations, education packs, publi- cations and virtual trails as well as new music and art commissions – all ensuring Colmcille’s legacy is passed on to future generations.

New and strengthened relationships, across the island of Ireland and with Scotland, are also an important legacy for the year as well as the Slí Cholmcille Camino legacy project.

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