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Colmcille 1500

Colmcille 1500 is a year-long commemoration marking the 1500th anniversary of the birth of St. Colmcille or Columba.

It recognises the importance and legacy of the 6th-century saint, not only for his birth place of Donegal and first monastery founded in Derry – but for the island of Ireland, Scotland and across the world. The year-long celebrations will last from the 7th December 2020 to 7th December 2021.

Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council are co-ordinating a programme for the year which is primarily funded through the North West Development Fund, in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and The Irish Government.

In addition, Creative Ireland are supporting the Colmcille 1500 Grant Scheme 2021 which is currently funding nine projects across Donegal – bringing Colmcille’s legacy to life through a range of themes including history, music, drama, literature, art, archaeology, spirituality, storytelling and folklore. Preparations for the commemoration started well ahead of the year itself and many of the projects that come to fruition during the year have also been supported by Creative Ireland. These include an education pack, a digital folklore project, the Turas pilgrimage exhibition, and the commissioning of performances of The Enemy Within, all of which were supported by Creative Ireland in 2020.

For further details of the Colmcille 1500 programme and planned events throughout the year visit: You can also keep up to date with events and activities on the project’s Facebook page.

St. Colmcille’s Arch

St. Colmcille’s Arch in Disert is part of a pilgrim landscape located in the parish of Inver in the foothills of the Bluestack Mountains of south Donegal. The site includes a series of early ecclesiastical enclosures, penitential cairns, a holy well dedicated to St Colmcille, a post-medieval altar and a cillín (children’s graveyard).

It was reputedly founded by St Colmcille in the sixth century AD, but evidence from an excavation in 2019 led by Disert Heritage Group suggests that use of the site extends back into prehistory. Disert is still important today for religious devotion. A further excavation by community volunteers and archaeology students is underway in 2021, funded through the Colmcille 1500 Grant Scheme with support from Creative Ireland.

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