Bishop of Raphoe spearheads Túras Colmcille Camino Walk

Epic trek followed in the footsteps of Saint Colmcille

colmcille walk

Bishop Alan McGuckian (left) pictured with some of the walkers on the final leg in Moville last weekend.

Last weekend seen the final leg of a three week ‘Proof of Concept’ Walk through parts of Donegal and Derry by Bishop Alan McGuckian finished in the little harbour of Greencastle.

The walk followed in the footsteps of St. Colmcille and it’s hoped this will become the ‘Túras Colmcille Camino.’ The event was supported by the Churches Trust’s ‘Celebrating Our Common Christian Heritage’ project who were delighted to take part in the final stage from Moville and around the Inishowen Head Loop.

‘Celebrating Our Common Christian Heritage’ is a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and delivered by the Churches Trust.

The project, spearheaded by Bishop McGuckian along with a team of extremely dedicated volunteers saw many people join with the bishop during various stages of the long 240km walk.

The local cleric hopes the event will one day become the Irish Camino also referred to as ‘Slí Colmcille’ with a route through many parts of Donegal and Derry.

Next year marks the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of the Saint Colmcille (Columba) who founded more than 60 churches and monasteries across Ireland and helped spread Christianity throughout Scotland.

This illustrious figure is one of the three patron saints of Ireland, and the patron saint of the city of Derry – where he founded a monastic settlement in 540AD.

Extolling the merits of the walk and its potential, Bishop McGuckian commented: “Most of the work to date has been done through the Donegal routes although there immense potential to naturally extend this route through Derry, and indeed on to Iona in Scotland.”

Father O’Hagan, Parish Priest of Moville and Rev Alison Gallagher, Inishowen Methodist Minister also joined in a Blessing at the beginning of the final walk outside St. Eugene’s Hall in Moville and although there was incessant rain most of the day it did not deter the pilgrims in tracing the steps of the saint.

Indeed, the final Blessing was marked by representatives from different denominations present at the memorial outside The Maritime Museum at Greencastle.

Approaching the end of his long walk, Bishop McGuckian said that the past twelve days was a wonderful experience, a spiritual experience and a large part of that spiritual experience was being with the other people who had joined him.

Fiona Fagan, Chief Executive of the Churches Trust thanked the dedicated team of people who have worked tirelessly to bring the concept to this stage.

She said: “It is imperative that we endorse the achievements to date with public support, both individually and organisationally, to deliver an iconic legacy of the year of commemorating the1500th anniversary of the illustrious Saint Colmcille/Columba.

“The potential economic and social benefits of the Túras Colmcille Camino are immense.”

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