The Columban Way

Welcome to the Columban Way, the Irish section of the Via Columbani.

Tracing its way from Mt Leinster to Bangor, across Ireland and eight countries of Europe to Bobbio in Northern Italy, it echoes a tradition of pilgrimage by uniting different counties and countries in a vision of a common humanity. It is inspired by St Columbanus, a 6th century monk and pilgrim. His messages, though delivered nearly 1500 years ago, have a remarkable relevance today.

Inspiration across the centuries

an enduring link with St James, patron saint of pilgrims. Having taken seven years to dig a water course from the Aughavaud river, he dedicated it on the feast day of St James. Ever since, and particularly during times of adversity, St Mullins has been a beloved place of pilgrimage.

St Columbanus travelled not long after the collapse of the Roman Empire. At a time when Europe had become a patchwork of fragmented territories, he provided a vision of togetherness and was the first person to speak of a ‘totus Europa’ or ‘the whole of Europe’. When a similar vision was required following the second world war, statesman Robert Schumann organised a conference in Luxeuil, the location of the first French monastery of St Columbanus. Ostensibly celebrating the 1400th anniversary of the saint’s birth, the event drew on the inspiration of St Columbanus to begin a new journey towards uniting Europe.

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