MYSHALL continues to be a major leader in developing an Irish-style Camino from Co Carlow to north of the border.
The annual Carlow Columbian Way Walk, which took place last weekend between Bunclody and Leighlinbridge, provided an opportunity to reflect on the Turas Columbanus (Columban Way), which is fast gaining recognition.
It finds its origin in the Irish monk and pilgrim St Columbanus (545-615), who walked 3,000km across Ireland to Europe at the end of the 6th and beginning of the 7th centuries.
The starting point of this 21st century pilgrim route is the Nine Stones in the shadow of Mount Leinster, where the saint was born, and it stretches to Bangor in Co Down and on through Europe, ending in Bobbio, Italy.
The people of Myshall are leaders in developing the project and immense work is taking place to promote the entire route. The important goal is not the destinations reached but the journey itself, which symbolises the inner journey of the participant. In conjunction with other county councils north and south of the border, Carlow County Council and Carlow Tourism are supporting various aspects of the Columban Way and scoping of the route in Carlow is currently taking place.
In an effort to further the movement, volunteers from Myshall travelled to Luxeuil in France in September 2018, where the local mayor and ‘Friends of Columbanus Luxeuil’ greeted them and in April 2019 they visited Bobbio and Genoa.
In Bobbio, the delegates made a pilgrimage to the cave where St Columbanus died – making a huge link with his birth and death.
In Genoa, the group were greeted by the mayor in the ceremonial room of the town hall, which dates back many centuries and contains frescoes of such notable characters as Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus.
Patsy McLean, chairperson of both Myshall Muintir na Tíre and Friends of Columbanus nationwide, got the opportunity to outline what is happening on the ground in Ireland and exchanges were made with the Green Butterflies, a cultural group promoting the Columban Way in Italy.
A gift of a Borris lace butterfly was presented to the Genoese contingent to mark the occasion, which was very fitting, as Lady Harriet, who originally brought the lace to Borris, was instrumental in finding patterns for the lace in Genoa in the late 1800s.