At long last Carlow is recognising Columbanus as one of its own. Plans are afoot to commemorate the 1400 anniversary of the death of Columbanus in his reputed home place, Myshall.
Cardinal Tomás O Fiaich mentioned in his book on Columbanus that he is thought to have been born on the Carlow – Wexford border area. Myshall parish are set to honour the man with a series of events this summer.
Born around the year 543, Columbanus left his homeland with a handful of followers and established a succession of famous monasteries in Europe – Annegray, Fontaine, Luxeil and Bobbio.
I had the privilege in 2010 of cycling to Rome from Canterbury with my son Ronan following the ancient Via Francigena. We were acutely aware that we were probably the first Irish people to follow under our own steam, the journey of Columbanus.
Knowing the Carlow roots of Columbanus we diverted from the route to pay tribute to the great man at his tomb in beautiful rural Bobbio.
We picked up another ancient route, the Via d’egli Abati (The Abbots Way), across wild country side to rejoin the Francigena further south and on to Rome.
Hopefully 2014 will be the start of local recognition of Columbanus and his Carlow roots.