First ever Slí Cholmcille Conference for Gortahork

Tory Tau

NEXT month people from Scotland and Ireland will gather in Gortahork and Tory island as part of the first ever Slí Cholmcille Conference.

Colmcille is one of Donegal’s most famous sons and emigrants, and Slí Cholmcille is a ‘camino’ or trail in the footsteps of the saint which takes you from south-west Donegal to the Isle of Lewis in north-west Scotland.

The trail links communities from Gleann Cholmcille Cille to the Outer Hebrides. Contributors from Ireland and Scotland including Brian Lacey and Máire Herbert will discuss the stories and archaeology of the saint at the conference which will run from June 20 to 22.


Many of the sites in Donegal associated with the saint and his counterparts, Beaglaoch and Fíonán are on the Wild Atlantic Way, and a central concern will be the role of Slí Cholmcille in promoting tourism.

There will be visits to the medieval churches at Tullaghobegley and Ray, and on Sunday, 23rd, the King of Tory, Patsy Dan Mac Ruairí will welcome the visitors to Tory with its medieval monastery and ancient tau cross.

The event is organised by the Islands Book Trust of Scotland in association with Colmcille which promotes links between Ireland and Gaelic Scotland, and with Comharchumann Thoraí.

It is partly a conference, but like all the Islands Book Trust events, the community has a key role. There will also be a céilidh in the old sense of a social evening with conversation, music, songs from Ireland and Scotland and some dancing.

There will be a modest charge to cover the costs of tea and coffee and lunch, and it is also possible to get a residential package, flights from Glasgow to Donegal with car hire and a package for the visit to Tory.

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