The Heritage Council’s Heritage Week 2019 Awards took place today and Carlow County Museum, Myshall Muintir na Tíre and the Myshall Community Centre won “Le Cheile san Eorap Award” for the event: “St Columbanus and the Making of Europe”.
Dr Alexander O’Hara, Department of Mediaeval History, University of St Andrews, presented the keynote lecture. The accompanying pop-up exhibition explored the influence of St. Columbanus (c. 550-615), a native of the Myshall area. The exhibition included photographic displays of intercultural visits between members of Myshall Friends of Columbanus, and Friends of Columbanus Francaise and Italy, with a focus on the Columban Way which is currently being mapped from Myshall to Bangor, Co. Down, on through England, France, Switzerland, and on to Bobbio in Italy where St. Columbanus is buried.
The event was supported by Carlow County Council, Carlow County Museum’s parent body, through Creative Ireland.
The border area between Counties Wexford and Carlow and the village of Myshall in particular, have long been believed to have nurtured the saint. His journey took him from here to the north of Ireland to Bangor, Co. Down, whose monastery had a close association with Carlow town. From Bangor, Columbanus set off on his great missionary journey to the continent where he founded many monasteries including Luxeuil in France and Bobbio in Italy. Columbanus was described by Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich as ‘Ireland’s first European, a poet, scholar, abbot, preacher and teacher’. He founded monasteries, associated with kings and corresponded with popes. Many of Columbanus’ writings survive and they consistently inspire and encourage.