Columban Way gains more support from local politicians

Friends of Columbanus Bangor are continuing their campaign to lobby politicians from Northern Ireland political parties to gain support for the development of the Columban Way.

Harry Harvey DUP MLA for Strangford and Cadogan Enright, Alliance councillor Newry Mourne and Down in Comber Square
Front row: Cllr Cadogan Enright; Deborah Girvan, Chair Friends of Columbanus Bangor; Michelle O’Neill MLA and leader of Sinn Fein; Chris Hazzard MP South Down
Back row: Dr Tim Campbell, Director of St Patrick’s Centre; Cllr Oonagh Hanlon; Charlie Reid, member of Friends of Columbanus Bangor; Cathy Mason MLA; and Cllr Philip Campbell

Deborah Girvan, Chairwoman of Friends of Columbanus Bangor said, “In the last few weeks we have met Harry Harvey, DUP MLA for Strangford, and members of Sinn Fein including Michelle O’Neill MLA, leader of Sinn Fein Party NI and Chris Hazzard MP for South Down. Our main objective is to give local politicians information about the Columban Way, a European Pilgrim route that traces the journeys of Columbanus through eight European countries from Ireland where he was born in 654 to Bobbio in Italy where he died in 615.

Italy, Switzerland, and Austria have finished their routes. France has three areas completed – Brittany, Jouarre and Luxeuil-les-Bain. In Ireland the beginning of the Columban Way is up and running in Co Carlow and the end has been developed from Comber to Bangor via Newtownards. To earn political support we have been meeting local politicians in all the areas that the route passes through in Northern Ireland to give them up to date information about what is happening across Europe and how they can help to develop the Columban Way in Northern Ireland.

More and more Europeans are coming to the island of Ireland to explore the Columbanus heritage. For example, in September we are looking forward to welcoming 46 visitors from Brittany to Bangor.   Friends of Columbanus have planned a full programme for their visit including a welcome from the Mayor, Jennifer Gilmore.”