Columbanus Festival 2023

Deborah Girvan, Chair of Friends of Columbanus Bangor holding a replica of the Bangor Hand Bell with Cormac Bourke who will deliver a lecture on monastic hand bells, and Barbara Boyle, who will be a guide on the Bell Walk at the Columbanus Festival. 

Bells Ring Out for Columbanus Festival

The theme of ‘Bells’ will resonate throughout the Columbanus Festival, an annual event that commemorates the life and legacy of Columbanus, from 24 -26 November in Bangor. The programme includes bell ringing, bell print workshops, a monastic bell lecture, and a bell walk.

Deborah Girvan, chairwoman of Friends of Columbanus Bangor who are organising the Festival said, “Monastic bells played an important role in early medieval times to call the monks to prayer or warn of impending danger. Inspired by the original Bangor Bell that is displayed in the North Down Museum, we chose the bell theme to build our programme around. We are delighted to welcome renowned expert Cormac Bourke, who will give a lecture entitled, ‘Early Monastic Hand Bells Revisited’. We have teamed up with Seacourt Print Workshop in Bangor to deliver a series of workshops to learn how to print a unique, limited edition postcard of the Bangor Bell using Letter Press. In addition, a bell ringing talk and practice session by the members of St Comgall’s Church of Ireland, Hamilton Road, Bangor , will ring out the bells in honour of Columbanus. Along with all the other events and activities that we have planned, festival goers will learn about our local monastic heritage and how bells have been an important part of worship right up to the present day.”

The Events

Follow the links below for full details and ticket booking:

24 Nov / Bell Ringing

Colin Holliday, Tower Captain of the St Comgall’s bell ringers, will give a short introductory talk followed by a bell ringers practice session to herald the beginning of the Columbanus Festival.
St Comgall’s Church of Ireland

25 Nov / The Columbanus Lecture

Renowned expert, Cormac Bourke, will deliver a talk on ‘Early Irish Monastic Bells Revisited’.
Bangor Abbey Parish Centre

25 Nov / Bell Print Workshop for Adults

Print your own limited edition Bangor Bell postcard using letterpress. Materials supplied.
Seacourt Print Workshop

25 Nov / Columbanus Cultural Evening

An evening of words, music and song to commemorate the life of Columbanus with special guests Ards CCE traditional Irish musicians.
Bangor Golf Club

26 Nov / Columbanus Bell Walk

Brigid Watson and Barbara Boyle, experienced and qualified tour guides, will lead a guided walk which traces the footsteps of Columbanus from Bangor to Bobbio by following the Bangor Bell Trail.
Starting beside Bangor Abbey

26 Nov / Columbanus Church Service

A cross-community church service. Guest speaker: Brother Thierry Marteaux OSB (Order of St Benedict), Holy Cross Abbey, Rostrevor.
City Church Bangor (formerly First Bangor Presbyterian Church)

Festival 2023 flyer (PDF)

The link below will download a flyer for this event which may be freely printed and distributed:

The Columbanus Festival has been funded by a Community Festival grant from The Department of Communities and Ards and North Down Council.