The starting point of the Columban Way, known also in Ireland as Turas Columbanus, is in the south-east of the country, where Saint Columbanus is said to have been born in the shadow of Mt. Leinster on the Wexford/Carlow border. Turas Columbanus ends in Bangor, near Belfast, where Columbanus set sail for the European continent with 12 companions, among them Saint Gall, who gives his name to the city of Saint Gallen.
Turas Columbanus will follow the trail that Columbanus might have taken from south to north, passing through a number of ancient monastic and spiritual sites, where he may well have stayed along the way. These include Saint Brigid’s Kildare; Clonard, the monastery of Saint Finian; the Hill of Tara, seat of the Kings of Ireland; Kells, made famous by Columcille (Saint Columba).
There may be an option to detour from the trail, to visit the spectacular monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise.
In Northern Ireland, the trail will take in Lough Erne, with its many ancient island monasteries; Armagh, the religious capital of Ireland; and Downpatrick, Patrick’s burial site, following the route of the Patrick’s Way The last section of Columban Way in Ireland will run past Strangford Lough up to Bangor, the pilgrim entering the town along a rocky coastal path that would have changed little since the time of the Saint.
The Route is being defined by the local communities concerned including the County Councils, local associations and religious organisations and churches.
The goal is to publish the complete route by 2020.