Colmcille 1500 is a year-long commemoration marking the 1500th anniversary of the birth of Colmcille – also known as Columba.  Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council are coordinating a programme for the year which includes a community grants scheme now open for applications until 3.00 pm on Friday 19th February 2021.

Grants of €2,000 or £1,800 are available for projects that primarily take place within the Donegal County Council or Derry City & Strabane District Council areas and the scheme is open to community organisations or groups/individuals working in partnership with communities. 

The 1500th anniversary recognises the importance and legacy of the 6th-century saint, not only for Donegal and Derry but for the island of Ireland, Scotland and across the world.  The year-long celebrations will last from the 7th December 2020 to 7th December 2021.

The programme being coordinated by the two councils is supported by key partners including the North West Development Fund, in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and The Irish Government. The programme builds on an Audit of Columban Heritage undertaken in 2018 and is being delivered in partnership with a range of local, regional, national and international organisations.

A dedicated Colmcille 1500 Project Manager has recently been appointed as part of the programme to lead and co-ordinate cross-border commemorations for the year. This will include a range of projects, events and activities as well as the grant scheme.  The programme aims to raise knowledge and understanding of Colmcille and to establish a lasting legacy. The grant scheme will play an important role in this by supporting local communities to contribute to the year and its legacy.

Colmcille 1500 Project Manager, Deirdre Harte said ‘I’m delighted to be in post and excited for the year ahead. One of the first tasks has been to get a small grant scheme up and running to provide funding for projects that relate to any aspect of Colmcille’s legacy, for example, through culture, heritage, arts, literature, spirituality, language, music or storytelling”.

“I would really encourage local groups to come up with creative ideas to mark this significant anniversary which could include activities such as events, exhibitions, artwork or other projects with a strong Colmcille theme. COVID has provided unique challenges to commemorating Colmcille this year but there is an opportunity to bring celebrations to an international audience through virtual events for example”.

“This is an exciting opportunity to showcase the creativity of our local communities and to open up Colmcille’s legacy to new audiences of all ages. We look forward to seeing what ideas emerge.”

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