2021 marks the 1500th anniversary of the birth of the 6th century Irish abbot and missionary Saint Colmcille (Columba), founder of the monastic community of Iona in present-day Scotland. Said to have been born in Gartan, County Donegal, on 7 December 521AD (or 520AD according to recent research), Colmcille is recognised as one of Ireland’s three patron saints, along with Saints Patrick and Brigid. Most associated with Donegal, Derry, and Iona, his influence extended farther afield including to Sligo where he is attributed with the founding of Drumcliffe monastery in 575AD.

Cos Cos Festival and the wider Drumcliffe/Rathcormac community, specifically Drumcliffe Rathcormac Tidy Towns Committee have focused on how best to commemorate this important anniversary in a way that emphasises the Sligo aspects of the Colmcille story, specifically the Battle of the Book which led to his exile to Iona and subsequent missionary activities.

Find out more about the Sligo Colmcille 1500th celebrations and commemorations in 2021 using the link to our website below:


Listen to Michael Rooney’s Colmcille March/Polka commissioned by Cos Cos Festival for the 1500th Anniversary in 2021.