Carlow County Museum in partnership with Myshall Muintir na Tíre and the Myshall Community Centre presents a free public lecture:
‘Saint Columbanus and the Making of Europe’
by Dr Alexander O’Hara, Department of Medieval History, University of St Andrews.
The lecture will take place on Monday 19th August at 8.00pm in the Myshall Community Centre. Free Admission, all welcome.
For details on other events happening across Carlow for Heritage Week, click here.
St. Columbanus and Myshall
Myshall also has a strong connection to St. Columbanus (c. 550-615) who, according to his biographer was born in Leinster and spent his early years there. The border area between Counties Wexford and Carlow and the village of Myshall in particular, have long been believed to have nurtured the saint.
His journey took him from here to the north of Ireland to Bangor, Co. Down, whose monastery had a close association with Carlow town. From Bangor, Columbanus set off on his great missionary journey to the continent where he founded many monasteries including Luxeuil in France and Bobbio in Italy. Columbanus was described by Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich as ‘Ireland’s first European, a poet, scholar, abbot, preacher and teacher’. He founded monasteries, associated with kings and corresponded with popes. Many of Columbanus’ writings survive and they consistently inspire and encourage.
St. Columbanus and Europe
In 1950, following the devastation of World War II, a group of statesmen and scholars from across Europe met in Luxeuil-les-Bains in eastern France to commemorate the 14th centenary of the birth of Columbanus, and to discuss plans for the future of Europe. The founding of the modern European Union can be traced to this gathering. Dr O’Hara’s lecture looks at the surprising influence of Columbanus on Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister and a founding father of the European Union, and how an Irish immigrant from the edge of Europe was one of the first to voice the concept of a united Europe.
Dr Alexander O’Hara
Dr Alexander O’Hara is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Medieval History, University of St Andrews. He is the author of ‘Jonas of Bobbio and the Legacy of Columbanus: Sanctity and Community in the Seventh Century’ and editor of ‘Columbanus and the Peoples of Post-Roman Europe’, both published by Oxford University Press in 2018.
For more on St. Columbanus you can view our previous blogs: