A decorated and inscribed slate was presented to the Columbanus: Life and Legacy Project on Tuesday 9th April 2013 by the Genoa-based Italian cultural organisation Green Butterflies in recognition of our work on Columbanus.
The presentation was made by an association called Olnus Arance di Natale. The presentation was preceded by a quick tour of the campus and a visit to the NUI Galway chapel that is dedicated to St. Columbanus where we were met by Fr Diarmuid Hogan.
The slate is one of 12 others now distributed around places associated either directly or via research projects to Columbanus. Each bears part of an image which when re-assembled forms a line drawing of the iconic Ponte Gubbo over the River Trebbia at Bobbio. The multi-arched pedestrian bridge is thought to date from the Roman period. The inscription reads TOTIUS EUROPAE. The custodians of each fragment will gather with their respective slates in Rome in 2015 where the image will be re-assembled marking the 1400th anniversary of the saint’s death in Bobbio in AD 615
Arance de Natale have been on pilgrimage from Bobbio (the last and arguably most famous and important of Columbanus’ monastic foundations) for the last month, stopping at his other foundations (Annegray, Luxeuil and Fontaines in France) where presentations were also made, before arriving in Ireland to pay homage to his Irish roots and his education at Bangor Co. Down, from where he left for the Continent around AD590. Their pilgrimage to Ireland is part of The Gathering.
Green Butterflies is specifically working towards developing a Columbanus Way (similar to the Camino to Santiago di Compostela) in time for the 1400 hundred anniversary of Columbanus’ death Bobbio which will be celebrated in 2015.