Ireland: European Spiritual Guide

Statue of Saint Columban, Irish missionary, in front of Saint-Pierre basilica of Luxeuil-les-Bains (Haute-Saône) ./ Philippe Roy / Aurimages

Between Ireland and the European continent, the links are ancient and at first religious. Daibhi O'Croinin, a historian at Galway University, talks about St Columban, whom he sees as "The most famous Irish missionary in Europe". Born in 543, this monk arrived on the continent around 590. Until 615, he evangelized France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. "St Colomban is the first person to use the word" Europe "in the sense we hear it today – a united continent"says the specialist.

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After him, other missionaries followed. " Saint Fursy, also called Fursy de Peronne has traveled the north of France where many religious buildings are dedicated to him ». But their mobility would not be the only reason for their influence. "Some say that the Irish saved civilization," smiles the historian, " according to some beliefs, Irish monks have preserved Greek and Latin literature. "

For Daibhi O'Croinin, the influence of the Emerald Isle is then quite " powerful " on the continent. He dismantles the clichés of an austere and isolated Ireland. " For example, in the seventh century, there is evidence that some French men came to settle on the island. And some against their will, like the young Dagobert II – grandson of Dagobert 1st. "When his father King Sigebert III dies, his son is exiled to Ireland".

"A kind of migratory culture"

At the end of the sixteenth century, trade between Ireland and the European continent increased. "Irish priests and curates could not be trained in Ireland because the island was devoid of seminary. So, they migrated to the European continent, says Alison Forrestal, professor of history at the University of Galway, where a kind of migration culture has been established through the Church ".

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Today, Eire trades mainly with Great Britain, and mainly with France and Spain on the European continent. "It was in the ports of these two countries that the children sent to form the priesthood traveled, creating fertile ground for transatlantic economic and port relations," concludes Alison Forrestal.

(tagsToTranslate) Ireland (t) Travel in Europe (t) Europe (t) spiritual (t) European (t) guide


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