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Journalist takes on the 'Celtic Camino'

Journalist Kevin Magee is following in the footsteps of St Colmcille Pic Bill Smyth

BBC journalist Kevin Magee took to the roads of Donegal yesterday as he began a 500-mile-plus trip retracing the footsteps St Colmcille.

The 53-year-old Downpatrick-based reporter's bike ride will take him from Ireland's north-west coast via Tory Island to Ballycastle in Co Antrim then across the North Channel to the Mull of Kintyre from where he will travel to Iona and the Outer Hebrides.

His route follows Slí Cholmcille – the St Columba Trail – a journey that takes in some of Europe's wildest and most beautiful scenery.

His desire to undertake the pilgrimage – or what he calls the 'Celtic Camino' – was sparked by an assignment he carried out at Ulster University, where he is currently studying part-time for a degree in Irish.

What began as a examination of the linguistic similarities between Irish and Scots Gaelic turned into a major project which combines two of his greatest passions – Irish and cycling.

His three-week journey along Slí Cholmcille will link the various significant places associated with the 6th century saint, who introduced Christianity to Scotland.

"I thought it would be a fascinating project to join them all up with a single journey looking at how Gaelic life on the western edge of Europe has changed since Colmcille made his journey 1500 years ago," said Kevin.

"Colmcille is an enduring figure –a lot has been written about him and during my trip I will be trying to see where he was first hand and to separate some of the fact from fiction that surrounds the saint."

The trip is unconnected to Kevin's daily work and is being taken his spare time.

You can follow his journey on Twitter (@CelticCamino), on Facebook and on his bi-lingual daily blog –

www.celticcamino.me

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