After Columba had lived on Iona many years, he received a message from Ireland, saying that the senior bishop there had decided to outlaw the traveling bards.
7Remembering how successful he had been in winning converts through his songs; he decided to Sail to Ireland. to try and overturn the bishop's decision.
In addition to food for the journey, he stored in the boat two large turfs which he had dug from the Iona soil. When he landed on the Irish coast, he tied the turfs to his feet — so he would abide by the sentence never to set foot again on Irish soil.
He walked on these turfs toward Armagh, where the senior bishop lived. As he walked he sang his old songs. People ran from the fields and poured out of their homes to hear him; and many of them followed him. When he arrived at the bishop’s house, he was leading a huge crowd. The bishop told Columba that he disliked the bards because they conveyed the Gospel in their own words, rather than in words they had been taught by bishops and priests. Columba replied that they sang from the heart, so their words were sent by Gods Spirit.The bishop was frightened by the size of the crowd and relented, agreeing to rescind his Order and let Columba carry on his work.
Prayer of St Columba
Be O Lord,
a guiding star above me,
a smooth path below me,
a kindly shepherd behind me
and a bright flame before me;
today, tonight and forever. Amen.