Clonmacnois Summer Festival, 9-12 August, 2012

A four day summer festival held by the spiritual movement for youth Youth 2000 attracted up to a thousand young people this year at the ancient monastic ruins of Clonmacnois, where St Ciaran founded his monastery in 548.

Youth 2000 is an international movement established in response to Pope John Paul’s call for young people to evangelise young people. With their motto “youth leading youth to the heart of the Church” it is clear that the organisation has succeeded in capturing the attention of ever increasing numbers of youth in Ireland who are seeking to find meaning and spiritual nourishment in today’s Catholic Church.

The organisation has been an important entry-point into adult faith for many young adults in the last twenty years in this country. The mission of Youth 2000 is based on the vision of St John Bosco, highlighting devotion to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, to Our Lady, and to the teaching of the Church together with nurturing a deep love for scripture.

This year’s main speaker was Fr Gary Toman of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Catholic Chaplain at Queen’s University Belfast. The final Mass of the festival was celebrated by papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown. The festival also ran workshops on a number of topics of interest and benefit including a workshop on vocation discernment which was well attended.

Dom Richard of Mount St Joseph Abbey, Roscrea and Sr. Sarah of St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn represented the Cistercian order in Ireland at the event and Dom Richard spoke at the vocations workshop on the place and significance of the monastic life in the church.

The Clonmacnois summer festival is an annual event for the last number of years since the movement’s origins in 1990, bringing together young people from across the country and even attracting young pilgrims from different parts of Europe. The not so young were in attendance too, from religious vocation directors promoting their congregations, to dedicated local people, older friends and family members, giving a hand to ensure the successful running of the event, volunteering in a number of ways including laying tables, serving food, and providing other needed services.

The festival spirit of enthusiasm and joy was clearly in evidence, enhanced by festival music by the christian rock band Elation together with sun-scorching weather adding its welcome blessing to the event.

For more information about Youth 2000, visit

Photo: pictured at the event were Sister Sarah of Glencairn, vocations director, with friends Jenny and Melanie

If you would like to find out more about monastic life the Cistercian way, join us at St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn for our next Monastic Experience Weekend, 26-28 October, 2012. Please contact Sr Sarah at: 087 1909830 or email her at: