"St Colman and Melk - The Irish Connection" Top 5 Page for this destination Melk by Ekaterinburg

Melk Travel Guide: 217 reviews and 850 photos

Town, Monastery and Place of Pilgrimage

This is the town of Melk, a swirl of red roof tiles and small streets, seen from the Monastery which bears the same name. This monastery, run by the Benedictines since 1089 is of special interest to the Irish and on December 2006, a band of 28 pilgrims led by a German woman lecturing at University College Cork, retraced the steps of St Colman of Melk and remembered the connections between Ireland and Austria. St Colman (Koloman) is one of the two Patron Saints of Melk and he has been venerated in this area since the 11th century. Colman was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem when he was arrested in Stacherau and because he spoke no German, was convicted of being a spy. Sentenced to death, he was hanged between two thieves and his body left dangling on the gibbet. Over 18 months the body suffered no damage or decomposition and flowers and plants supposedly sprung from the scaffolds where he hung. Many miracles were attributed to him and eventually the remains were transferred to Melk where part of his thigh bone is interred in a sarcophicus in the church. Other parts of Colman are buried throughout Europe but it is here at Melk that he is principally remembered.
Historical sources list Colman as being of Irish or Scottish origin but in our minds there is no question, he is definitely one of our own. Just a mile or so from Melk, as you rejoin the main road back to Vienna, there is a statue of poor Colman with the noose around his neck.

Why Visit Melk ?

Even if you're not an Irish 'pilgrim' checking up on St Colman, there are still plenty of reasons to visit Melk. Firstly, it's an easy side-trip to make from Vienna, either by car, train or boat. Secondly, you will pass through the Wachau area, one of Lower Austria's most scenic parts and finally if you are a lover of art, architecture or history, you will find Melk absolutely fascinating. After the monastery tour you can relax at the restaurant which serves a tasty lunch at a very reasonable price and then stroll downhill to explore this pretty little town.
Definitely a worthwhile and enjoyable trip.

  • Last visit to Melk: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Dec 22, 2006
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Reviews (20)

Comments (21)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    I forgot how great and magnificent the Abbey and surrounding area is. YOu did a very good job of presenting it through pictures and comments.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    Looks lovely!

  • May 18, 2008 at 12:24 AM

    Yes, Austrians know how to make Christmas decorations. Interesting report about an interesting pilgrimage!

  • y2ketan2007's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2007 at 10:26 AM

    Like every little big or small town in Austria , Melk is a beautiful place indeed.Katherine ,thanks for all the information.

  • newyorkerman's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2007 at 11:24 AM

    Thanks for the info, very informative, and an interesting peek into how Europeans traveled around the continent even hundreds of years ago!

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2007 at 6:34 AM

    Nice page about Melk!! I like it!! Elisa

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    Great job and pages full of beautiful pictures and very interesting information! I visited Melk and the Wachau area last year and I was really impressed! One of my top recommendations in Austria!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2007 at 12:54 PM

    Great info and lovely pics of the Monastery. Your descriptions of Melk places of interest are wonderful - so vivid! Enjoyed the whimsical Christmas decorations. Well done.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2007 at 3:28 PM

    By coincidence I have just the right choral music playing on the radio right now to put me in the mood for your fine pilgrimage and monastery tips. I went to Melk years ago on a canoe trip from the beginnings of the Danube down to Vienna.

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2007 at 5:07 PM

    Great tips & photos! Great work!

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