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saint columba

saint columba and the isle of iona

In 563AD, St Columba arrived on the shores of the remote island of Iona, off the coast of the Isle of Mull. A refugee from Ireland, cast out for a dispute with his high-born family, he chose Iona as his base for the Celtic Church. One of the reasons given for this choice is that he is reputed to have said that he would travel by sea from Ireland, and when he came to the first piece of land where he could no longer see the shores of his beloved home, that is where he would establish his church. A scholar, poet, statesman and converted Celt, Columba was to be responsible for bringing the Christian religion to Scottish lands.

And so, the Isle of Iona became the center of the Scottish Christian religion, that even to this day, has a working religious community living in the restored 14th Century Benedictine Abbey that stands on the site of Columba's original monastery.

Many other religious orders lived and worked from this site over the centuries, and the remains of their occupation can be seen in the ruins and still-operational buildings surrounding the Abbey. The graveyard next to the Abbey was one of the main burial sites for Scotland's Kings, and includes the graves of King Duncan and Macbeth, as written about by Shakespeare.

Click on the links below to see photos of the Isle of Iona


For more information about Iona and St. Columba, visit the Iona Home Page.


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All photos © S. McLean 1998

You will find credits and links to the generous souls who have provided the Celtic art, music, poetry and reference material free on the Web, as well as a bibliography of the books and publications that make up a large part of my library and have been a rich resource for these pages in the Credits list.

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