I – Isle of Iona

The Isle of Iona is a very small island (part of the inner Hebrides) off the west coast of Scotland. To get there, one must take the ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull then either take a bus or drive to the southernmost point of Mull via a one-track road.
Iona is most known for its monastery which was founded in the sixth century by Saint Columba who had been exiled from Ireland along with several of his monks. Iona is considered the seat of Christianity in Scotland. The monastery was abandoned in the mid-ninth century because of excessive raids by the Vikings.
In the early thirteenth century, an order of Benedictine nuns established a nunnery and abbey on Iona. The ruins of the nunnery are still there. During the Reformation of the sixteenth century when the Scottish Church broke from Rome and formed the Presbyterian Church or Church of Scotland, most of the buildings were destroyed. This was also about the same time Henry VIII was breaking from Rome and establishing the Church of England (Anglican Church).
Another interesting sight is the stone Celtic crosses on the island. Saint Martin’s Cross was carved in the late eighth century. It is over seventeen feet tall and has stood in its present location in front of the abbey for over 1200 years.
Also in front of the abbey is a replica of Saint John’s Cross which is not as tall as Saint Martin’s. The remnants of the original Saint John’s Cross are inside the abbey.
When I was there in 2003, the abbey itself was being restored

Northern coastline of Iona – where the ferry from Mull lands

The nunnery at Iona is probably the most complete in the British Isles.

Saint Martin’s Cross


5 responses to “I – Isle of Iona

  1. Hi…I’m hopping over from the A to Z challenge. Lovely blog…good luck with the challenge!

    Donna L Martin

  2. beautiful pictures ! i would love to visit there one day!
    Happy A-Zing!

    • Don’t delay. I kept saying “some day I’m going to Scotland.” I had a friend who said the same thing. He was several years younger than I when he had a massive heart attack in Feb., 2002. A few months later another friend (younger than I) also dropped dead. That’s when I said, “I’m going.” I was 60 years old, took half of my retirement funds and went. By myself. I was there two weeks and drove just at 1300 miles. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything except maybe my kids and grandkids.

  3. I’d love to visit Iona one day. Gorgeous photos!

  4. artanddesignofpaul

    such a lovely place

    do check out my letters at GAC a-z

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