It’s time for ABC Wednesday and this week we are on the letter I.
Come with me to the Isle of Iona in the Hebrides.
We traveled from the town of Oban on the western coast of Scotland by ferry to the Island of Mull and then we boarded a bus to travel down the Island to take a small ferry to the small Isle of Iona.
This little Isle is rich in history and beauty.
History of Iona
St. Columba, an Irish scholar, soldier, priest, and founder of monasteries, got into a small war over the possession of an illegally copied Psalm book. Victorious but sickened by the bloodshed, Columba left Ireland, vowing never to return. According to legend, the first bit of land out of sight of his homeland was Iona. He stopped here in 563 and established the abbey.
Columba’s monastic community flourished, and Iona became the center of Celtic Christianity. Iona missionaries spread the gospel through Scotland and North England, while scholarly monks established Iona as a center of art and learning. The Book of Kells – perhaps the finest piece of art from “Dark Ages” Europe – was probably made on Iona in the eighth century. The island was so important that it was the legendary burial place for ancient Scottish and even Scandinavian kings (including Shakespeare’s Macbeth).
Slowly the importance of Iona ebbed. Vikings massacred 68 monks in 806. Fearing more raids, the monks evacuated most of Iona’s treasures (including the Book of Kells, which is now in Dublin) to Ireland. Much later, with the Reformation, the abbey was abandoned, and most of its finely carved crosses were destroyed. In the 17th century, locals used the abbey only as a handy quarry for other building projects.
Iona’s population peaked at about 500 in the 1830’s. In the 1840’s a potato famine hit. In the 1850’s a third of the islanders emigrated to Canada and Australia. By 1900 the population was down to 210, and today it’s only around 100.
But in our generation a new religious community has given the abbey new life. The Iona community is an ecumenical gathering of men and women who seek new ways of living the Gospel in today’s world, with focus on worship, peace, and justice issues, and reconciliation.
The island is car free. While the present abbey, nunnery, and graveyard go back to the 13th century, much of what you see today was rebuilt in the 19th century.
ht: history and other information taken from Rick Steves’ Great Britain
For more ABC Wednesday go see Mrs. Nesbitt.
Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.
38 thoughts on “I is for Iona ~”
There is/was a Celtic band that I like called Iona.
wonderful post and beautiful shots.
So much history and I love your photos. I would love to visit a place like that and spend hours there with my camera.
Looks like a great place to visit!
Very good post, beautiful the photographs and the subjects that they cover, but also very informative!
What an interesting post! Another spot for me to tour next time I visit the UK. 😀
Ellen…I love coming to this learning place of yours!!!! Great shots! That is definitely a place I would love to visit! No cars!! Wow!
The grass is sooooo green! Beautiful shots.
Those photos are just breath taking. I love the celtic cross. Thanks for the history on Iona. I think being car free is neat.
What a beautiful place this is great history too
It must have been a wonderful time!!
I could’ve done IRISH! duh…..very nice post.
I will keep this in mind when we finally get to visit Scotland sometime in the near future.
Lots of interesting information along with the beautiful photos.
Iona sounds like a great place to explore.
Beautiful photos from a beautiful place. 🙂
Hi Ellen, This is also an isle I haven’t been yet good I!
thanks for your comment on ABC wednesday,
JoAnn Holland + IOS!
This took me some time to read, but thanks for sharing – otherwise I wouldn’t know anything about Iona.
It must be just over twenty years since we were in Iona – we had a week camping at Fidden Farm, Fionnphort across the Sound. Took the ferry across three or four times. I especially loved a little place called “The bay at the back of the ocean” full of rock pools looking across to Tiree.
what a perfect choice for the week in which St Patrick’s Day is celebrated!
Iona looks fabulous wow your pictures and history are WONDERFUL
Fascinating bit of history and great photos to go with it. Thanks. (The Hebrides Overture is my favorite work by Felix Mendelsohn.)
This was a very interesting post with lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing.
Fabulous. Love the crosses.
Ought to say
Nicest Iona is
And we learn a lot with your post.
Beautiful. I’ve never been there but I’d love to now. I have a friend who spent several months as part of the comunity there. She loved it.
Beautiful. Love all the pictures. And the post is so interesting.
Lovely photos, and very Informative text. Great!
lovely pics…. great info…
That place looks lovely. I will have to add it to my list of places I want to visit.
Very good post.
I really want to visit this place! Looks so beautiful:D
Wonderful I post and photos. Very informative. A great way to learn history.
Lovely photos of Scotland. We have been to the Kyntyre peninsula a couple times (Muasdale/Campbeltown) …love it!
I would love to come with you. When do we leave?
Interesting post and the photos are so beautiful. I had never heard of this island.
What a wonderful I tour — I am sure I would love it without cars and walking around.
I do love those old churches you see in the UK. I want to go there!