IONA in Scotland Clan Donald Chief's Tour 2011

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Clan Donald

The pictures previously displayed on first page of the Sacred place in Scotland called IONA. There is also a link to a site which describes Glengarry Counties own IONA, Iona College or Iona Academy built in 1818.

Pictures of IONA, Scotland 2011 taken by Evelyn Goulet

              History of Iona College

              Iona College Glengarry Plaque

              Highlights from the 2011 Clan Donald Chief's Tour in Scotland

              Iona is relevant to all Highlander clans especially Macdonald, Mackinnon, MacLean & MacLeod whose chiefs were buried there.

              "Iona of all the many sacred places in Scotland, is an enduring symbol of Christianity."

              from Iona Abbey and Nunnery published by Historic Scotland

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              Picture taken by Evelyn Goulet

              "Effigies erected on Iona of warriors underline the importance of the leading families of Argyll and the Western Isles."

              from Iona Abbey and Nunnery published by Historic Scotland

              From the BBC "Scotland's History site

              The island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, is the symbolic centre of Scottish Christianity. Through 1400 years of history its fortunes have fluctuated, from its heights as one of the greatest centres of learning in Dark Age Europe, to its lows as a crumbling ruin.

              However, thanks to the fame of its monastic founder, St Columba, the island has always been revered as a holy place, and, over the centuries, Iona has continually been re-invented and reconstructed as a centre for pilgrimage.

              Iona's fame began in 563 AD when Columba, with thirteen followers, landed at the south end of the island, at St Columba's Bay, to establish a monastery.

              The great abbey we see today belongs to a later era. Columba's Iona was very different. Columba had little interest in grand buildings - he was seeking seclusion among the 'desert' of the Atlantic Ocean.

              Almost nothing remains of his original monastery however traces of the vallum, or ditch, that surrounded the monastic enclosure, can still be seen. Inside would have been a settlement that resembled a small village - a modest, timber church, surrounded by huts for the monks to live and work in, and small cells to provide the solitude necessary for prayer.

              These cells, or chambers, used for prayer, are also found on the nearby islands of Canna and Eileach Naoimh, and certain islands off the coast of Ireland such as Skellig Michael.

              From Adomnn, who wrote Columba's biography 100 years after his death, we know a great deal about the early monastery's daily life. Withdrawn, contemplative and austere, its primary purpose was the contemplation of God through prayer and learning.

              Holy texts from around Europe were copied, poetry flourished and Adomnn himself wrote a guide to the Holy land - a fact which illustrates that the monastery's intellectual horizons stretched right across Christendom. As a consequence Iona amassed one of the greatest libraries in Western Europe and became a powerhouse of Dark Age learning.

              Columba died on the 9th June 597 AD. Adomnn writes that his final day was spent copying a psalter, on the Torr An Alba (the Hill of Scotland): the rock which stands in front of the Abbey today. He urged his successor as abbot to take up his work, then went to the church, dying in prayer before the altar with a final gesture of blessing on his monks.

              He is believed to have been buried below the small, stone chapel shrine, which is attached to the front of the abbey. It was around this building, or an earlier version of it, that the cult of Columba developed.

              Columba's monastery became a centre of pilgrimage. At first, access was restricted to high status pilgrims: royal and ecclesiastical visitors, or those in serious trouble, who stayed at its guest house, but later more humble pilgrims would have been allowed access to the monastery.

              To read balance of story see       All pictures below taken by Evelyn Goulet

              The Nunnery

              MacLean's Cross sign and monument

              St. John's Cross (replica) original now in IONA museum building

              The Abbey and St. Martin's Cross (replica) original now in IONA museum building


              Vestiges of the street of the dead

              St. Martin's Cross (replica) what remains of original now in IONA museum building

              Elaborate carving

              Grave Slab (dozens are mounted on walls)


              Abbot Dominic's (1421-1465) effigy rests in the sacristy

              The face in hell on wall of sacristy

              Beautiful carving - part of grave slab

              Grave slabs

              Grave slabs

              Intricate carving

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              Last updated: 2011