Welcome to Iona
For the Gaels, Iona is I Chaluim Chille - the isle of Colm Cille, an Irish priest and prince who was to become revered as Saint Columba. A tiny island, of typically Hebridean beauty, it holds a unique place in the story of Scotland and kindles the imagination of thousands who journey there each year. Yet it is also where people have lived, worked and worshipped over many centuries. To and from its shores have come monks and pilgrims, clan chiefs and kings, artists and craftsmen, farmers and fishermen.
Of the earliest, we catch only fleeting glimpses now: a few Stone Age flints and tools, unearthed by the plough; a grassy cairn where some Bronze Age mourners laid their dead; fragments of pots, beads and bones which speak of a thriving Iron Age community early in the first millenium.
Later, members of the Columban settlement became skilled in the working of metal, glass, wood and leather. Succeeding generations bequeathed a rich artistic legacy in their intricately carved stones and crosses, fine prayers and poems, and exquisite illuminated manuscripts. The life of the crofting population down the ages is etched into rigs on the landscape, immortalised in Gaelic placenames and remembered in local lore.
Today's island community follows in the tradition of all those who have gone before them - helping shape Iona's story in new ways, fostering a variety of creative talents and continuing to welcome visitors from across the globe".
E. Mairi MacArthur