Saturday, August 13, 2011

Walkabout - Isle of Iona, 2009

Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland. It was a centre of Irish monasticism for four centuries in the Middle Ages, and is today renowned for its tranquility and natural beauty.

The central focus of the island is the former Benedictine Abbey, which was founded in 1203, and which since 1938 has housed the ecumenical Iona Community. I visited the island in May, 2009, while I was vacationing in Mull for several days. It was a wonderful day full of history, mystery and reflection.

The road leading to Fionnphort, and the
ferry to the Isle of Iona.

The ferry from the Isle of Iona arrives in Fionnphort.

Yours truly on the ferry to the Isle of Iona, with the
Iona Abbey in the background.

The main settlement of Baile Mòr on Iona.

"Downtown" Baile Mòr

Yours truly at the ruins of the old Benedictine
convent, built in 1208.

The parish church.

The Iona post office.

The Iona Abbey.

Inside the Abbey - the medieval church.

The cloisters.

Inside the Abbey.

Another view of the cloisters.

One of the many ancient monuments in the Abbey.

Praying in the Michael chapel.

Inside the Abbey. 

Croses in Reilig Odhráin, the little cemetery beside Sràid
nam Marbh, ‘the street of the dead’, where many
ancient Scottish kings were supposedly buried.

Reilig Odhráin, with St. Oran's chapel, which
was built in the 12th century.

Fallen Christ, a sculpture by Ronald Rae.

Some of the island's permanent residents.

Yours truly with St. Martin's Cross,
which was erected in the 8th century.

The Isle of Iona is one of those wondrous places of peace, and solitude, and timeless beauty, that I definitely intend to visit again.

Paul Kimball


Dia Sobin said...

"Seachd bliadhna 'n blr'ath
Thig muir air Eirinn re aon tr'ath
'S thar Ile ghuirm ghlais
Ach sn'amhaidh I Choluim Chl'eirich

The prophecy above tells that seven years before the day of judgement the ocean will sweep over both Ireland and Islay.  Yet the Isle of St Columba (Iona) will swim above the waves."

(A link I kept via an internet search I did the morning after I had a weird dream about Iona... although I've never been there.)

Thanks for the lovely photos, Paul.

Paul Kimball said...

Happy to share, Dia... glad you enjoyed them! :-)