Iona is an island which is rich in heritage. Its importance in the history of Christianity in Scotland is well known, but there is also much more to the island's story. Before the arrival of Coumba people were already living on this island: we can imagine them tending the land, rearing animals, raising families and using their skills and ingenuity to survive. This pattern of island-living has continued through the centuries.
Iona also has a rich cultural heritage: from illuminated manuscripts and intricately carved stone crosses to the paintings of the Colourists and silverwork of Alex Ritchie, there has always been a creative thread to life on Iona. To this day, the island is a source of inspiration to many.
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It begins with Columba. A prince from an Irish noble family, in his youth Columba became a priest and a missionary monk, founding a number of monastic houses in Ireland before a tribal feud forced him into exile.