Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Maclean's Cross - erected around 1500 - the tiny 'St Ronan's Chapel' is in the background. This is built on the site of Teamull Ronain which is believed to date back to the days of Columbo though rebuilt around 1200 where it stood until the sixteenth century when it was destroyed in the Reformation.

This picture was taken as the small ferry drew up to the silver-sanded beach - hence the slightly odd angle.

The mystical island of Iona
(picture courtesy the Historic Scotland Official Souvenir Guide)
Last July, the day after the floods struck in the south of England, and not some without difficulty, I set off on the long journey to Oban in the West Highlands of Scotland. The highlight (and main reason) of the holiday was to go over to the small island of Iona. Getting to Iona from Oban involved a ferry trip to Mull, then a coach journey along a single track road to Fionnphort and another smaller ferry across to Iona.
Iona is reputed to be a place of pilgrimage for Christians, though I have to say here that this was not my reason for going. The name Iona comes 'eo' the old Irish word for yew tree and Iona was settled by iron-age people before Columba landed and established his monastery in AD 563. Dun Bhuirg is the 'hill of the fort', the only hill-fort on Iona. There is a strong connection between the early monks and the druids and it is thought that the druids became absorbed into early British Church to form the Culdees.
The Peace of Iona (the song which was the inspiration for my trip)
peace of the dancing, glancing waves
peace of the white sands
peace of Iona
peace of the singing wind
peace of the stones
peace of Iona
peace of the crying gulls
peace of the humming bees
peace of the noontime stillness
peace of the dreaming hills
peace of the breath of angels
peace of Iona
by Mike Scott and The Waterboys from the cd Universal Hall (first two verses)