Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland. It is mainly known for Iona Abbey, though there are other buildings on the island. Iona Abbey was a centre of Gaelic monasticism for three centuries and is today known for its relative tranquility and natural environment. It is a tourist destination and a place for spiritual retreats. Its modern Scottish Gaelic name means "Iona of (Saint) Columba" (formerly anglicised "Icolmkill").
In 2019, the estimated population was 120. Farming was being done using traditional methods. Occupations include crofting and tourism related work; some craftsmen make goods for sale locally, such as pottery, tapestries, jewellery and knitted goods. Since March 1980, much of island main island (and the off-lying islands) have been owned by the National Trust for Scotland after the land was donated by the Hugh Fraser Foundation. The Abbey and some church buildings are owned by the Iona Cathedral Trust.
The island is known as the birthplace of Celtic Christianity in Scotland. St Columba came here to establish the Abbey which still stands.
He landed at Iona, Scotland aged 44, on the eve of Pentecost, 12th May in the year 563 with his twelve companions. He and his brethren proceeded at once to erect their humble dwellings, including a Church.
St Columba wrote 300 books, two of which, "The Book of Durrow" and the Psalter called "The Cathach", have been preserved to the present time. His preaching included many miracles and he provided for the instruction of his converts by the erection of numerous churches and monasteries. His books and garments were held in veneration at Iona, they were exposed and carried in procession, and were the means of working miracles. St Columba passed away on 9th June 597 aged 75 years.
ST COLUMBA'S FINAL RESTING PLACE IN IONA ABBEY
Over the years the Knights of St Columba have held several Pilgrimages there. The last main one was the 7th-11th June 2019 when one hundred people attended the centenary Mass in the Iona Abbey.