iona

From Coast to Coast

Route length: 36 miles

A church or sacred site

Destination hub

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Columba

Built between 1930 and 1953 this impressive granite church was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. It  replaced a  corrugated-iron pro-cathedral of 1886, paid for by the Third Marquess of Bute, a convert to Roman Catholicism.


This site is featured in Scotland’s Churches Trust guide book Argyll & The Clyde, reference number 46.

You can see more details on the SCT website.

Kilmore Parish Church, Dervaig, Mull

St Columba's Episcopal, Gruline, Mull

Torosay & Kinlochspelve Parish Church, Craignure

The Scottish Episcopal Church of St Kilda, Lochbuie

Former Kinlochspelve Parish Church

Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon Parish Church, Bunessan

Iona Parish Church

The Michael Chapel

The Nunnery

Iona Abbey

By Road
Return by ferry to your car at Fionnphort and follow the A849 back to Craignure. From here take the ferry to Oban.

By Cycle
Cyclists have no alternative but to use the A849, but take the smaller road into Bunessan.

By Foot
Whilst on Iona, enjoy a walk to both northern and southern points of the island.

By Public Transport
To check times go to http://www.travelinescotland.com/welcome.do    0871 200 22 33 and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.
When checking train times only you can use www.scotrail.co.uk or National Rail Enquiries        08457 48 49 50
For ferries from Iona to Fionnphort and Craignure to Oban check http://www.calmac.co.uk         0800 066 5000
For a taxi on Iona contact Iona Taxi    http://www.ionataxi.co.uk/     07810 325 990.
The bus between Fionnphort and Craignure (Bowmans Coaches (Mull)) stops at Pennyghael, Strathcoil & Lochdonhead.

Public transport information can be found on the Traveline website.

Iona is Columba's Isle though it was a sacred place before he arrived. The restored Benedictine Abbey should be experienced as part of the whole island with its many places of peace and beauty, including the ruined nunnery and the ancient burial ground of Scotland's kings at St. Oran's Chapel. Martyr’s Bay, where Viking raiders slaughtered the later monks, and Columba’s Bay which was the Saint’s own landfall, are also evocative of the island’s special atmosphere and story.

The people of Iona have their own community identity which can be visited at the parish church and nearby heritage centre. But the presence of Columba, even after more than fourteen hundred years, continues to imbue every aspect of the island. This was prophesied by Columba himself in the last few days of his life in 597, as recorded by Adomnan:

This place however small and lowly, will have bestowed on it no small but great honour by the kings and peoples, and also by the rulers of even barbarous and foreign nations with their subject tribes. And the Saints of other churches too will give it great reverence.

The restoration first of the Abbey Church, and then, through the leadership of the twentieth century Iona Community the Abbey buildings, is one of Scottish Christianity’s resurrection stories that continues to resonate internationally. Again though Gaelic tradition, of which Columba himself was such a notable champion, foresaw this development

Iona of my heart, Iona of my love,
Instead of monks’ voices will be the lowing of cattle;
But ere the world will come to an end
Iona shall be as it was.

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