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Saint Columba

S Columba - Colm Cille - Scotland

St Columba (Colm Cille) was born about 521AD in north-west Donegal.

The name Columba (Latin) or Colm Cille (Gaelic) means a dove.

He is credited with bringing Christianity to Scotland.

About 563AD St Columba and a dozen companions came to Kintyre in Argyll.

It was easy to get to Iona from the mainland of Ireland by boat.

They settled in Iona, which was at that time part of Dalriada, the kingdom of Ulster.


He established Iona Abbey

Iona Abbey became an important centre for religion, learning and art.

Iona is a holy isle and has been described as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland.

Once settled on the island, St Columba set about turning most of the pagan population in Scotland and northern England to the Christian faith.


It is said that at one time, some of St Columba’s bones, or something belonging to him, were in the Monymusk reliquary which is from around 750AD.

His craftsmanship and creativity can be seen in the Book of Kells and in the Lindisfarne Gospels.


St Columba is remembered as a writer, a poet and a scribe.

St Columba died in Iona in the year 597AD and he was buried by his priests in the abbey which he himself had founded.

Island of Iona
Island of Iona
Glencolmcille, Donegal
Glencolmcille, Donegal