The little Island of Iona, referred to as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland, will always be remembered for the arrival of St Columba and his twelve followers in 563AD, and for the Monastery they founded there. Today, the 13th century Iona Abbey, built on the site of St Columba’s church, dominates the Island’s landscape.
Iona is only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and, with only essential vehicles permitted, must be the most peaceful place we take our Guests each year. During the day it can get a little bit busy with day-trippers but, by the time they’ve all left on the last ferry late afternoon, those with time to stay a night or two on Iona, will experience that feeling of stepping back in time. If you left your understanding of ‘peace and quiet’ behind somewhere, this is the place to refresh your memory.
See more photographs of the St Columba Hotel by clicking here – Gallery
There are two hotels on Iona. The St Columba Hotel has the advantage of being close to the Abbey and, being that bit up from the shoreline, it has wide views over the Sound of Iona to the Isle of Mull.
The Argyll Hotel is more traditional in design and has the advantage of being on the sea-front close to the ferry and the starting point for boat trips. Like the St Columba, it has a great restaurant service and excellent sea views.
See more photographs of the Argyll Hotel by clicking here – Gallery
Our visitors have different reasons for including Iona in their vacation. Religious history is obviously of huge interest; the photographs below show Mark & Sandi Henderson of the Clan Henderson Society from the USA conducting a hand-fasting ceremony, and Beth Ann, Mike & family following a renewal of wedding vows.
Those with some spare time during their visit to Iona, might take a boat ride to the even smaller Isle of Staffa where Fingal’s Cave was the inspiration for the music of that name by Mendelssohn. Our photographs below show Mary Cobb and Raina ashore on Staffa with one of the Island’s best known residents keeping an eye on them.
There are other boat trips available, some concentrating on the wealth of sea life in the area, great hiking over and around the Island and, if you feel the need, you can even play a round of golf but please, don’t expect the manicured championship courses available in other parts of Scotland.
Be warned, very few visit Iona only once. It’s not unusual to hear plans being formulated for the next visit on the ferry as it pulls away from the pier. Iona is addictive.