Saint Machar

St Machor was one of the disciples of St Columba, the famous apostle of the Northern Picts and founder of the celebrated monastery of Iona. According to the ‘Aberdeen Breviary,’ “sanctum virum gignit Hibernia, educavit illum Albania, cujus corpus in reverentia Turonensis tenet ecclesia.” He was the son of Syaconus or Fiachna, an Irish kingling, […]

Among the Ruins

We were now treading that illustrious Island, which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be impossible, if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish, if it were possible. […]

Sunken Stones by Strachur

Some ancient stone crosses are yet standing near this ancient pile [i.e. the ruins of Iona Abbey], with inscriptions no longer intelligible. Previous to the Reformation, there existed 860 of various sizes and beautiful workmanship. Many of which, were carried away to adorn the streets of distant towns and villages; and in Cowal, there is […]

“God thee bless, thou loved Iona.”

THE DEATH OF COLUMBA. Saxon stranger, thou did’st wisely, Sunder’d for a little space From that motley stream of people Drifting by this holy place; With the furnace and the funnel Through the long sea’s glancing arm, Let them hurry back to Oban, Where the tourist loves to swarm. Here, upon this hump of granite, […]

Isle of Dreams

I recall one whom I knew, a fisherman of the little green island: and I tell this story of Coll here, for it is to me more than the story of a dreaming islander. One night, lying upon the hillock that is called Cnoc-nan-Aingeal, because it is here that St. Colum was wont to hold […]

An Holy Hest

THE VOYAGE OF COLUMBA. I. “Son of Brendan, I have willed it; I will leave this land and go To a land of savage mountains, Where the Borean breezes blow; To a land of rainy torrents, And of barren, treeless isles, Where the winter frowns are lavish, And the summer scantly smiles; I will leave this land of […]

Seven Years Before the Day of Doom

Seachd bliadhna roimh ’n bhràth, Thig muir air Eirinn ré aon tràth, ’S thar Ile ghuirm ghlais, Ach snàmhaidh I Choluim Chléirich! Seven years before that awful day, When time shall be no more, A dreadful deluge shall o’ersweep Hibernia’s mossy shore. The green-clad Isla, too, shall sink; While, with the great and good, Columba’s happier isle […]

The Sacred Wreck

XXX. IONA. ON to Iona!—What can she afford To us save matter for a thoughtful sigh, Heaved over ruin with stability In urgent contrast? To diffuse the Word (Thy paramount, mighty Nature! and time’s Lord) Her temples rose, mid pagan gloom; but why, Even for a moment, has our verse deplored Their wrongs, since they fulfilled […]

Crosfigell

quia vobis donatum est pro Christo, non solum ut in eum credatis, sed ut etiam pro illo patiamini Phil. i. xxix. Another time that Columcille was in Iona, he gathered the monks to him in the place where he was, and he spake to them and said: “Today I am going,” saith he, “to the […]

Holy in the End

On a time that Columcille was in Iona, the Adversary set on a certain woman of his congregation to bestow on him passing great love, to see if it might come to pass through her that he should entice him to sin with her; for of himself could he not overcome or tempt him, or bring […]

Brecbannoch

BRECBANNOCH. Between the years 1204 and 1211, King William the Lion granted to the monks of Arbroath “custodiam de Brechbennoche,” and “cum predicta Brachbennoche terram de Forglint datam Deo et sancto Columbe et le Brachbennache,” on the tenure “faciendo inde servicium quod michi in exercitu debetur de terra ilia cum predicta Brachbennache.” This grant is recited in […]