Tuesday, 13th June, 2023

It was an early start today - we had to be ready to leave our accommodation at 6:30am in order to catch the ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. We didn't have time for breakfast so we were delighted to find that a full cooked breakfast was available on the ferry!

Although the water was very calm, I did feel a little seasick on this crossing.

We then drove a little over an hour to reach Fionnphort. The ferry to Iona departs from this town. This was a much smaller ferry and the crossing only took about 10 minutes.

The lovely blue water at Fionnphort.

Iona Abbey viewed from the ferry

The water is so clear!

Iona is a small isalnd 3 miles in length and 1.5 miles wide. There is a ruined medieval nunnery and a restored Abbey to see.

The Cloister

The view from the east end of the church

A small section of vaulted ceiling remains.

A Jackdaw

It was very warm, sunny and peaceful!

St Oran's Chapel

The remains of a tomb in St Oran's Chapel

Detail of above

A grave slab insde the chapel

The Abbey Church, viewed from the west.

St Columba

The 8th Duke of Argyll gave the abbey and its lands to a trust and it was restored during the late19th and into 20th century.

The Quire

The sanctuary

The Lectern

The Altar (made of marble from a quarry on Iona)

Not many churches have plants growing on their internal walls!

Looking west from the sanctuary

The Cloister with The Abbey Church in the background. In 1938, a community was founded at the Abbey. The Iona Community restored many of the other buildings of the abbey. Retreats are still run there to this day

This small building was the shrine of St Columba. Because of raids by Vikings, his remains were moved in 849 to various places in Scotland and Ireland. There is a small reliquary inide the chapel which contains, it is claimed, some relics of the saint.

This concrete replica cross was created in 1970 - a labour of love to return St John's Cross to its position outside St Columba's shrine.
The original cross was artistically sensational and technically ambitious. But it was structurally flawed, collapsing repeatedly. It is now in the Abbey Museum.

The Stone of Echodi is the oldest carved stone to survive on Iona, probably carved within a generation of Columba's death in 597.

Grave slab c. 1500s
Strapping on his sword, this warrior prepares for battle. However, the sword may only be a symbol.
In reality, he probably fought using an axe or a spear.

Iona Parish Church (Church of Scotand) was built in 1828. The nearby manse, built at the same time, is now a café and heritage centre.

We enjoyed lunch at the café.

In the heritage centre was this photo showing the abbey church beofre it was restored.

After our return on the ferry to the Isle of Mull, we passed by this little church. It is St Ernan's Church in Creich (Church of Scotland)

Note the thickness of the walls

The pulpit...

...has a mechanism by which the book stand can be raised or lowered according to the preference of the preacher!

Next we visited this ruined church at Kilvickeon. It was abandoned in 1795 when a new church was built at nearby Bunessan.

The congregation is made up of a different kind of "flock" these days.

It was good to see that the graveyard and church are being looked after. The grass had just been mown.

This grave slab, protected by a wooden box, is still inside the church building. The notice reads, in part, "The Mariota Stone is one of the oldest of a number of. impressive table tombs and headstones in the churchyard, The name appears on the inscription which reads: Here lies Mariota; daughter of... The Mariota Stone dates, to around 1500-1560 AD. It is beautifully carved from West Highland slate, naturally studded by flecks of iron pyrite, with parallel plant-scrolls, topped with animals and a memorial panel inscribed with the name of the person it was intended to commemorate. It is a particularly fine example of the school of West Highland Late Medieval. Sculpture providing an evocative and visual picture.of life, faith and belief in the medieval Highlands and Islands,"

It was very warm in the sun but we didn't realise just how warm until we got back in the car! Of course the actual air temperature outside was a lot less than this but we certainly didn't expect Scotland to be actually hot!

Dinner at the Keel Row pub was rather good!

We were glad that we don't live in this particular town!

A permanent resident of our accommodation at Bunessan.

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