Iona Abbey is situated on the Isle of Iona,
about 1 mile off the west coast of the Isle of
Mull. Iona is popular for the Abbey, Walking,
Small White Beaches, Island Heritage Centre,
and Boat Tours to the smaller Isle of Staffa
with Fingals Cave.
Click on Map for area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
The image top is of the Ferry at Fionnphort on
the southwest of the Isle of Mull. This is a
short crossing of about one mile with the Ferry
running about every 30 minutes.
run between Fionnphort and Graignure on
the east coast of Mull, 35 miles apart. Regular
Ferries run between Craignure and Oban on the
Scottish Mainland. The Buses normally run to
suit the Ferries. You can also book Ferry/Coach
Tours through the website: westcoasttours.co.uk
The Boat next to the Ferry is for Trips to
the Isle of Staffa for Fingals Cave, another
top attraction in Scotland. Two companies are
The Ferries dock at Baile Mor Village on
Iona with about a one mile walk from the Ferry
Slip to Iona Abbey. You get great views of the
Abbey from the Ferry.
Iona Abbey is one of the most historic
places, and in one of the most picturesque
places in Scotland. It is open to the public
most of the year with an entrance fee. Abbey
Large Stone Crosses and St Columba's Shrine
are at the entrance to the Abbey.
The main Church is next to St Columba's
Shrine, and Cloister next to the Church.
Around the Cloister are a number of early
By the Cloister are a large Gift Shop and
The Museum is in the Abbey Grounds,
containing large Stone Crosses, Grave Slabs,
and information on the Abbey from the 600s -
St Orans Chapel is next to the Abbey with a
Graveyard, thought to be where many early
Scottish Kings and Noblemen were buried. John
Smith the Scottish Politician is also buried at
The Low Door Shop is next to the Abbey with
a selection of Gifts.
Hotel is also next to the Abbey with great
Crafts is situated between Iona Abbey and
Baile Mor Village.
Centre is also between the Abbey and
Village, giving information on the Island and
Next to the Heritage Centre is Iona Parish
Church built in 1828. In front of the Church is
MacLean's Cross, thought to have been erected
in the 1400s.
Iona Nunnery is also between the Abbey and
Village, built in the 1200s.
Baile Mor Village has Shops, Visitor Centre,
Bar Diner, two small
white Beaches, and is the starting point for
walks around the Island. North Walk .
Iona Abbey History
400s - Scotland was divided into a number of
Kingdoms, with the Isle of Iona said to have
been in the Kingdom of Dal Riata, founded by
Fergus the Great. It is unclear what religious
beliefs people at that time had.
563 - the Irish Abbot Columba, traveled to
the Isle of Iona where he set up the first
Christian Church in Scotland.
700s & 800s - large stone Crosses were
built at Iona Abbey, some are in the grounds,
and others now in the Museum.
800s - Vikings began taking control of the
Scottish Western Isles. They carried out a
number of raids on the Isle of Iona, burning
down the original wooden Columba Monastery.
818 - a stone Monastery was built to replace
the original Columba wooden building.
825 & 849 - further Viking raids damaged
the Monastery and led to the Monks fleeing to
the Mainland with Relics and Valuables. Some of
the Relics were taken to Dunkeld
Cathedral in Perth.
Even after the Viking attacks, the Church at
Iona continued to attracted many visitors from
all over Scotland, including Kings and
Noblemen. It is claimed many of the early Kings
in Scotland, and Noblemen, were buried at Iona
Abbey, up to the 1000s. There are a vast number
of Grave Slabs at Iona Abbey, with inscriptions
showing they are for wealthy individuals, and
many of Knights with armour and weapons.
Other Christian Churches were later built on
the mainland such as Dunkeld from 500s after Columba
visited Dunkeld, St
Andrews from 747, and Dunfermline Abbey from 1070s.
1070s - King Malcom III
and his wife Margaret, later Saint Margaret,
had the earliest parts of Dunfermline Abbey
built. This was the family that eventually
gained control of all Scotland, under one King.
Margaret had some work carried out to restore
1100s - Somerled, part
Viking, became King of the Isles, building St
Oran’s Chapel next to Iona Abbey to serve as
his family burial place. The Augustinian
Nunnery was established around that time. The
MacDonald Lords of the Isles were descendants
1164 - Somerled was was killed in battle on
the Scottish mainland by a descendant of Malcom
1200 - Reginald MacDonald, son of Somerled,
built a large Benedictine Monastery on the site
of the original St Columba Monastery.
1263 - forces of King Alexander III defeated
the Vikings at the Battle of
Largs, leading to the Vikings being forced
out of the Western Isles.
The MacDonald's, descendants of Vikings,
were then given the title Lord of the Isles, so
they could run the Islands for the Scottish
1314 - Angus Og MacDonald fought bravely
alongside Robert the Bruce at the Battle of
Bannockburn, leading the MacDonald's being held
in high regard by Scottish Kings.
1400s - Iona Abbey was extended to give more
space for the vast number of pilgrims visiting
1493 - the MacDonald's sided with the
English to try and overthrow the Scottish King
James IV. The Scottish King found out about the
MacDonald plan, leading to him taking their
title, Lord of the Isles, from them.
The Kings then ruled the Western Isles with
their own forces.
1549 - a survey claimed 48 Dal Riata Kings
were buried at Iona Abbey, as well as 8
Norwegian, and 4 Irish Kings.
1560 - the Reformation led to Iona Abbey
being abandoned as Catholic worship was then
outlawed. Over 300 stone crosses are believed
to have been taken from the site around that
1828 - the Church and Manse were built on
the outskirts of Baile Mor Village for
1874 - the 8th Duke of Argyll had work
carried out to preserve the Abbey ruins.
1899 - ownership of the Abbey, Nunnery, and
St Oran's Chapel were transferred to the Iona
1902 - restoration of the Abbey began
1965 - the Iona Abbey seen today was
completed including a Cafe, Museum, and Gift
1990 - the Manse was converted to serve as
the Iona Heritage Centre.
Today - Prince Charles is known as the Lord
of the Isles.