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Hebrides

Explore the natural wonders of Iona

Iona is a small island which forms part of the Inner Hebrides archipelago in Scotland. Its Gaelic name is I Chaluim Cille which is roughly translated as Saint Columba’s Island and it was on this tiny island that the Irish priest and prince who later came to be revered as Saint Columba established his monastery. The monastery became his center of Christianity and over time Iona has come to be considered a holy island where many kings have chosen to be buried. Notable individuals buried here include the characters of Shakespeare's Macbeth – King Malcolm, King Duncan and King Macbeth.

Though the island is small, it has managed to keep up with much of the progress of surrounding islands. The small population of monks, pilgrims, artists, craftsmen, farmers and fishermen became proficient in their trades and came to be known for their skills in working metal, glass, wood and leather. Stone Age remnants tell the tale of a thriving Iron Age community early in the first millennium and the artistic heritage of the people was clearly passed on and better developed from one generation to the next. These past generations have left behind a strong legacy of Gaelic names and etched landscapes which fuel the imagination of the thousands of people who visit the island each year.

The current small population of Iona has in many ways followed the traditions of those who once populated the island many years before them. Visitors will find an abundance of craftsmen skilled in their various trades. You will be able to find galleries of paintings, pottery, tapestries, intricate silver jewelry, knitwear and a number of other hand-crafted goods available for purchase. This variety of creative talents is most interesting to see and most of the artisans welcome visitors.

Alternatively you could organize a bicycle ride through the quiet roads of Iona, go sightseeing or enjoy a leisurely boat ride. Most visitors enjoy visiting the Iona Abbey and Nunnery which boasts 13th century ruins and a colorful garden. The Bay and the Back of the Ocean and the Hill with its Back to Ireland are also popular sights. Boat rides give visitors the opportunity to see a variety of the local wildlife while bicycle rides are the perfect way to enjoy the peace and quite of the countryside and beaches of the Isle of Iona. If you are planning to visit the Inner Hebrides, make sure you spend at least a little time exploring this picturesque Hebridean island.