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TITLE
Iona Abbey and St Oran's Chapel, prior to restoration
EXTERNAL ID
PC_PRISCUS_SCO5301
PLACENAME
Iona
DISTRICT
Mull
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ARGYLL: Kilfinchen and Kilvickeon
PERIOD
1890s
CREATOR
George Washington Wilson
SOURCE
Mark Butterworth - Priscus
ASSET ID
29583
KEYWORDS
George Washington Wilson
abbeys
chapels
Oran
burial grounds
Ross
Ardmeanach
Colum Cille
Columba
monasteries
Vikings
Martyrs
Kells
Reginald
Somerled
Lord of the Isles
Street of the Dead
John Smith
Iona Abbey and St Oran's Chapel, prior to restoration

This photograph shows Iona. It was taken by George Washington Wilson (1823 - 1893) an Aberdeen-based photographer who travelled extensively in Scotland, and abroad, taking landscape photographs with the aid of a portable darkroom. He photographed Queen Victoria and was commissioned by her to record the construction of Balmoral.

In the centre of the photograph is Iona Abbey and in the foreground is St Oran's Chapel, surrounded by the burial ground, Reilig Odhran.

Beyond, across the narrow Sound of Iona, are the small rocky islands of Eilean nam Ban and Eilean Dubh na Ciste and the coast of the Ross of Mull. Behind is Mull's Ardmeanach peninsula and rising in the distance, the prominent peak of Ben More, the only island Munro, a mountain over 3,000 feet, outside Skye.

The Irish Monk, Colum Cille or Columba founded a monastery on Iona in 563 AD. The monastery was raided several times by the Vikings. In one raid sixty-eight monks were killed at the Bay of Martyrs. The Book of Kells, the magnificent illustrated manuscript of the four Gospels, was probably written here but taken to Ireland to save it from the marauding Vikings. In 1203 Reginald, Lord of the Isles, son of Somerled, replaced the timber monastery with a stone built abbey. It was largely rebuilt in the 1500s but fell into disrepair after the reformation.

This photograph was taken not long before restoration work began in 1902 and which went on until 1965.

Responsibility for the buildings now lies with Historic Scotland but a continuous Christian presence is maintained by the Iona Community.

An ancient Gaelic prophecy foretells that seven years before the Day of Judgement Ireland and the island of Islay will be covered by the ocean but that Iona will swim above the waves.

Since Columba's time this beautiful, sacred island has been a place of pilgrimage for both the living and the dead. Forty-eight kings of Scotland, four Irish Princes, eight Norwegian kings, a king of France and many great Highland chiefs have been carried along the Street of the Dead to their final resting place in Reilig Odhran. In 1994 the popular Scottish politician and leader of the Labour party John Smith was buried on Iona

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Iona Abbey and St Oran's Chapel, prior to restoration

ARGYLL: Kilfinchen and Kilvickeon

1890s

George Washington Wilson; abbeys; chapels; Oran; burial grounds; Ross; Ardmeanach; Colum Cille; Columba; monasteries; Vikings; Martyrs; Kells; Reginald; Somerled; Lord of the Isles; Street of the Dead; John Smith

Mark Butterworth - Priscus

Imaging the Past

This photograph shows Iona. It was taken by George Washington Wilson (1823 - 1893) an Aberdeen-based photographer who travelled extensively in Scotland, and abroad, taking landscape photographs with the aid of a portable darkroom. He photographed Queen Victoria and was commissioned by her to record the construction of Balmoral.<br /> <br /> In the centre of the photograph is Iona Abbey and in the foreground is St Oran's Chapel, surrounded by the burial ground, Reilig Odhran. <br /> <br /> Beyond, across the narrow Sound of Iona, are the small rocky islands of Eilean nam Ban and Eilean Dubh na Ciste and the coast of the Ross of Mull. Behind is Mull's Ardmeanach peninsula and rising in the distance, the prominent peak of Ben More, the only island Munro, a mountain over 3,000 feet, outside Skye.<br /> <br /> The Irish Monk, Colum Cille or Columba founded a monastery on Iona in 563 AD. The monastery was raided several times by the Vikings. In one raid sixty-eight monks were killed at the Bay of Martyrs. The Book of Kells, the magnificent illustrated manuscript of the four Gospels, was probably written here but taken to Ireland to save it from the marauding Vikings. In 1203 Reginald, Lord of the Isles, son of Somerled, replaced the timber monastery with a stone built abbey. It was largely rebuilt in the 1500s but fell into disrepair after the reformation.<br /> <br /> This photograph was taken not long before restoration work began in 1902 and which went on until 1965. <br /> <br /> Responsibility for the buildings now lies with Historic Scotland but a continuous Christian presence is maintained by the Iona Community. <br /> <br /> An ancient Gaelic prophecy foretells that seven years before the Day of Judgement Ireland and the island of Islay will be covered by the ocean but that Iona will swim above the waves.<br /> <br /> Since Columba's time this beautiful, sacred island has been a place of pilgrimage for both the living and the dead. Forty-eight kings of Scotland, four Irish Princes, eight Norwegian kings, a king of France and many great Highland chiefs have been carried along the Street of the Dead to their final resting place in Reilig Odhran. In 1994 the popular Scottish politician and leader of the Labour party John Smith was buried on Iona