From Ireland to Kintyre, through Argyll to Iona. Then follow the Great Glen to Tain and Portmahomack, or island-hop to the Atlantic fringe. Columba’s epic journeys by sea and land form the cultural and sacred geography of Scotland. Dramatic scenery unveils a story of exile, penitence and peace. Key sites on this route can also be explored in Scottish Gaelic and Irish here.
The range of these journeys is enormous from Donegal through Kintyre and Argyll, to Iona, and then through the Great Glen to Inverness and on to Tain and Portmahomack. The Argyll side of the journey also contains many island hopping options in the Inner Hebrides.
Though the reasons remain unclear, Columba took the path of exile in 563, arriving eventually at Iona, where he founded his main religious community in Scotland. From there he and his followers radiated out across the Highlands and the Islands leaving few places untouched by his influence. Though many other missionary Saints from Ireland were involved in this movement, such as Moluag, Maelrubha, Cainnech, and Donnan, it is Columba’s story that has become identified more than any other with the marriage between Celtic culture and early Christianity, and between Scotland and Ireland.