Recently, me, Grace, and a couple of friends visited the island of Iona.
It was part of a ‘three island’ trip – travelling through the Isle of Mull (where the infamous Balamory was filmed), Staffa, and Iona.
Here’s a ship called dignity.
The island is known as a symbolic home of Christianity in the West, with a long history… stretching back to round about 536AD.
Iona is a beautifully peaceful place, and I wish we could have spent more time there. It feels like you could spend months without time really passing at all, and it’s no surprise that it’s been the source of inspiration for many artists.
The inhabitants of the island had to face the constant fear of invasion throughout a tumultuous history. On a number of occasions the Vikings landed, killing indiscriminately, and pillaging the valuables from the monastery that were kept there. In 806AD, 68 monks were massacred at what is now known as “Martyr’s Bay”.
The stories of the viking raids really resonated with some part of me. To isolate yourself from society in such a place, to dedicate yourself to spirituality in such a way, only to then spend every day wondering whether then would be when you would spot those terrible Viking ships on the horizon…
Today the Monastery is still used – home to the Iona Community. Not just your standard congregation, the group are well known for their commitment to peace and social justice. If you’ve ever read anything about protesters outside of the Faslane nuclear weapons base, then the Iona Community were probably involved.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live somewhere like Iona.