Isle of Iona Journals

Graves of the Kings

A May 1997 trip to Isle of Iona by Colleen

Abbey Photo, Isle of Iona, Scotland More Photos
Quote: Iona, a small island known for its abbey and graves of the kings.

Graves of the Kings

Overview

Iona Photo, Isle of Iona, Scotland
Quote:
Green hills, dotted with sheep and ancient crosses, all surrounded by crystal blue waters. This is Iona, a beautiful, peaceful island full of ancient history. It has been the place of pilgrimages and is also known to have spiritual powers. The island itself is only 1 mile by 3 ½ miles. But the experience you will have visiting this special place is bigger than life.

Quick Tips:

Be sure to exchange any money before coming to the island. You can exchange at the general store/post office in Fionnphort on Mull.

Best Way To Get Around:

Walking or horse-drawn-carriage is the only way to get around the island, so be sure to bring good walking shoes

Abbey of Iona

Story/Tip

Abbey Photo, Isle of Iona, Scotland
Quote:
The abbey dates back to the 13th century. It is a peaceful, sacred place that offers visitors a look at ancient relics and tombs of abbots of the past. The Iona Community keeps the abbey active with workshops on Christianity, youth camps, tour and hikes to the holy places on the island. You can even stay in the abbey during the summer months. Full board, seminars and a communal lifestyle are offered for $250. per person for a weekly stay (shaving your head is optional).

Who's Buried Here?

Story/Tip

Quote:
There are 48 Scottish kings, 8 Norweigian kings and 4 Irish kings buried on Iona. The list includes the famous Macbeth and his enemy, Duncan. At one time 360 carved crosses adorned the island. Unfortunately, time, harsh weather conditions and vandalism has reduced this number to only three.
Quote:
Since the island is very remote, there are very few choices. In the town there are a handful of hotels that offer room and board. There you can get a good homemade Scottish breakfasts and seafood dishes. Another option is to stay and dine in one the private homes that offer accommodations. The abbey runs a coffee shop that serves fresh baked pastries, cheese and bread.
Quote:
The best way to spend the day at Iona is to see the sites, grab a bite to eat at the abbey coffee shop and then head up the mountain. It only is about a 1-2 hour easy hike. At the top of the mountain you get an incredible view the Isle of Mull and the ocean. Take it all in and become enchanted.
Quote:
Getting to Iona is somewhat of a journey. From Oban you can take a car ferry to the island of Mull (one small car cost approx. $90. for a roundtrip). The trip takes about 1 hour and arrives in Craignure. From Craignure take the one-track* road to Fionnphort (approx. 2 hours). At Fionnphort you can leave your car and take the passenger ferry to Iona (approx. a 20 minute ferry ride). The ferry from Fionnphort to Iona runs about every 30 minutes. Weather conditions may affect this schedule. *Note: While traveling on the one-track road be sure to pull over to the allocated spots on the side of the road when another car is approaching. Beware, the tour buses are ruthless!