07/12/2017
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On this day in history - Saint Columba, founder of the monastery at Iona was born

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On 7 December 521AD Saint Columba, founder of the monastery of Iona, was born in Donegal, Ireland. Columba left Ireland in 563AD, reaching the Kintyre peninsula with twelve companions. He moved further north and reached the island of Iona, where he established a monastery.

According to tradition, Iona was the first place in Scotland from which Columba was unable to see his homeland, and so he choose this as the site for Iona Monastery. From here, Columba worked both as a politician and a missionary, visiting King Bridei in Inverness and writing hymns and books for the monastery.

Colomba died at Iona in 597AD and was buried at the monastery. His remains were removed during a Viking raid two centuries later and divided between Scottish and Irish religious sites including Downpatrick in County Down.

The life of St Colomba is told by Adomnan, the ninth abbot of Iona, who wrote Vita Columbae, the main source of information for the saint's life.

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