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Baile Mor, Iona, Scotland, UK

Despite its size, spanning only three miles long and one mile wide, Isle of Iona's influence on Christianity in Scotland, England, and mainland Europe is monumental. Its historical significance was cemented in 563 AD with the arrival of St. Columba and his 12 followers. On the island's pristine sandy beaches, they built the first Celtic church and established a monastic community, initiating the conversion of much of pagan Scotland and northern England to Christianity.

Iona's reputation as a missionary hub and esteemed learning center spread throughout Europe, transforming it into a pilgrimage site for centuries. It's a sacred isle where kings of Scotland, Ireland, and Norway were laid to rest. Over the years, the monks of Iona crafted countless intricate carvings, manuscripts, and Celtic crosses, including their masterpiece, the Book of Kells, on display in Trinity College, Dublin.

Visit to Iona Abbey:
Over a century ago, the Abbey and monastic buildings were restored, and in 1938, The Iona Community was founded to continue the tradition of worship and teaching. Explore the Abbey at your own pace, taking in the cloisters, the graveyard (the final resting place of numerous early Scottish, Irish, and French kings), and an impressive collection of over 180 medieval carved stones and crosses.