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Jonn Bearcat Redmond
The Iona of the East


Of all the islands on the Firth of Forth, in Scotland, on which there remains ruins of the old churches,I  have heard is The Bass Rock,the May Island, Fidra, Inchkeith, and Inchcolm,the latter being the most interesting, it has splendid old ruins of an old abbey which stands on a camp area where followers of Columbus settled, This is probably where historians got the name Iona of the East, we all know that St Columbus spread the gospel all over Scotland, and originally from the sacred Isle of Iona in the west, havent been there myself but have been told that the best ruins are still to be seen there, and the best religious establishments in Scotland, most of what I have written here I read years ago in a book called, The Islands of the Forth, and what people have told me over the years, not being a religious man myself am interested in old Scotland, and the architecture etc,

The most precious building on Inchcolm is the Celtic cell which was lived in by an old hermit that was very much into St Columbus, The cell stands at the north west corner of the abbey garden, you may read all about it if you read into the origin of the abbey, They say that King Alexander 1st was crossing the Forth, sometime during the first half of the 12th century, he riegned according to history books from 1106--1124,,anyway he was caught in a big storm and had to land for safety at Inchcolm, he and his serfs and Lords, were cared for by the hermit, who lived in the cell on the island, and helped to feed the King and his friends on shellfish etc and drinking fresh milk from the cows on the island, King Alexander in year 1123 founded and blessed the abbey out of his gratitude for being saved, and taken care of, by the Columbian follower he even brought some religious Canons, from the Monastry at Scone, which the King had founded ten years before, so thats why the Hermets Cell was preserved by later monks, These little churches and Cells were all over Scotland, on desolate spots and on Islands, I was told by a travelling friend of mine the oldest ones are to be found on one of the Isles to the south of Oban place called the Isle of the Saints no doubt it ould have a gaelic name as most things on that side of Scotland has, there is no exact date when all this happened, its same with the Cell on Inchcolm no one knows the exact date, It only measures about 15ft long and 4ft wide, its style is like a little building in its a little window, it has a barrel roof, seems to be popular, to this type of place, The great thing is they are still there for all to see so the Cells must have always been well cared for by all monks, and Columbus followers, evn in later times farmers used them to keep their animals in them pigs and cattle, or just to keep tools and equipment in, The orginal Monastry thats there would have been added at a later date the church being the oldest part, there is a smaller church there called The Ladys Chapel, dedicated to the blessed virgin behind where the altar is,I think it deserves a visit if at anytime you decide to visit Scotland, and I would suggest a visit to the islands on the Firth of Forth, the architecture is far to complicated for me to describe as I am not skilled enough to enlighten you into an excitement that you just have to cast an eye on it, but as just a Scot who is proud of his country I just feel you should visit it, after all thats a long time ago when you think of stonework from the 11th century, There is much history and folklore to be learnt visiting the islands on the Firth of Forth, ,The Kingdom of Fife is only part of Scotland that is covered by water unless you drive west you cant leave the Kingdom without crossing our famous rivers the Forth at the southern end and the Tay at the northern end, and each bridge are one of a kind the railway bridge over the Forth is a Cantilever and was built over a hundred years ago, The Tay bridge in North Fife leads to Dundee is longest bridge in Europe, the original Tay bridge collasped during a storm in late Victorian days,all subjects worth reading about, suggest you seek more info ;

Recommended reading is The Islands of the Forth by John Dickson .F.S.A.

Emeralds Chased in Gold also by same author also suggest you read anything on the River Forth or Firth of Forth as we Scots call it and also The Firth of Tay ,,,and all you can find on St Columbus, and I also suggest that your visits to Scotland takes you to Inchcolm Island the Iona of the East, and also to the sacred island Iona on the west, there is a magical feeling on this Isle, and many graves of the old Scots Kings.

Alba Gu Brath


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