Despite his name meaning ‘dove’, Columba was banished from Ireland in 563, aged forty two, for leading battles against greedy Irish monasteries. With twelve supporters he sailed in a curragh to Iona, the island lying a kilometre south-west of the end of Mull.
He crowned his fellow Irishman Aidan King of Dalriada, and in return Aidan granted Iona to Columba.
He established a monastery from which his style of worship, disciplined while kindly, spread successfully out across the mainland. The strict regime of prayer, religious study and self-denial he practised became the Celtic way for future monks.
In 597 Columba died on his island, where the religious community still support his Celtic spiritual values today.