Today, 9 June, is the feast of St Columba (Colm Cille). He was born in Gartan, in County Donegal, and was of royal lineage. He studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnian of Clonard. He founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow, and possibly Kells, before leaving Ireland as a missionary, “an exile for Christ.”
His greatest foundation was Iona, from where he converted much of western Scotland, and his followers took the Gospel as far as northern England. He died at Iona in 597. He was renowned as a poet and scribe as well as a spiritual guide.
In Gaelic literature he appears as Ireland’s most popular saint, noted for his great personal love of all creatures, both human and animal.
This stained glass image of St Columba is in St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh