St Oran’s Chapel on the Island of Iona, Scotland

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Before you reach Iona’s famous abbey you come to a smaller building, St Oran’s Chapel, which is older than the abbey.  I must admit on our first visit, we went straight to the abbey, because when you are on the ferry, you watch the abbey come closer and closer, so all your thoughts are, I must get to the abbey (before anyone else).  On our second visit a year later 2013, we explored the rest of the buildings and really only spent a short time in the Abbey.  Its a strange Island because time seems to wiz by, no sooner have you arrived, than its time to go…..  Maybe on our next visit we will spend a few days and really get to know this beautiful Island, that seems to fill everyone with such peace and goodwill.  But back to this intriguing little chapel, which dates back to the years after 1150.


St Oran’s Chapel stood derelict for centuries until it was restored at the same time as the abbey, in the first part of the 1900’s.   When you enter through the Norman doorway, you will find a very simple interior, expect for an elaborate tomb-recess built in the south wall of the chapel in the 1400’s.  Along the north wall there stands a row of tomb slabs, that have been brought into the chapel to preserve them from the elements.  I’m so glad we explored this little chapel the second time around, but you have to have the patience of a saint to take your photos and be quick about it.

From our visit 2013




10 Replies to “St Oran’s Chapel on the Island of Iona, Scotland”

  1. Love this island and I have been several times for silent retreats. Sat in St Oran’s chapel singing Gaelic songs/prayers.. I have spent 9 days several times on the island exploring, walking etc… We even went once as a family and camped on a site there. Brings back lovely memories, thanks for sharing.


    1. This beautiful Island seems to have an effect on everyone who visits. How wonderful to spend that amount of time there, just spending a few hours, does me the world good. Thank you for your comment and I am so glad it brought back lovely memories.

      1. I know what you mean by “it seems to have an effect on everyone who visits”. 9 days on the there seems to have a real effect on you. It’s so peaceful and feels like you are walking in old ways where others have walked before. You don’t feel alone which might sound a bit spooky but it’s a real sense of calm and joy…

      2. Yes I know exactly what you mean, it gives you a sense of belonging, the past, the present and the future rolled into one, just a sense of being. Oh dear now I sound spooky….. 9 days and I would be floating 🙂

  2. I love this little chapel, and I must go and inspect the carved grave slabs again too. I was interested to read Stephen’s comment, about his retreat on Iona. I can imagine what a wonderful influence that must have on your life.

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