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Inchcolm Abbey

Inchcolm (from the Scottish Gaelic "Innis Choluim", meaning Columba's Island) is an island in the Firth of Forth in Scotland. It was repeatedly attacked by English raiders during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and was fortified during both World Wars to defend nearby Edinburgh. Inchcolm now attracts visitors to its former Augustine Abbey. Inchcolm lies in the Firth of Forth off the south coast of Fife opposite Braefoot Bay, east of the Forth Bridge, south of Aberdour, Fife, and north of the City of Edinburgh. It is separated from the Fife mainland by a stretch of water known as Mortimer's Deep. The island forms part of the parish of Aberdour, and lies a quarter of a mile from the shore. In the days when people were compelled to cross the Firth of Forth by boat as opposed to bridge, the island was a great deal less isolated, and on the ferry routes between Leith/Lothian and Fife.

The island can be broadly divided into three sections: the east, where its military defensive operations were centred during the Second World War, the lower central part, with the small natural harbour and shop, and a larger western end. There are currently two ferry services and one charter yacht company that operate trips to Inchcolm island, and allow passengers 1.5 hours to explore the island. The Maid of the Forth and the Forth Belle both operate from the Hawes Pier in South Queensferry between Easter and late October. Edinburgh Boat Charters operates year round from Port Edgar in South Queensferry.

The main feature of the island is the former Augustinian Inchcolm Abbey (Historic Scotland), Scotland's most complete surviving monastic house. In former times, and perhaps partly due to its dedication to Columba, it was sometimes nicknamed 'Iona of the East'. The well-preserved abbey and ruins of the 9th-century hermit's cells attract visitors to the island.

It was the home of a religious community linked with St Colm or St Columba, the 6th-century Abbot of Iona. King Alexander I was storm-bound on the island for three days in 1123 and in recognition of the shelter given to him by the hermits, promised to establish a monastic settlement in honour of St Columba. Though the king died before the promise could be fulfilled, his brother David I later founded a priory here for monks of the Augustinian order; the priory was erected into an abbey in 1223.

Ref: DP484

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Inchcolm Abbey

Firth of Forth.


United Kingdom

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