CC BY-SA, © Brian Gratwicke

Location: Mull and Iona
the natural world, archaeology

Iona marble

Iona Marble found at the South end of the island is also known as St Columba’s tears.

The original altar in the Abbey was made of Iona marble and it was destroyed by treasure hunters in the 1700s as the marble is believed to save people from drowning. The font and new altar in the Abbey are made from this Iona marble. When people are down at the South end of the island, they often pick up two pebbles, one to represent something negative that they throw into the sea. The other pebble they take home to remind themselves of a new commitment.

When they relayed the floor of the Abbey, they found graves of monks and some of these graves had little bags of pebbles. Some people think the number of pebbles represented how long that person was a monk.

Contributed by Chris Merchant, Iona Abbey

More information on visiting the area can be found here.