Historic Scotland

Opening times

Open year-round.

 

Overview

Escape the modern world for the solitude of the Island of the Saints, home to several early Christian ruins. 

The remote island of Eileach an Naoimh has been identified as the site of a monastery established by St Brendan of Clontarf in about AD 542. It seems to have been abandoned in the AD 800s, but it became a focus of pilgrimage and burial in the late Middle Ages. 

A tradition also associates the island with a second monastery founded by St Columba of Iona. It claims that Columba’s mother was buried here. 

Remains on the island reveal one of the best-preserved early Christian monasteries in Scotland. Of particular interest is the unusual beehive-shaped double cell, standing more than 3m high.