Introduction - Life & Legacy

Colm Cille or Columba was the founder of the famous monastery of Iona in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. From the 6th to the 8th century the federation of monasteries initiated by Colm Cille was responsible for a flowering of creativity and craftsmanship which has left us with magnificent works of art such as the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Colm Cille A Life

Colm Cille was born around the year AD 521 in the beautiful area of Gartan, North West Donegal, where he spent his boyhood.

The Columban Legacy

His name, whether as 'Columba' in Latin or 'Colm Cille' in Gaelic, means the dove; in Irish it means the dove of the church.

The Founding of Derry

Its unlikely that Colm Cille founded a monastery in Derry before leaving for Iona but that he founded a daughter house on one of his return visits.

The Three Churches

St Columb's Cathedral, St Columba's Long Tower Church and St Augustine's Chapel of Ease are all located on or near ancient monastic sites of Derry.

Convention of Druim Cett

According to the Annals the famous Druim Cett convention took place in AD 575, but modern scholarship suggests that it really took place in about AD 590.


It was apparently Colm Cille's involvement in the Battle of Cúl Dreimne which led to his exile to Iona.

Iona, Kells and Derry

In AD 563, Colm Cille established his monastery on Iona. The monks of Iona built a new monastery at Kells in AD 807 but moved their headquarters to Derry in 1150.


Colm Cille is remembered as a writer, a poet and scribe. The Cathach is the oldest surviving Irish manuscript and is said to have been written by Colm Cille.