The Portal July 2018 - Page 18

THE P RTAL July 2018 Page 18 Iona, the Isle of Kings? Eliza Trebelcock has visited this most famous of Islands I stayed in Oban and took the 9.50am Ferry to Mull. We disembarked 1 hour 21 minutes later at Craignure on the east of the island. As this is the opposite end of the Isle of Mull to Iona, it was an hour’s drive through spectacular mountain scenery across the Isle to Fionnphort, then on another ferry for the ten minute crossing to Iona. The weather was terrible. Torrential rain all day. Arrival on Iona was not until 1pm. This coincided with two cruise ships. The place was very wet, and very crowded. There was little in the way of reverence. Tourists everywhere, with precious little respect for the Island of St Columba. “However, there are two who are definitely buried here. The first is Lulach. Macbeth’s step son. He was certainly buried here. He reigned from 1057 until 1058. We are not absolutely positive if he died in 1058, but that is the date he reigned as King of Scotland, directly after Macbeth. I had an appointment with a representative from Historic Scotland. Iona is, of course, an historic and holy place. Ancient saints lived here. Much of Scotland was evangelised from here. Despite all this, I was interested in the ancient kings of Scotland who are reputed to be buried here. “The second King, King of the Scots that we know of for sure has various spellings, it is Donald Bane, or Donal. He reigned twice – first from 1093 to 1094; then from 1094 to 1097. He became Donald III. He was the son of Duncan I, so was part of the same Macbeth and Duncan dynasty. Ros was my guide. We met in the Chapter House of the re-built abbey. Her initial remarks were not encouraging as far as those kings were concerned. “We have no definite proof of the kings which are here. We do know of two kings, but apart from that, very little. It could be a misconception that kings like Macbeth and other kings are buried here, it could also be the truth, but we have no archaeological proof. “He came from Duncan. We are well before the Lords of the Isles. They were all different: Lulach his mother was Greorcham of Scotland and his father was from Moray. Donald Bane’s father Duncan I came from Dunkeld. His mother was from the House of Dunkeld. He became Donald III. He did die in 1099 and was in prison when he died. He was buried, then exhumed and brought to Iona. They are the only two we know are here for sure. “The reason a lot of people did think that the Scottish kings were here is because the king list says for instance ‘Macbeth in Iona est’, meaning that Macbeth is in Iona. However, it says that under everybody, so whether this is actually a recording that they were all in Iona or because it said it under one and it was just copied down. Turning to other people buried on Iona, Ros said, “There are Vikings here. There are wonderful Viking stones. These are Christian Vikings. In our shop we have the Rumi stone with translation. In our museum, which you must visit, there are also a couple of Viking stones, one of them has the fools hammer, not the