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(887 words)

Author(s): Deborah Vess
Iona is an island off the west coast of Scotland that was the premiere center of Celtic Christianity in Scotland until the tenth century. Its name has an uncertain origin, but is derived in part from the name of its most famous inhabitant and founder, the Irish monk St Columba, whose Gaelic name is Colum cille ("dove of the church"). In Gaelic, the name of the island is I Chaluim Cille, meaning the "Ì of Colum cille," where "Ì" refers to the Celtic word for the yew trees found on the island. Columba's biographer Admoman called the island the Ioua insula (Latin for yewy island). I…

Celtic and Welsh Sites

(1,402 words)

Author(s): Deborah Vess
There are hundreds of Celtic pilgrimage sites located in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Northumbria. Many were originally pagan sites. Irish Pagan Centers A number of pre-Christian sites attract pilgrims interested in Druid or New Age spirituality. These include Newgrange, a circular prehistoric burial ground designed to allow light to enter its passage on the winter solstice; Knowth, a larger monument surrounded by eighteen other structures that houses the largest collection of megalithic art in Europe; and Dowth, the oldest monument, all near the River Boyne. Other Irish Sites Ove…

St David’s

(840 words)

Author(s): Deborah Vess
St David ( Dewi) is the patron saint of Wales and the only Welsh saint to be canonized in the Roman Church. The cult of David was centered in Pembrokeshire, from which it spread through south Wales. There are few dedications or other proofs of his cult found in the north. His status as patron of Wales dates from the twelfth century. There are no contemporary written records about David, and most of what we know comes from later accounts that include many dubious stories, some of which were manufactured or adapted to fit existing features of the terrain. Birth and Legends David was known in his day as Aquaticus, the Waterman, due to the numbers of people he baptized or converted to Christianity. The name may also have been a reference to his asceticism, since he refused to consume alcohol. The earliest life of David dates from 1088-1096. Rhygyfarch, son of Bishop Julien of St David's, wrote the life to further Welsh independence from Canterbury, and so one must read it with caution. According to legend, David was born in 560 CE…