Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Ireland's president visits Iona

President Michael D Higgins attended a service at Iona Abbey

Irish President Michael D Higgins has visited Iona to mark the 1,450th anniversary of St Columba's arrival on the island.

President Higgins and his wife Sabina attended a service at Iona Abbey during an event celebrating the shared history and language of Ireland and Scotland.

During the service they watched a performance by long psalm singers from the Isle of Lewis.

The President also visited St Oran's Graveyard, which includes the grave of Macbeth, King of Scotland, who died in 1057 and John Smith, former leader of the Labour Party, who died in 1994.

President Higgins was welcomed to the island by Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop, who said the visit was a fitting way to celebrate Scotland's links with Ireland.

"St Columba's journey to Iona is just one of the many events which have created our strong bond with Ireland and it's important that we recognise and celebrate the continuing significance of this remarkable man and the community he founded," she said.

"The Scottish Government continues to recognise and value the substantial and enduring work of the Iona Community and the role it plays as part of Scotland's diverse faith and belief communities."

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