Columba was educated at the monastic school of Moville under St Finnian. In 560 a dispute arose over a copy Columba had made of St. Finnian's book of psalms (an early copyright issue). The result was Columba's instigation of a rebellion by the Clan Neill against King Diarmait of Ireland. This culminated in the Battle of Cooldrevny in 561, at which three thousand men were killed.
Following the battle, Columba's confessor, St Molaise, set him the penance of leaving Ireland and preaching the Gospel in order to convert as many to Christianity as had been killed at Cooldrevny: and never again to look upon his native land.
In 563 Columba and 12 companions left Ireland, arriving first at what is today Southend, on the southern tip of Kintyre. This, though, was still within sight of Ireland, so they travelled further north, landing on Iona on 12 May 563. The island was granted to Columba for the establishment of a monastery by King Conall.
Francie Stoutamire Photography