St. Martin's Cross, West Face; The west face of this notable 8th century Celtic cross stands on the Isle of Iona, site of Iona Monastery, founded in the 6th century by St. Columba, one of the patron saints of Ireland. It is the only surviving Celtic cross to feature the Virgin and Child in the center. Also shown are scenes of Daniel and the Lions, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the Tablets and David and the Musicians.
In 795 Iona’s tranquillity was shattered when a host of Vikings emerged from the sea to slaughter the brethren and plunder their treasures. They returned time and again over the next 30 years, in 806 they murdered 68 monks. Iona was depleted but not deserted. In time, the Vikings settled here and became Christian. King Olaf Sihtricsson of Dublin retired to Iona as a monk in 980 ‘in penitence and pilgrimage’.
Lindisfarne- Vikings. Scotland was the site of the first recorded Viking raid when, in 793 AD, the monastery at Lindisfarne was sacked, with Iona and the Isle of Skye being attacked the next year. The Celtic impulse to hermitage and monasticism combined left a string of vulnerable churches and monastic communities on the coastlines, making for easy access for Viking raiders.
A rare Iona silver scarf ring, in the Celtic Arts and Crafts style. The ring is very good quality, and has a classic Ritchie Viking longship motif, with celtic knotwork side panels, and terminals of wolf like celtic beasts. The ship is copied off an 11th century stone carving in Iona's Abbey museum, and the beasts are similar to those found in the Book of Kells. Alex Ritchie's work was inspired by the ancient Celtic and Viking carvings on Iona. circa 1934