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St Oran's Chapel

Located a short distance southwest of Iona Abbey, St. Oran's Chapel is situated on the northern edge of St. Oran's Graveyard (Rčilig Odhrain), for which it may have served as a mortuary chapel. Thought to be the oldest church still standing on the island, it was founded in the late 12th C., possibly by Somerled, Lord of the Isles, and is dedicated to St. Oran (also known as Ódhrán) who was one of the twelve men who accompanied St. Columba's from Ireland.

This simple rectangular chapel was in ruins by the end of the 17th C., but partially restored 1855-56, further consolidated 1921-26 and fully restored in 1957 by Ian G. Lindsay (1906-66). Its entrance, to the west, features a fine Norman arch. To the left of the entrance is a recess which was either used for a lamp or as a stoup for holy water. There are two small windows, while inside is a decorated recess for a tomb and a modern altar.


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