Old Photograph Reilig Odhráin Cemetery Island Of Iona Scotland

Old photograph of Reilig Odhráin cemetery on the Island of Iona, Scotland. The cemetery is reputed to hold the bones of sixty kings. An inventory of 1549 recorded 48 Scottish kings, eight Norwegian Kings and four Irish Kings buried here. None of the monuments marking the burial places of the kings has survived unlike those of later medieval clan chiefs. Despite the lack of physical evidence, it’s universally accepted that Reilig Odhráin was a royal burial ground between the 9th and 11th centuries. This was a time of conflict, struggle and union between the Picts, Gaels and Vikings; the period that saw the Kingdom of Scotland formed. The burial ground, and the men who were buried here, help to tell the story of this fascinating period. The ancient kings would have made their final journey across the Sound of Iona, onto the harbour and along Sràid nam Marbh, the Street of the Dead, to Reilig Odhráin. You can still follow the wide cobbled track along which the coffins of kings and clan chiefs were once borne.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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