New col­lec­tion opens at Iona Abbey li­brary

The Oban Times - - NEWS - By Kathie Grif­fiths kgrif­fiths@oban­

The Duke and Duchess of Ar­gyll, ac­com­pa­nied by their fam­ily and the Dowa­ger Duchess, jour­neyed to Iona on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 20 to help Iona Cathe­dral Trust cel­e­brate the open­ing of a new Her­itage Col­lec­tion in the abbey li­brary.

The Ar­gyll fam­ily ar­rived to a wel­com­ing com­mit­tee and were piped ashore by Calum MacDougall, who then led the pro­ces­sion up through An Baile Mor to the St Columba Ho­tel, where the guests stopped for re­fresh­ment.

Later in the af­ter­noon, in­vited guests were ad­dressed by the Duke of Ar­gyll and the Very Rev Dr Fin­lay Mac­don­ald, chair­man of the Iona Cathe­dral Trust, with ref­er­ences made to the duke’s fam­ily con­nec­tions with the is­land and the long his­tory of the li­brary from St Columba’s monastery to the present day.

The duke’s chil­dren helped with a sim­ple rib­bon-cutting cer­e­mony declar­ing the Iona Abbey Her­itage Col­lec­tion open.

Guests were then treated to mini tours of the newly re­fur­bished li­brary and then it was back to the Chap­ter House for re­fresh­ments supplied by the St Columba and Ar­gyll ho­tels.

The cathe­dral trust also wel­comed a num­ber of rel­a­tives who were linked with Mary and Ge­orge Ritchie of Iona, par­ents of Alex and Robert Ritchie, who do­nated so much to re­build and de­velop the abbey li­brary back in the early to mid 1940s.

The event was also sup­ported by the Coun­cil­lor Roddy McCuish and Coun­cil­lor Mary-Jean Devon, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from other project part­ners – the Iona Com­mu­nity, the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land and Iona Com­mu­nity Coun­cil.

The li­brary will stay a spe­cial­ist li­brary, with the old books be­ing looked af­ter by a li­brar­ian, who will be re­spon­si­ble for sup­port­ing ac­cess to the new col­lec­tion.

Spe­cial thanks were given to Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment and the par­tic­i­pat­ing schools on Mull and Iona, which en­joyed a num­ber of project work­shop ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the two years of the Iona Abbey Li­brary Project.

The Duke of Ar­gyll and oth­ers cel­e­brate the official open­ing of the her­itage col­lec­tion at Iona li­brary.

Re­fresh­ments were supplied at the Chap­ter House.

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