Iona Abbey Ltd. is the management company of the Iona Cathedral Trust who own and have sole responsibility for the preservation, on-going conservation and interpretation of the historic fabric of the Abbey, Reilig Odhrain (Royal Burial Ground), Nunnery and all associated ancient historic Early Christian sites and monuments on the Isle of Iona.
I have the privilege of being the Chief Executive of Iona Abbey Ltd. and have responsibility not only for the management, care and conservation of these ancient sites and buildings, but also for looking after one hundred and twenty thousand day visitors from all parts of the world, who make the difficult journey each year to Iona, which is two islands away from mainland Scotland.
In the words of a geologist friend "Sea is only land covered by water", and maybe that is why I felt so much "at home" when I visited Ireland and Mayo Abbey for the first time earlier this year. I attended the very successful international workshop of "Mayo of the Saxons" and the longer I stayed in Mayo the more I felt that the sea did not separate us. The strong feeling of renewing ancient links between us was so real and is still growing.
The beginning of the reconnection of these ancient ties between Mayo Abbey and Iona began in December, 1994, during the dramatic visit to Iona by a party from County Mayo. I'm sure that Paddy Gibbons and Geraldine Joyce and the rest of the party will never forget the dramatic journey through the giant Atlantic rollers in the Sound of Iona and the power of the deserted Abbey in the roaring of that south westerly gale.
The reaching out and clasping hands with other, rediscovering the ancient and vast common reservoir of knowledge and understanding is steadily becoming firmer. It is so important as the world seems to be seeking a new meaning of Christianity through the understanding of the Celtic culture and the Celtic Church. The initiative now taking place at Mayo Abbey is truly exciting and I hope that Iona Abbey and myself can have the privilege of playing a part in, and contributing to, this very important project.
Chief Executive, Iona Abbey Ltd. November 1995