Welcome to the website for Iona’s Namescape: Place-Names and their dynamics in Iona and its environs

Name of the month: November 2023

The cluster of skerries located off the south-western coast of Iona have been named in various ways on different maps. This can perhaps partially be explained by tidal shifts, but there is nevertheless a notable discrepancy between the location of Dubh-Sgeir ‘Black skerry’ (NM250218) recorded on the Ritchie (1930) map and the 1st ed OS (1881) map. To complicate matters, the 1859 Admiralty Chart for Iona records a completely different name – Sgeir mor – a name which is absent from the other maps.

View full post and other names of the month

This is a three-year project funded by the AHRC and based in Celtic & Gaelic at the University of Glasgow. The core objective of the project is a survey of the place-names of Iona and the nearby island of Staffa. This will be presented in the form of an interactive web resource in due course on this site (planned to be ready for 2022); and in the form of a volume in the Survey of Scottish Place-Name series.

We will also be researching the early records for the topography of Iona; the names of Iona’s monuments; and the relationship between Iona and Mull. A key part of our research involves trying to understand the dynamism of names and naming in Iona, both over the centuries, and among the different constituent communities who live on and interact with the island in the present.

We are partnered with the two heritage bodies in whose care Iona and Staffa sit: the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

More detail about the project can be found here.

We will be producing regular blogs on our research which you can consult here.

This web resource is under construction and will be constantly updating as the project progresses.