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

Name of the month: June 2022

Courtesy of Roy Pedersen.

In December last year we looked at Brown’s Rock, named in commemoration of the shipwreck there in 1865. But this is not the only Iona place-name associated with a ship: Sgeir a’ Mhountaineer (Grid Reference: NM298262) is the local name for a skerry directly south-east of Eilean Annraidh where a paddle-steamer, the Mountaineer, nearly came to grief in the mid-1800s. Dugald MacArthur (born 1910) used to hear older people talk of how the ship hit the rock, began to take on water but was not grounded. The captain carried on south at full speed and ran her into Port nam Mairtear and safety.

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.