St Adamnan's fame is due very much to the fact that he was Colum Cille's biograper but he was, himself, a major player on the field of missionary activities in the north east of Scotland.
He was born in or about 624AD in what is now the barony of Tirhugh in the county of Donegal. he was noted for learning, humility, and knowledge of the Scriptures and, in 694AD, he was appointed ninth abb of Iona. He is known to have travelled widely including a visit to the court of the Northumbrian King Aldfrith in 701AD. He fell out of favour with his own community on Iona since he was fairly ready to adopt the Roman usage regarding the date of Easter and the tonsure and, consequently, he spent some time away from the island. He returned to Hy in 704AD and died on the 23rd September of that year. He is said to have been buried in Iona, but his relics were afterwards removed to Ireland, it is said to Donoghmoyne, in the district of Farney in Ulster, till carried off by the Danes in 830AD.
There are dedications to Adamnan in a number of locations. One of the most picturesque is the church beside Loch Inch in Invernesshire. Local tradition says that he was specially connected to the district of Glenlyon in Perthshire and some sources say that he died here, being buried at Dull near the Tay, where he had founded a monastic church which bore his name. The church of Kineff in the Mearns, where the Regalia of Scotland were once hidden, is dedicated to him. There are other dedications in the north east at Forvie, Leask, Aboyne, Forglen.
Adamnan is inextricably linked with the famous reliquary known as the Brecbennoch (or Monymusk Reliquary) which is now in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and which is supposed to have contained remains of Colum Cille. The lands connected with the Brecbennoch of St Columba were in Forglen parish and it is interesting to find the two saints associated together there.
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