The prayer pool at St Columba’s by the Castle, which forms part of the Immrama exhibition

St. Columba’s by the Castle, an Episcopal church in the heart of Edinburgh, launched an interactive digital exhibition on the life, stories and journey of one of the country’s key historical figures – St. Columba – on the great Celtic saint’s Feast Day, Friday 9th June 2023. Immrama Online is a continuation of the physical exhibition currently on display in the church, Immrama, named after an ancient Celtic word for ‘voyage tales’: allegories of our journey through life.

This brand-new website tells a little of St Columba’s story and his voyage from Ireland to the Isle of Iona, where he made his home. Immrama invites audiences to reflect on their own voyage tales through five themes – Journey, Community, Nature, Humanity and Culture

There are also resources to help visitors explore what life was like in Columba’s day, the connections to our own day, and an individual’s personal story.

Immrama incorporates work by Scottish contemporary artists including painter Simon Lawrie, artist and willow sculptor Lizzie Farey, photographer David Williams and calligrapher Susie Leiper, as well as a textile piece by the Viennese visual artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.  Members of the congregation have also been instrumental in bringing Immrama to life, through creating a unique accompanying soundscape – an aural tapestry of day to day sounds on the isle of Iona – and a video to accompany the exhibition.

Rector of St Columba’s by the Castle David Paton-Williams said: “We’re delighted with this exhibition and how it has turned out. As far as we know, it’s the only one about Columba in Edinburgh – possibly even in Scotland. Although we’ve had great professional contributions, as far as possible we wanted it to be the work of the congregation and an expression of our life as a community. In the end, the themes of journey, community, nature, humanity and culture say as much about us as they do about the story of Columba and his continuing relevance.”