Welcome to the website of Cnoc a' Chalmain

The Catholic House of Prayer, Isle of Iona

Saturday, 8th August 2020

It is with great regret due to Covid-19 pandemic there will be no public access to or services in the Oratory at the Catholic House of Prayer this season.

It is with great regret that the Trustees of the House of Prayer have decided that the house will remain closed to guests for the rest of this year. Hopefully, we will reopen early in 2021.

Any queries please contact Joss Brace, either by email – mail@catholic-iona.com or on 01681 700369 (to leave a message) or 01681 700491 from 8am-10am or 5pm-8pm, or 07483 327 322 (mobile). At present, there is no one in the House of Prayer office on a regular basis.

Bookings are being taken for the 2021 season.

Sunday 12th July 2020

Michael Hedley  R.I.P.

So soon after the death of Father Michael, I am afraid I have more sad news. Michael Hedley died suddenly at the House of Prayer on Saturday morning, 11th July. Many of you will have shared the House with Michael and his wife, Hilda, who have been regular visiting chaplains. You will have experienced their thoughtful and inspiring liturgies and services, as well as having enjoyed their company. Michael, a prayerful, kind and caring man will be greatly missed. I’m sure you will join us in praying for the repose of his soul and in lifting up to the Lord, Hilda and all their family.

Kathleen Hughes

Chair of the Colmcille Trust

Thursday 2nd July 2020

Father Michael

Fr. Michael on the Oban-Craignure ferry

It is with deep sadness that I must tell you of the sudden death of Father Michael Hickey at his home, St Cuthbert’s, North Shields on 1st July.

Father Michael, a longstanding and dedicated Patron of the House of Prayer, was active in his support of our work. Indeed, he greatly contributed to the House, often travelling north at short notice to supply for us. Many of you will have experienced his thoughtful and inspiring homilies, his generosity in making himself available for private chats, his approachable manner, his gentle humour, his humility, his love. For Fr Michael was a man of love. He preached it. He shared it. He lived it. It is with love that we, at the House of Prayer, shall remember him. I feel privileged to have had Fr Michael in my life as a friend for a number of years. He will be truly missed by so many people. Fr Michael, rest in peace.

Kathleen Hughes

Chair of the Colmcille Trust

On Scotland's sacred Isle of Iona “Cnoc a' Chalmain”, the “Hill of the Dove ”, has been established as a House of Prayer under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. It was officially opened by Archbishop Keith O'Brien in the spring of 1997, the 1400th anniversary year of St Columba's death on Iona.

Cnoc a' Chalmain provides a peaceful place of prayer for all pilgrims in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Cnoc a' Chalmain also offers a unique opportunity for a single room stay on Iona, with the possibility of sharing in the ecumenical services of the island.


Single and twin room accommodation is available at the House of Prayer for pilgrims of all faiths seeking a haven of peace and quiet.

How to find us

The House of Prayer is five minutes' walk from the ferry. Follow the road from the pier past the Nunnery ruins. Do not turn right to the Abbey but continue straight on to the road end, then turn left through a farm gate and Cnoc a' Chalmain is the second house on the right.

Travel to Iona

It takes about two and a half hours to reach Iona from Oban, travelling by ferry to Mull, then by road across Mull to the Iona ferry at Fionnphort.

A regular train or bus service operates from Glasgow to Oban with a journey time of about three hours.

For travel information to Mull and Iona contact:


Trains to Oban from the Scottish mainland

T 08457 484950

Caledonian MacBrayne

Ferries from Oban to Mull and Fionnphort to Iona

T 01631 566688 (Oban)

West Coast Motors

Buses across Mull

T 01680 812313

Iona Taxi

The only taxi on Iona

T 07810 325990