Skip to main content

Adamnan of Iona, St.


Also known as Adamnan McRonan, Adam, Aunan, and Eunan; abbot; b. Drumhome, County Donegal, Ireland, c. 625; d. Iona, 704. Adamnan embraced the monastic life and later went to Scotland to the abbey of Iona, becoming its ninth abbot in 679. When required to go to England in 685 on behalf of some Irish held captive there, he was converted to the Roman system in the Easter controversy and to the Roman tonsure. He went back to Iona and later to Ireland pleading for this latter change, and it was adopted in many places, though not in Iona. At the Synod of Tara (697) he insisted that women should not take part in warfare, and the Old Irish Cáin Adamnáin (Canon of Adamnan) is attributed to him. He wrote also the life of his predecessor, columba of iona, as well as the treatise De locis sanctis, an account of Arculfus's trip to the Holy Land. The ascription of a Vergil commentary to him is uncertain, and the Old Irish Fís Adamnáin is certainly not his. An Old Irish life, the Betha Adamnáin, is still extant.

Feast: Sept. 23.

Bibliography: adamnan, The Life of Columba, ed. w. reeves (Dublin 1857), ed. and tr. a. o. and m. o. anderson (New York 1961); De locis sanctis, ed. d. meehan (Scriptores latini hiberniae 3; Dublin 1958); Cáin Adamnáin, ed. and tr. k. meyer (Oxford 1905); "Betha Adamnáin," ed. r. i. best, in Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts, ed. o. j. bergin et al., 5 v. (Halle 190713) 2:1020, tr. m. joynt Celtic Review 5 (19089) 97107. Betha Adamnáin=The Irish life of Adamnán, ed. m. herbert and p. Ó riain (London 1988). j. hirschman, Adamnan (Santa Barbara, Ca. 1972). Acta Sanctorum Sept. 6:642649. m. manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (Munich 191131) 1:236239. j. f. kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland: v. 1, Ecclesiastical (New York 1929) 283287.

[r. t. meyer]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Adamnan of Iona, St.." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 19 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Adamnan of Iona, St.." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (March 19, 2019).

"Adamnan of Iona, St.." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.