Although related to one of the ruling families of Ireland, Columba (c 521-97) became a central figure in the 'Age of Saints' by setting out from his native land and founding his famous monastery on the island of Iona. It was from here that priests and monks played a key role in converting the Picts of Scotland, here that countless penitents came on pilgrimages and that the King of Dalriada (Argyll) came to be consecrated. Adomn?'s Life, writes Richard Sharpe, is the fullest early account, offering a 'vivid depiction of the abbot among his own monks, written on the spot by the saint's successor one hundred years after Columba's death'. Drawing on extensive written and oral traditions, Adomn? presents Columba as a man distinguished for his prophetic and miraculous powers, whose life was filled with angelic apparitions and whose dying days were spent preparing for his departure.