He was born to Fedhlimidh and Eithne of the Ui Neill clan in Gartan, near Lough Gartan, Donegal. On his father's side he was great-great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king of the fourth century. He became a [[monasticism|monk]] and soon rose in the church hierarchy to the rank of [[priest]]. Tradition asserts that, sometime around 560, he became involved in a copyright wrangle with St. [[Finnian of Moville]] over a [[psalter]]. The dispute eventually led to the pitched Battle of Cul Dremhe in 561, during which many men were killed. (Columba's copy of the psalter has been traditionally associated with the [[Cathach of St. Columba]].) As penance for these deaths, Columba was ordered to make the same number of new
converts as had been killed. He was also ordered to leave Ireland and move such that he could not see his native country.
[[Image:Columba_Bay.jpg|left|thumb|300px|St. Columba's Bay, where the saint first landed on [[Iona]]]]