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 [[convert]]s 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]]]]