Columba was born in Ireland in the sixth century. He went to school at a monastery and soon became one of their best writers. Monastery schools were just beginning in Ireland and Columba worked hard to copy books for the students. In 563, he and twelve companions left Ireland for Scotland to preach. They told the Scots about the Gospel and built monasteries and schools. Columba traveled all over Ireland and Scotland until he was an old man. When he was too old to travel, visitors would come to his cell. They often found him copying books for the schools, just as he had done as a young monk.