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Tobernalt, County Sligo.
Enterance,  Tobernalt,  County Sligo.

Click For:   Áine @ Tobernalt Slideshow

           Tobernalt is located about three miles south east of Sligo Town, near a small pier on the shores of Lough Gill.
It is set in rocky cliffs and surrounded by woodlands.
Fed by the spring well a stream of crystal clear water flows into Lough Gill.
The Tobernalt Holy Well is visited by locals and tourists throughout the year.

           The present altar at Tobernalt was commissioned by the Sligo Sisters of Mercy and contains a centre piece from Sligo Abbey, depicting the Lamb and a replica penal cross, probably Dominican, from the original at Sligo Museum.

Tobernalt, County Sligo.
Holy Well,  Tobernalt,  County Sligo.

           It is said that Tobernalt was a sacred place of worship as long ago as 6000 years B.C. and while the rites and rituals associated with Tobernalt are Christian, their roots go back long before the Christian era.

           For countless generations, Tobernalt has held a special place in the hearts of Sligo people, visiting as Pilgrims, to mark an important occasion or just to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this historic place.

           During penal times (1700 - 1829) in Ireland, Roman Catholic/Crown relations reached an all-time low with the suppression of the property, educational and religious rights of the catholic population.

            Priests and Bishops were on the run with a bounty on their heads. Tobernalt became a secluded secret place for the celebration of Mass. The Mass rock they used is still there today. The following sad remembrance of those times is displayed at Tobernalt:


Pilgrim walk softly, this is holy ground.
It has been made holy by the feet of generations
who came here to worship God,
to hear Mass, to honour Our Lady,
to pray for their needs and for peace.

Here are the memories of a poor, persecuted people,
they braved death to come.
They walked barefoot through the woods to worship in secret.
Here are memories of hunted priests,
offering Mass in this hallowed place at risk of their lives.

Will their sufferings and sacrifices be in vain?
They have handed on a torch - Let us keep that torch alight.

The water from the well at Tobernalt is said to have curative powers for head and back pains. While, resting the back against the Mass rock is also said to be of benefit to back pain sufferers.

It is also customary to circle the well walking clockwise and leaving gifts of coins in the well is common.

Pilgrims often tie strips of cloth from the afflicted person to the Rag Tree (See Thumbs Below) at Tobernalt, as a physical dimension of their prayer for Divine intervention.

Pilgrimages to Tobernalt are made on Garland Sunday, the last Sunday in July.
Garland Sunday also marks Lughnasa - the Festival of Lugh, a Celtic God.

Tobernalt is lovingly maintained by local community volunteers.

See Also:  Killery

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