Welcome to Tobernalt Holy Well Sligo

tobernalt rock

Garland Weekend Celebrations 2021

Mass Online from Tobernalt Holy Well this Sunday 25th July at 3.00pm on churchtv.ie/carraroe or look up churhtv and search for Sligo and Carraroe at 3.00pm. This Mass is dedicated to the story, tradition and unique heritage of the Holy Well. It is celebrated out of a deep respect for the heritage of this sacred soil. It remembers and celebrates all who visit the Holy Well, all who help out at the Holy Well and all who will come to the Holy Well in future years. Give that the Garland Weekend Celebration did not take place at the Holy Well in 1922 we are still on track to remember its Centenary next year, 2022.

This year 2021 marks the Centenary of St. John’s Parish involvement with the Garland Sunday celebrations at the Holy Well. While Mass was celebrated at the Holy Well from the visit of St. Patrick in the 5th Century right through the Penal Laws from 1700 to Catholic Emancipation in 1829 the development of the Holy Well and Garland Sunday really began in 1921.

The local Priest Fr Michael Devine gather a work force from St. John's Parish to prepare the grounds for this Mass. The access routes, Oates's Lane and the back lane from Lakeview School, were readied for the crowds of pilgrims; the Tobernalt site was cleared of overgrowth; bridges were built; a canopy over the Mass Rock was prepared and the first donation boxes and candle racks were put in place. >/p>

With the exception of 1922 due to the Civil war and the pandemic of 2020 and 2021 Mass, Confessions, Baptism and Anointing of the Sick have taken place at the Holy Well on the last Weekend of July, honoring the tradition of Garland Weekend. Give that the Garland Weekend Celebration did not take place at the Holy Well in 1922 we are still on track to remember its Centenary next year, 2022.

Directions To The Holy Well

Click Here To Download Directions

View Larger Map 



Celebrations at Tobernalt
Today pilgrims come from different parts of Ireland, from the United States, Europe, Japan and China. Groups gather throughout the year to celebrate the Mass, pray, and spend time at this sacred shrine.


Reflections Inspired by Tobernalt

There are a number of different reflections prayed by pilgrims at Tobernalt!


Garland Celebrations At Tobernalt

Garland Sunday celebratons evolved from the pagan festival of Lughanasa - the feast of harvest thanksgiving. This celebration takes place the last Sunday of July. Garland Sunday is a fusion of Christain and Celtic traditions. Garland Sunday may still serve as an occasion for thanksgiving but now with a Christian dimension.

The Irish faithful today owe much in thanksgiving to the generations gone before them who worshipped at Tobernalt even duing penal times. Although Catholic emancipation enabled Catholics to once again worship in Churches and Chapels, many continued to flock to Tobernalt for private devotions. After many improvements the first Mass since penal times was celebrated at Tobernalt in 1921.

As the Garland weekend draws to a close every year at least a thousand pilgrims will have set foot on the sacred soil that is Tobernalt over the Garland weekend.  The attraction is simple; the Holy Well is a place of worship, rich in history with a peace that permeates the individual.

The Holy Well has been referred to as nature’s greatest gift to the people of Sligo and the Elphin diocese.

The Garland weekend celebrations provide an opportunity for all parishes to unite in prayer and thanksgiving for the faith that has been handed down through the generations. Please see advertisement in this newspaper.This is a unique chance to experience reflection and prayer and also to take time out from our often busy lives. The celebrations at Tobernalt challenge us to ensure that the tradition will continue to enrich the generations not yet born. The wide variety of Masses, Prayer Services, Confessions, and Private Prayer attracts pilgrims from many parts of Sligo, around Ireland and overseas.


Recent Developments At Tobernalt

Many changes have taken place at Tobernalt down through the years. The erection of the notice board at the entrance, keeps pilgrims informed about the Holy Well and forthcoming events.  In addition, extensive repair work and renovations are take place throughout the year, including the stone wall at the lower end of the well.  It is because the area is so well maintained that it has proved quite popular with newly married couples. Often they will come to offer a special prayer and to take photographs.

Since the arrival of St. Patrick at the Holy Well, prayer has been the central theme. The many beautiful grottos and shrines are evidence of the strong devotion of faith still present today. Praying in front of these shrines enables us to raise our hearts and minds towards heaven. On Saturday the 25th of June, the Church celebrates the feast of Ss Anne and Joachim – the parents of Our Blessed Lady. We are fortunate to have a lovely shrine to St. Anne at the Holy Well situated at ground level near the wall. This feast is an opportunity for us to invoke the aid of Ss Anne and Joachim, whose faith God blessed through the birth of Our Lady. Books and cards on the Holy Well are available from Liber Bookshop, Veritas, Sligo or Carraroe Presbytery, Sligo.


About Tobernalt

Tobernalt Holy Well is a place of reflection and nurturing serenity. It predates the advent of Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. Its importance as a meeting place and a sustainer of life predates our Celtic ancestors.

At this time, the pilgrim at Tobernalt shares in the inherited ancestral tradition coming from earliest times, which was christianised by St. Patrick and held steadfastly by faithful generations ever since. The challenge posed by Tobernalt is to ensure that the tradition will continue to enrich the generations not yet born.

Tobernalt Holy Well is maintained by St. John's Parish, Carraroe, County Sligo, Ireland. If you would like more information on the Holy Well you can contact the Parish Office at +353-71-9162136 or e-mail carraroe@holywellsligo.com


tobernalt holy well

Tobernalt History Book

Carraroe parish has been working very hard over the past few years to bring you a Tobernalt history book. We have uncovered previously forgotten material and pictures of the well.

This book is available from:
Carraroe Parish
Veritas bookshop
Sligo Liber bookshop

You can also order a copy of the book for €15.00 (inc post and packaging). To order please contact the parish office on 071-9162136 [Ireland] +353-71-9162136 [Internationally] or Email carraroe@holywellsligo.com

  © 2007 - 2011 St John's Parish, Carraroe, Sligo