Record of Holy Wells

Communities Invited to Record Holy Wells of Sligo

Communities Invited to Record Holy Wells of Sligo Tobernalt Holy Well, Co Sligo

Amongst the many archaeological sites of County Sligo are holy wells, places often of great antiquity, steeped in legend and folklore. As part of the 2019 Sligo Community Archaeology Project we are seeking public participation in recording the Holy Wells of Co. Sligo.

Holy Wells can be found in many locations across the county, down boreens, up mountains, in bogs, by the seashore and even in our towns and villages.  These diverse and enigmatic sites are symbols of Irish culture, embedded in the natural landscape, communal places used for personal devotion, prayer and healing.

There are 117 holy wells recorded in County Sligo in the Archaeological Survey of Ireland.  In South Sligo alone, 69 holy wells are recorded.  Many of these wells are still frequented, with active devotions still taking place.  One of the most prominent and enduring holy wells in use in Ireland is Tobernalt, Co. Sligo, and the holy well is visited annually by thousands of people.  However, many more wells are now forgotten; the precise location and customs lost from living memory.

Do you have information to share about the Holy Wells of Sligo? Are there wells still frequented but not officially recorded? Are there customs, rounds, traditions, stories or cures associated with your local holy well that you would like to share? Do you know what day the well was visited and what prayers were said? Were offerings left at the well, stone or at a nearby tree?

By taking part in the Holy Wells of Sligo Survey you will help to record these unique and treasured places, an important part of Sligo’s heritage.  Follow this link below toanswer a few short questions and add the information you wish to share on your local holy well.

All information received will be greatly appreciated and the information gathered from the survey will produce a permanent database of known holy wells and the beliefs attached to them.  This will be held by the Heritage Office, Sligo County Council and will form a baseline for future survey work.

The closing date for records to be submitted is Tuesday 23rd April 2019.

If you have any queries about the Sligo Holy Well Survey or are part of a Sligo based community group who are considering developing a Community Archaeology Project in your area, you can  contact Tamlyn McHugh directly on Mobile:  086 8706529 or by email at


StColmcillesWell St. Colmcille’s Well, Doonierin, Co. Sligo